170 of New York’s leading women call on state leadership to pass paid family leave in 2016

Governor Cuomo & Senate Majority Leader Flanagan: Make paid family leave a priority in 2016

With the 2016 legislative session about to begin, women in every region of New York are speaking with one voice: it’s time for paid family leave.

We, and the businesses, labor unions, organizations, constituents, and taxpayers we represent, urge you to make passing a strong paid family leave bill a top priority in the coming legislative session. With only 12% of private sector workers able to take time away from work in the event of a family emergency or the arrival of a new child, New York women need decisive action now. Our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends can’t afford to wait another year.

Paid family leave is one of the most important economic and health issues for women across the United States and here in New York. With 71% of us now juggling full-time employment with primary caretaker responsibilities for both our parents and children, we need economic policy that reflects the reality of the changing workforce. Without paid family leave, too many women are forced to leave their jobs to care for new children or ill family members; others return to work too soon after having a baby, long before it is healthy or prudent to do so.

The situation for low-income women is even more impossible. One in five New York women live in low-income households where even a week without a paycheck could wipe out their entire savings. Women who are unable to take leave after the birth of a child are 40% more likely to be forced onto public assistance or food stamps. Paid family leave would not only alleviate these problems – it can also increase a woman’s workforce participation and lifetime earning potential.Thankfully, a movement is growing for paid family leave. 81% of Americans – including 65% of Republicans – believe that having paid time off to care for family members is “good for our nation.” In New York, 8 out of 10 small business owners support extending our state’s Temporary Disability Insurance program to include paid family leave, and nearly 300 New York healthcare professionals and associations have attested to its immense health benefits.

New York risks falling behind. States like California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey have had successful paid family leave policies for years, and more states are exploring similar legislation. Paid leave is now an important issue for candidates running for President, and has become broadly recognized as a common-sense solution to dire problems facing women – everywhere, it seems, but in Albany. For the past decade, a strong bill has been introduced and passed in the Assembly – now, the State Senate must truly stand behind women’s equality and make this legislation a reality.

Women are driving New York’s economy forward – we, and the families we love, should not have to endure another year without paid family leave. Governor Cuomo and Senator Flanagan: we are looking for your leadership on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Gloria Steinem
Activist; Author

Cynthia Nixon
Actor

Roxanne J. Persaud
Senator
New York State Senate

Liz Krueger
Senator
New York State Senate

Catherine Nolan
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Michaelle C. Solages
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Latrice Monique Walker
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Nily Rozic
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Alicia Hyndman
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Rebecca A. Seawright
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Latrice M. Walker
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Michelle Schimel
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Aravella Simotas
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Shelley Mayer
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Jo Anne Simon
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Ellen C. Jaffee
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Kimberly Jean- Pierre
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Linda B. Rosenthal
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Sandra Galef
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Pamela Harris
Assemblywoman
New York State Assembly

