Despite months of passionate and dedicated work by the Campaign for Healthy Denver and its allies in support of a citywide paid sick days standard, Initiative 300 did not pass.
The disappointing election result means that more than 107,000 Denver workers and their families will continue to struggle – like the nursing worker who got fired after calling in sick, and the mother who lost a week’s worth of wages because she stayed home with her ill children, and the restaurant server who worked sick because he couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay. Thanks to corporate interests that dumped more than $837,000 into a campaign designed to spread misinformation and scare voters, stories like these will continue. And the public will suffer the consequences.
Big business money won in Denver – as part of a nationwide fight against common sense workplace and consumer protections – but momentum in the nationwide fight for paid sick days remains strong. This year alone, elected officials in Connecticut and Seattle granted workers the right to earn paid sick time. And Philadelphia took a step toward a citywide paid sick days standard. Coalitions and legislators in more than a dozen cities and states are mobilizing in support of paid sick days laws, providing momentum for federal action.
A broad coalition of workers, advocates and businesses came together to support the paid sick days initiative in Denver. We know how important a basic workplace standard like paid sick days is to the health and well-being of the city. We have learned a lot, and we will be back. Workers will prevail in Denver and in cities and states across the country.