The ‘working’ side of the Working Families Agenda

I’m covering the U.S. Court of Appeals hearing on the Ventura-Kyle case for “All Things Considered” this morning so there’s no early-morning time to spend here today. Let’s open the thread up to whatever you want to discuss, but here’s some pump priming.

Last week, the Star Tribune, which has lobbied against Minneapolis’ Working Families Agenda, called it “naive economic bullying” and said in an extensive editorial that there’s no good reason for what’s left of it: mandatory sick time.

Kaila Conley would beg to differ. A single-parent, nursing student writes in a commentary today that the Strib ignored a huge side of the debate: hers.

I work hard every day but do not earn a single paid day off to use if my daughter or I get sick. I work in an assisted-living home, where I care for elderly people, many of whom are in frail health.

But when I fall sick, I can’t afford to lose pay — so I have to choose whether to come to work anyway, jeopardizing my health and the health of my elderly patients. Choices like these make it excruciatingly difficult to provide for my family.

The Star Tribune has repeatedly covered the racial disparities present in Minneapolis over the course of years and in recent months in such articles as “Blacks face large and growing gap” (Sept. 26) and “Income plunges for blacks in state” (Sept. 17).

Yet the Editorial Board diminishes the systemic barriers facing my African-American community by suggesting that the solution to our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities lies only in education, not workplace policies.

The educational outcomes for both my daughter and I are directly linked to our economic and physical health, she writes.