October 19, 2015

ISAIAH, a faith-based organization representing thousands of people of faith, is committed to creating a more racial and economically just city and state. We are called by God to insist that every person and their labor should be valued. The City of Minneapolis has an opportunity to enact a common sense policy to invest in low-wage workers and their families, ensuring that every worker has access to 5-9 days of paid sick time. Hard working families in Minneapolis should not have to make the impossible choice of choosing between taking care of those they love or providing for their families. This is why ISAIAH will work to mobilize people of faith across Minneapolis in support of a Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance.

As people of faith we are deeply concerned for the well being of people and families in our city and state – with care for those on the margins, the poor, and the disenfranchised. Loving families and loving communities are the cornerstone of a healthy society. Increasingly, our economy is making it very difficult for families to both provide for their daily needs and have the time to live, love and pray.

Nearly 250,000 workers in Minneapolis are unable to stay home and recover when experiencing illness or stay home to care for a sick child or family member. This is an enormous problem – one that is desperately calling for a real solution. We applaud Mayor Hodges and the Minneapolis City Council for taking the step to propose a sensible solution that would ensure that all workers in Minneapolis would have access to paid sick days.

In a recent study, Minneapolis was named the third worst city in America to live in if you are an African-American. Of the 245,000 workers without access to paid sick days, the majority are workers of color. Sixty-two percent of Latinos and fifty-one percent of African Americans in Minneapolis do not have access to paid sick days. Meanwhile, Minneapolis has some of the worst, most pervasive racial equity gaps – from wages, to wealth, to education – we have a crisis on our hands. Given the struggles of so many families in Minneapolis, especially families of color, doing nothing is not an option. To discard black and brown bodies in this way is a sin – a rejection of God’s creation.

With thousands of people of faith across our Minneapolis congregations, we are launching a faith-led effort to ensure that paid sick days becomes a reality in Minneapolis. We will be in conversation with our membership base. We will activate over 500 personal constituent contacts into City Council members and launch a social media effort that includes thousands more. We will hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall Thursday October 22 at 10:00 a.m. with clergy, people of faith, and supportive small business owners. We will expect the City of Minneapolis to a pass basic earned sick and safe time ordinance this year.

Pastor Paul Slack, President

Doran Schrantz, Executive Director

Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord.  James 5:4