Letitia James
Public Advocate
City of New York

Gale Brewer
Borough President
Manhattan

Joanne Yepsen
Mayor
Saratoga Springs

Stephanie Miner
Mayor
City of Syracuse

Kathy Sheehan
Mayor
City of Albany

Tiffany Martin Hamilton
Mayor Elect
City of Hudson

Cara Birrittieri
Mayor Elect
Village of Lakewood

Monica R. Martinez
Legislator
Suffolk County

Catherine Borgia
Legislator
Westchester County

Kari Rieser
Legislator
Dutchess County

Maryjane Shimsky
Legislator
Westchester County

Kari Rieser
Legislator
Dutchess County

Roseanne Sullivan
Legislator
Orange County

Barbara Jeter-Jackson
Legislator
Dutchess County

Martha Robertson
Legislator
Tompkins County

Susan labuhn
Legislator
Cattaraugus County

Alison Mclean Lane
Legislator
County of Albany

Kara Hahn
Legislator
Suffolk County

Manna Jo Greene
Legislator
Ulster County

Helen T. Rose
Legislator
Herkimer County Legislature

Cynthia B. Doran
Legislator
Rensselaer County Legislature

Judy Jacobs
Legislator
Nassau County

Leslyn McBean-Clairborne
Legislator
Tompkins County Legislature

Laura Curran
Legislator
Nassau County Legislature

Kate Browning
Legislator
Suffolk County Legislature

Harmony Speciale
Legislator
Oneida County

Tracey Bartels
Legislator
Ulster County

Aileen McNabb-Coleman
Legislator Elect
Cayuga County Legislator

Kristen Grandinetti
City Councilwoman
City Council of Niagara Falls

Heather S. Campbell
City Treasurer
City of Hudson

Amanda Septimo
Candidate
New York City Council

Tremaine Wright
Candidate
New York State Assembly

Denise Murphy McGraw
Councilwoman
Town of Niskayuna

Stephanie Hausner
Councilwoman
Town of Clarkstown

Catherine M. Fahey
Councilwoman
City of Albany

Karen Mejia
Councilwoman
City of Newburgh

Milagros Lecuona
Councilwoman
City of White Plains

Sylvia Overby
Councilwoman
Town of East Hampton

Nadine Hunt-Robinson
Councilwoman
White Plains Common Council

Peggy Ross
Councilwoman
City of Beacon City

Dia Carabajal
Councilwoman
City Of Auburn

Anna Kaplan
Councilwoman
Town of North Hempstead

Judy L. Doesschate, Esq
Councilwoman
Albany Common Council

Julissa Ferreras
Councilwoman
New York City Council

Milagros Lecuona
Councilwoman
White Plains Common Council

Anissa D. Moore
Councilwoman Elect
City of Long Beach

Molly Clifford
Councilwoman Elect
Rochester City Council

Viviana Russell
Councilwoman; Professional Development and Communications Manager
Town of North Hempstead; Mom-mentum

Sarah Imboden
Councilwoman Elect
Town of Red Hook

Laura Walls
Councilwoman Elect
Town of Gardiner

Jeanne Mettler
Boardmember
Town of Copake

Willa Powell
Commissioner of Education
Rochester City School District

Elizabeth Hallmark
Commissioner of Education
Rochester City School District

Katherine Sojewicz
Commissioner of Education Elect
Syracuse City School District

Michele Madigan
Commissioner of Finance
City of Saratoga Springs

Jodie Gilheany
Commissioner of Finance
City of Mechanicville

Gloria Fried
Receiver of Taxes
Town of Ossining

Dorcey Applyrs
Common Councilwoman
City of Albany

Johanna Coleman
Supervisor Elect
Town of Lancaster

Diane Marco
Town Clerk
Town of Rotterdam

Cathy Rybczynski
Town Clerk
Town of Hamburg

Holly Netter
Town Clerk
Town of Esopus

Elaine Spaull
Vice President and Councilwoman; Executive Director
Rochester City Council; The Center for Youth

Catherine Magarelli
Town Council
Woodstock

Johanna Kiernan
Town Councilwoman
Town of Blooming Grove

Regina Hunt
Trustee
Board of Education

Cynthia Brock
Alderwoman
City of Ithaca

Carmen Pineyro
Trustee
Village of Freeport

Maribel Toure
Vice President
Village of Hempstead Board of Education

Christy Turlington Burns
Founder, Chair
Every Mother Counts

Ai-jen Poo
Director
National Domestic Workers Alliance

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
Co-Founder and Executive Director
MomsRising.org

Cynthia DiBartolo
Chairperson
Greater NY Chamber of Commerce

Suzy Ballantyne
Co-Chair
New York Women’s Equality Coalition

Marie C. Wilson
President Emerita
Ms. Foundation for Women

Jennifer Jones Austin
CEO and Executive Director
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Deborah King
Chair
New York Union Child Care Coalition

Karen Scharff
Co-Chair
Working Families Party

Deborah Axt
Co-Executive Director
Make the Road New York

Tracy Sturdivant and Vivien Labaton
Co-Director/Co-Director
Make It Work Campaign

Brette McSweeney
Executive Director
Eleanor’s Legacy

Beth Finkel
New York State Director
AARP

Sonia Ossorio
President
National Organization for Women – New York

Karen Magee
President
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)

