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Portland's Sick Day Battle Drags On

Posted: Mar. 6th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse

The politics regarding Portland's fight for a family inclusive sick day option has exposed a nasty face for local businesses opposed to the institution of the legislation. Reminiscent of the most scathing parodies of the political face of big business, residents in the city are being forced to buckle down for an even longer fight to share the right to take a sick day off in the same way as residents of almost 145 other countries around the globe.

The debate over Earned Sick Days in Portland is nearing its denouement, with a final hearing and council vote just around the corner. When the ordinance passes in Portland, the campaign will move to the state level. In a very real way, a victory in Portland sets the table for a larger statewide fight.

The opposition to legislation that would allow workers to take a day off if they or a family member is ill has read like a screenplay for the movie Thank You For Smoking ... with perhaps a Portlandia twist. Reviewing the tactics of the opposition is therefore instructive in terms of learning about the ways in which business interests like Chambers of Commerce and conservative editorial boards (to name a few) still wield out-sized influence in local—and ultimately statewide— policy making.


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