Published: May 17, 2012
“Orlando's ordinance is limited to people who cohabitate and share financial and emotional ties,” the press release boasts. “Orange County's HELP ordinance allows everyone else to register.” Yeah, because everyone else can fucking get married.
Anyway, this marks the (possible) end of a year-and-a-half chapter with a really great actress, one who pretended to listen while doing what her minions told her to do. Wait, you didn't know Teresa Jacobs was an actress? Well, she did just do a walk-on as the farmer's wife during the song “Iowa Stubborn” in the Garden Theatre's production of The Music Man on May 12, which is hilarious because Iowa allows gay marriage. We didn't go because the “Wells Fargo Wagon” skipped our office, but we're sure it was great. Also, thanks to the glory of the county's Facebook site, we now can see that Jacobs is a ringer for Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Jacobs posed for a photo-op with other characters for an upcoming nerd convention, and even put the buns on the sides of her head! This is leadership. Please, Teresa. Surrender the pink.
From one fairness soapbox to another: The city may take on an awesome new ordinance to ensure paid sick-time for employeesworking within city limits if the folks at Organize Now get their way. For weeks, members of the activist organization have been meeting with city leaders to argue their pretty unquestionable case. A core group, Citizens for a Greater Orlando (yesonorlando questionone.com) was launched on May 16.
Consider this: Orlando's fiberglass economy is built on underpaid table-waiting jobsand retail hell, and in many cases, especially in this economy, those people working those jobs are vulnerable to losing them if they get sick or need to take care of a sick loved one, including a domestic partner. Yay!
It's not a new idea, really. San Franciscopassed America's first paid sick leave ordinance in 2007, and according to a study released earlier this year by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the results have been, well, pretty fantastic. Surveying 727 employers and 1,194 employees, the organization found that two-thirds of employerssupported the measure and went on record saying that they did not lose any money over it. Also, employees who are granted sick days are less likely to use them all.
The Orlando iteration of a similar ordinance would cover all Orlando employees who work at least 160 hours per year. Employers with more than 15 employees would be required to offer paid sick time; those with fewer than 15 employees will not be required to pay for up to seven days of sick time, but they would not be allowed to retaliate against employees who use that much in a year. The plan is that each employee will gain one hour of sick time for every 37 hours worked.
So far, Organize Now executive director Stephanie Porta says the group has had supportive meetings with Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioners Sam Ings and Tony Ortiz (everybody else must be on the phone or something). But, according to Porta, convincing the elected officials is not as important as convincing the public and local businesses. The goal is to get 15 percent of Orlando's population (about 18,000 people) to sign a petition and move it past the standard “ordinance” rubric. She says they also intend to sit down and have “sane” conversations with potential opposition like the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, because facts are facts.
“We're trying to make Orlando a better place and we think we can get there through talking honestly,” she says. Imagine that!
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