OUR FIRST WINNER: Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz for her work bringing a strong sick leave policy to Portland workers.
What change did Commissioner Fritz make? Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz successfully brought a strong earned sick days policy to everyone who works in Portland that was passed unanimously by her four colleagues on the Portland City Council and will begin helping Portland workers in January, 2014.
How she made it: Commissioner Fritz drafted a strong policy informed by experienced experts, worked with advocates and powerful opponents, guided a public process that The Portland Mercury recommended be a model for the future, and worked successfully with two sets of fellow commissioners and a new mayor to get the job done.
How it makes being a mother in Oregon better: Starting in January, 2014 mothers who work in Portland can care for themselves and their sick kids responsibly without jeopardizing their own and their family’s economic security. Everybody gets sick, but without a citywide policy like the one passed by the Portland City Council, whether a person can afford to stay home when sick or see a doctor when needed or care for a sick child or even keep their job through an illness has depended on where they work. Now it doesn’t.
What else is good about it? According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), about 263,000 private-sector workers in the Portland area didn’t earn paid sick time in 2012, 121,300 of whom don’t earn any paid time off at all. Not an hour. This policy will change that – for the better. And everyone in the city will benefit.
Mother PAC Director Andrea Paluso described the impact of Commissioner Fritz’s success on the day of the City Council vote, March 13, 2013:
What an exciting moment for Portland! Commissioner Fritz and her colleagues on the Portland City Council are leading our city toward a more just and healthy economy that works for more Portlanders. I am pleased both with the road that brought us to this historic vote and with the final policy the Portland City Council has put forth and refined with deep and broad stakeholder input. Passing this policy brings us that much closer to a place where today’s employees can both provide for and responsibly care for their families.
And in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, whom Commissioner Fritz quoted after the vote,
Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.
Congratulations, Commissioner Fritz! And thank you for being a Changemaker and doing what you felt in your heart to be right. Our future depends on leaders like you.
Find out about our second Changemaker award winner here (awarded April 2016).