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On Monday I attended a Seattle Women’s Commission event held to award to the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce the 2012 Jeanette Williams Award. The Commission selected this group as the award recipient because of the critical work they did to help make Seattle’s new Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance a reality.
The United States is unique among industrialized nations: 135 other countries already have laws in place mandating paid sick days for the workforce of their entire country.
The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce brought together a broad coalition of supporters, including several Seattle businesses. Without this kind of community-wide consensus building it may not have been as likely Seattle would have become the third city in the United States to require paid sick and safe time for its workers.
At the celebration we heard personal stories that made the case for why standards for paid leave is so important. It was a welcome opportunity to celebrate everyone’s hard work. To find out more about Paid Sick and Safe Leave, see here.
ABOUT THE AWARD
The Jeanette Williams Award was created as part of the 2003 Seattle Women’s Summit to honor an individual who demonstrates significant leadership and service in advancing the cause of women in Seattle. Jeanette Williams served on the Seattle City Council from 1969 to 1989. In 1971 she was instrumental in establishing the nation’s first Seattle Women’s Commission and Office of Women’s Rights with paid staff. Prior to serving on Seattle City Council, Williams overcame gender stereotypes to become the first woman elected as County Chairperson for the King County Democratic Central Committee. A tireless advocate for women’s issues, Jeanette Williams helped establish the first shelter for battered and abused women in Seattle, helped create the City’s Division on Aging, developed policies to address early childhood education, and sponsored critical legislation that for the first time prohibited discrimination in housing and employment in the City of Seattle