Labor Leader Warns San Antonio's Delay on Paid Sick Time Doesn't Ensure Businesses Won't Fight It

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AFL-CIO's Linda Chavez Thompson fires up the crowd in front of City Hall last year after Working Texans for Paid Sick Time delivered its signed petitions to city officials. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • AFL-CIO's Linda Chavez Thompson fires up the crowd in front of City Hall last year after Working Texans for Paid Sick Time delivered its signed petitions to city officials.
A top union official warned that the delay in implementing San Antonio's paid sick leave policy is no guarantee that businesses won't challenge it again at a later date.

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said the recent agreement between the city and industry groups to push back the law's implementation from August 1 to December 1 may just set the stage for another court fight while delaying access to sick time for thousands of local workers.

"The fact that there's a delay at all is a problem," said Levy, who was in town last weekend for an AFL-CIO convention. "And, if we're seeing this pushed back and don't know what's at the other end, then that's an even bigger problem."

San Antonio's city attorney has argued that delaying the rule until December would allow staff to refine its legal details and gain support from employers. Earlier this month, business interests sued to stop implementation of the rule, arguing that it violates state overtime rules.



Business groups successfully sued to halt Austin's paid sick time regulation using a similar argument.

The AFL-CIO was part of a petition drive last year that prompted San Antonio's city council to pass a law requiring business to offer a set number of paid sick days. A study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that 39% of local workers don’t receive the benefit.

"It's outrageous that in this day and age people have to choose between being paid by their employer or taking time off to take care of themselves or a sick family member," Levy said.

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