So, as has been the story in every successful paid-sick-leave campaign, New York organized. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem sent Quinn a strongly worded letter, signed by 200 prominent women, including former Manhattan borough president Ruth Messinger and "Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon. The besieged unions — so accustomed these days to fighting a rear-guard action — came out in full force, along with black and Latino leaders and prominent philanthropists such as Jennifer Buffett. Diverse and determined groups, from the community service society to the working families party, put forward the intellectual arguments and the political strategy necessary for reform. And the net-roots — especially younger feminist writers and bloggers — galvanized the issue with the urgency it deserved.
This effort made paid sick leave the central issue in the Democratic mayoral primary and ultimately made Quinn's position — as the only Democratic candidate opposed — a major liability. In the face of this pressure, she relented last week and agreed to a compromise measure requiring businesses with at least 15 employees to provide five days of paid sick leave.
It's not a perfect bill, but it's proof of the power of a movement of everyday people whose cause is common sense and fair. And now, with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and otherssome calling for a federal Healthy Families Act that would establish national sick-day standards, that movement has a chance to sweep the country.
America has reached a tipping point, and we're sick of waiting.