FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: For information 917-553-7180
AUGUST 28, 2012
CONTACT: Allen Roskoff at 917-553-7180

LGBT Democratic Club Calls on Sponsors to Force Sick-Leave Bill to Floor of New York City Council Now

Statement from Allen Roskoff, President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club:
 
            The time has come to challenge the obstruction of Council Speaker Christine Quinn and force a vote on the sick-leave bill in the City Council.
 
            We call upon Council Member Gale Brewer to exercise her right under the Council rules as chief sponsor of the bill to gather seven supporters and file a discharge motion immediately to move the bill out of committee—where it has never had a vote—and onto the floor of the Council. If Council Member Brewer refuses to do so, the sponsors of the bill need to select a new chief sponsor who will.
 
            The sick-leave bill has 36 Council co-sponsors—a veto-proof majority that can override a promised veto by Mayor Bloomberg. But instead of moving a bill with overwhelming support in the Council and among the people of New York, Speaker Quinn has refused to schedule a floor vote on it. Instead, she is holding the bill hostage and demanding concessions that will water the bill down to the point of meaninglessness in order to appease business interests and donors to her mayoral campaign. This is a disgrace.
 
            It is time for all City Council Members to stand up for what they say they believe in and pass this bill intact. A discharge motion is rarely used in the Council, but it is the only hope the bill has of passage in its current strong form.
 
            Up until now, Council Members have refused to unite against one-person rule in the Council, ceding their responsibility for representing their constituents entirely to Speaker Quinn. What do they get in return? Extra pay as committee chairs and member-item money to distribute to favored groups in their districts. They have destroyed any semblance of representative democracy in New York because they will not use the power entrusted to them.
 
            If Council Members are not willing to stand up to the Speaker for what they allegedly believe in, we might as well dispense with having a City Council entirely and save the City a lot of money.
 
            We are not naïve about what happens when a discharge motion is brought. City Council members who dare to stand up to the Speaker will be punished with a loss of personal perks. But what is that compared to the human suffering they supposedly are concerned about in advocating for a requirement that employers provide paid sick leave?
 
            In the late 1970s and early ‘80s, Council Majority Leader Tom Cuite repeatedly bottled up the City’s lesbian and gay rights bill in committee. In complete frustration, we demanded our sponsors bring the bill to the floor through repeated discharge motions. We lost each of those votes, but each time we learned who really supported us and who did not. And each time we got more votes for the bill, pushing it towards victory in 1986 after Cuite stepped down. Cuite punished members who defied him by going so far as to withhold mail from them, but the ones who stood with us believed civil rights were more important than personal perks.
 
            Speaker Quinn is always justifying her obstruction by claiming it is her job to build consensus. But the Council does not legally operate by consensus. The majority is supposed to rule. And in the case of the sick-leave bill, a supermajority already supports it. Denying a vote on the bill as it is now written is an affront to decency and a mockery of democracy.
 
            We demand a discharge motion be initiated on the sick-leave bill immediately. The bill’s sponsors who speak so passionately for it at press conferences—saying it is a matter of life or death—must demand a discharge motion. The Progressive Caucus of the City Council must live up to its name and demand a discharge motion.
 
            If Council Member Brewer as chief sponsor refuses to bring a discharge motion, then the true advocates of paid sick-leave must get themselves a new chief sponsor.
 
            We also call upon the many groups who claim to be leading the effort to pass the sick-leave bill to join us in this demand for a discharge motion.  If they truly care about their members and worker’s rights, they must stand up to the Speaker as well and get their bill to the floor using a procedure that is perfectly legal under the Council rules.
 
            New York is fast becoming a City entirely for the rich—“a luxury product” in the words of Mayor Bloomberg who is rarely challenged by his ally Speaker Quinn. We need an economy that provides living wages, affordable rents, and decent working conditions for ALL New Yorkers, not just the privileged few.
 
            Once in a great while, the Council led by Speaker Quinn stands up to Mayor Bloomberg and overrides his veto. But Council Members never stand up to Speaker Quinn herself to the detriment of the people of the City ofNew York.
 
            The next time Council Members elect a Speaker, they should choose one who believes in democratic majority rule—not one who consolidates power and threatens those who dare to disagree simply for wanting to vote on the issues before them.

Officers

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Robin Byrd
  9. Hon. Gale Brewer
  10. Christian Campbell
  11. Gus Christensen
  12. Erik Coler
  13. Hon. Martin Connor
  14. Hon. Jon Cooper
  15. Wilson Cruz
  16. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  17. Alan Cumming
  18. Valorie Curry
  19. Michael Czaczkes
  20. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  21. Jon Del Giorno
  22. Aries Dela Cruz
  23. Kyan Douglas
  24. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  25. James Duff
  26. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  27. Hon. Herman Farrell
  28. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  29. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  30. Dan Gettleman
  31. Emily Jane Goodman
  32. Hon. Mark Green
  33. Robert Grunnah
  34. Tony Hoffmann
  35. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  36. Binn Jakupi
  37. Hon. Letitia James
  38. Hon. Corey Johnson
  39. Camille Joseph
  40. Phillip Keane
  41. Greg Lambert
  42. Dodge Landesman
  43. Phillip McCarthy
  44. Cameron McFadden
  45. Matt McMorrow
  46. Michael Mallon
  47. Mike C. Manning
  48. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  49. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  50. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  51. John Cameron Mitchell
  52. Donny Moss
  53. Barry Mullineaux
  54. Hon. Paul Newell
  55. Hon. Yuh-Line Niou
  56. Denis O'Hare
  57. Noah Pfefferbilt
  58. Josue Pierre
  59. Bob Pontarelli
  60. Billy Porter
  61. Joe Pressley
  62. Randy Rainbow
  63. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  64. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  65. Barbara Rosen
  66. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  67. Maer Roshan
  68. Toby Russo
  69. Bill Samuels
  70. James Sansum
  71. Scott Sartiano
  72. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  73. Lynn Schulman
  74. Hon. Rebecca Seawright
  75. Frank Selvaggi
  76. Rev. Al Sharpton
  77. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  78. Tom Smith
  79. Marti Speranza
  80. Anne Strahle
  81. Hon. Scott Stringer
  82. Wayne Sunday
  83. Hon. Bill Thompson
  84. Hon. Matt Titone
  85. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  86. Sam Underwood
  87. Derek Walker
  88. Jessica Walter
  89. Patricia Nell Warren
  90. Wil Weder
  91. Seth Weissman
  92. Mel Wymore
  93. Emma Wolfe
  94. Hon. Keith Wright
  95. Zephyr Teachout