Andrea Miller
President
NARAL Pro-Choice New York

Heather McGee
President
Demos

Shaunna Thomas
Co-Founder
UltraViolet

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)

Jill Furillo
Executive Director
New York State Nurses Association

Samantha Berg
Executive Vice President
Amalgamated Bank

Michele Lynch
Political Director
1199 SEIU

Alison Hirsh
Political Director
32BJ SEIU

Julie Kushner
Regional Director
UAW Region 9A

Coraminita Mahr
Vice President
1199 United Healthcare Workers East/SEIU

Sondra Youdelman
Executive Director
Community Voices Heard Power Inc.

Marjorie Ives
Director
Women’s City Club of NY

Elizabeth Isakson
Co-Director
Docs for Tots

Lois Uttley
Director
Raising Women’s Voices-NY

Nancy Rankin
Vice President for Policy Research and Advocacy
Community Service Society

Sherry Leiwant
Co-Founder & Co-President
A Better Balance

Dina Bakst
Co-Founder & Co-President
A Better Balance

Katha Pollitt
Columnist
The Nation

Martha Baker
Consultant
New York Paid Family Leave Campaign

Jon Wegienek
Co-President
Westchester NOW

Nina Dawson
Credentials Coordinator
HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley

Jennifer Tuttle
Deputy Director of Politics and Legislation for Upstate New York
Communication Workers of America

Lisa Tyson
Director
Long Island Progressive Coalition

Renée Wilson-Simmons
Director
National Center for Children in Poverty

Nomiki Konst
Director
The Accountability Project

Amy McBride
Director of Family Child Care and Professional Development
Rochester Childfirst Network

Sara K. Gould
Co-Director, Steinem Initiative
Smith College

Jessica Klos Shapiro
Director of Policy and Community Education
Early Care & Learning Council

Minerva Solla
Director, Hudson Valley Political and Community Organizing
New York State Nurses Association

Kate Pfordresher
Director, Research and Public Policy
Professional Staff Congress, AFT Local 2334

Ruth Milkman
Distinguished Professor
CUNY Graduate Center

Norma Hannigan
Doctor
Hunter College, CUNY

Jennifer Owens
Editorial Director
Working Mother Media

Donna Dolan
Executive Director
New York Paid Leave Coalition

M. Dove Kent
Executive Director
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

Sheri Scavone
Executive Director
WNY Women’s Foundation

Anita Halasz
Executive Director
Long Island Jobs with Justice

Christine Sadowski
Executive Director
YWCA Orange County

Nancy Kolben
Executive Director
Center for Children’s Initiatives

Sara Niccoli
Executive Director
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State

Wendy Burch
Executive Director
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-NYS

Heather Beaudoin
Founder
SeedLinc

Diana Cihak
Founder
WomenElect

Susan Ochshorn
Founder
ECE PolicyWorks

Sarah Jaffe
Journalist

Carol Ann Lemon RN-BC
Lobbyist
NYSNA

Susan Vierczhalek
MD
New York State Breastfeeding Coalition

Rachael Lerner, NP-BC
Nurse Practitioner and Health Advocate
Nurse Practitioners of New York

Carolyn Lee-Davis
Policy Director
The Children’s Agenda

Courtney Brunelle
Political Action Representative
AFSCME

Dana Alas
Political Director, Upstate New York
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Denise Duncan
President
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-NYS

Harilyn Rousso
President
Disabilities Unlimited Consulting Services

Beverly Cooper Neufeld
President and Founder
PowHer New York

Ellen Gurzinsky
Principle
WindowBox Coaching and Consulting

Sharon Lerner
Reporter
Freelance

Mary Beth Morrissey, Esq., PhD, MPH
Researcher and Policy Advocate (Immediate Past President of PHANYC)
Public Health Association of New York City

Rona Taylor
Secretary
Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club

Jessica Dowsett
Senior Field Coordinator
Capital District Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO

Donna Seymour
Vice President
American Association of University Women, New York State

Iman Abid
Western Region Vice President
New York State Young Democrats