Why A Law Requiring Earned Sick Pay In Miami-Dade Might Be Possible

Oct 24, 2012

Stephanie Porta, one of activists that worked to pass an earned sick pay initiative in Orange County, says that's because the two county commissions are very different.

"I would say that they are two completely different stories and two different strategies," Porta says.

She says the fact that Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan has even sponsored an ordinance that requires all employers to offer earned sick time, sets Miami's situation apart.

Porta says that in Orlando it would have been a tough task to get a someone like Jordan to sponsor an ordinance in the first place.

"I would say that they are two completely different stories and two different strategies," Porta says.

She also says that Miami-Dade commissioners, unlike Orange County, have a history of passing worker-friendly ordinances. For example, a few years ago, the Miami Dade commission passed a wage theft ordinance that prohibits employers from stealing wages from their employees.

"I think in both places this is needed just as much-- and I think that the difference is that we have one commission that has a role, in Miami, and is being assigned the idea of passing an ordinance through the county commission," Porta says. "In Orange County is was totally separate."

In Orange County, the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as big business like Disney and Darden Restaurants fought a ballot measure with the county commissioners there that would require earned sick pay because they said it would hurt the economy.

Activists in Orlando this year gathered signatures for a ballot measure that would bring earned sick pay to Orange County, but even though they were able to gather the necessary 52,000 signatures, their efforts were thwarted by a political maneuver levied by Orange County Commissioners that stopped the proposal from getting on the ballot this year.

"Orange County does not have a history of passing anything progressive or pro-family," Porta says.

Groups in Miami fighting for earned sick pay in Miami say they are confident they can get an ordinance passed because the wage theft fight was successful the last time around.

Jordan is asking commissioners to place this proposed ordinance on the commission's agenda for preliminary approval on Nov. 20.