Tuesday, January 14, 2014

State Representative Gael Tarleton introduces a Paid Vacation Act for Washington State

Read John de Graaf's message below where he explains how to support this initiative by Gael Tarleton.
You can find the draft of House Bill H-2965.3/14 here (pdf).

I don’t write a lot of emergency letters, but this is one that is of utmost importance to me.  If we act, quickly, we have a chance in the next two months of making Washington the first state in the nation to require paid vacation time for workers!  But we need your help to do this now!  Please consider the ways you can help that are listed at the end of this letter, and add your support to this effort.
I’m writing to ask you to join Boeing engineer Jessica Bonebright, President of the King County Labor Council, and me in supporting a bill by State Representative Gael Tarleton mandating paid vacations for Washington State employees. http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/news/tarleton-to-introduce-paid-vacation-leave-bill/  
Entered into the Washington House of Representatives yesterday, House bill H-2965.3/14 (http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/tmp/2014/01/Paid-Vacation-Summary-H-2965-1-7-14.pdf) would guarantee one to three weeks of paid vacation time depending on length of service to all Washington workers in companies with 25 employees or more and to all public employees. 
Time is of the essence as the committee hearings for this bill will take place on January 24th, and a vote on it in the House of Representatives is likely to occur by February 10th.
Please write or call your Washington State representatives and senators today asking them to support this bill and to join Gael Tarleton as co-sponsors for this legislation.  http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
If you can, please join us in Olympia for the committee hearing on the bill—January 24 in the 1:30 PM Labor & Workforce Development Committee meeting.  Please let me know if you plan to come:  jodg@comcast.net.
I’d also like you to consider becoming a member of the advisory board for our new organization, The Washington Vacation Action Coalition (WAVAC). 
Purpose:  Though vacations are essential for good health, improved productivity, and family bonding, the United States is the only industrial nation on earth without a law requiring paid vacation time.  State Representative Gael Tarleton (D-36) hopes to begin changing that, and to do so she needs support from:
  • Medical personnel who understand the value of vacations for health and mental health
  • Labor unions and other organizations representing workers
  • Travel industry organizations and travel guides
  • Outdoor outfitters
  • Social justice organizations
  • Family organizations
  • Students and other young Washingtonians
  • Enlightened business owners who understand that vacations improve productivity
  • Parks and recreation professionals and educators
  • Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Mountaineers
  • All other citizens who care about work-life balance and health
Despite the proven value of vacation time, the bill is likely to face some opposition from small and large businesses and from conservative legislators who oppose government mandates.  If it passes the Democratic House of Representatives, it is likely to face opposition in the Republican State Senate.  Previous polling results have shown broad support for the issue, especially among younger, low-income and minority voters.
To help this bill succeed, we need to create a broad and vocal coalition supporting paid vacation time. 
Activities:  WAVAC will build a coalition to support the bill and encourage a positive response from State legislators.  WAVAC will work to generate media interest in the bill, through press releases, op eds, radio interviews, short videos and house parties using my new KCTS film, THE GREAT VACATION SQUEEZE.  WAVAC will also create media “events” to draw attention to lack of vacation time.  WAVAC will:
  • Work closely with Representative Tarleton and her assistants to coordinate all activities.
  • Assist in raising financial support for polling on the issue and other campaign needs.
  • Help develop promotional materials for the effort.
This is a unique opportunity for Washington State to exhibit leadership for the entire nation, as we did in recent initiatives legalizing gay marriage and marijuana use.  But in this case, Washington will be the first and only state with such a law.  Ironically, while no state does currently require paid vacation, Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens, are guaranteed three weeks of paid vacation each year.
Please let me know as soon as possible if (check all that apply):
___ You will endorse the legislation and write/call your representatives.
___ Your organization will endorse this bill.
___ You are willing to volunteer to work in this issue.
___ You can help us find other supporters.
___ You can make a financial contribution. 
___ Other (please state)____________________________________
If you can contribute financially, please make your check out to S2/Take Back Your Time/WAVAC, and send to:  Take Back Your Time, P.O. Box 9596, Seattle, WA 98119.  All amounts appreciated!
Thanks so much!  Sincerely,
John de Graaf
Executive Director, Take Back Your Time

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