On Tuesday, March 15, 25 ISAIAH clergy and denominational leaders gathered to address the unfortunate and misleading Pioneer Press Editorial regarding Earned Sick and Safe Time published on Friday, March 11. Faith leaders took issue with the Editorial’s lack of mention of the negative health impacts for workers without paid sick time and the omission of available data about the connection between paid sick days and influenza transmission.


The Rev. Dr. Charles Gill from Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul answers a reporter’s question during a press conference announcing ISAIAH’s paid sick and safe time campaign for workers in St. Paul.

“This is not controversial. This is common sense. When lower income workers without paid sick time depend on their wages to get by, they go to work sick and infect people around them: other workers and customers, and if you can’t rest when you’re sick, you don’t get better,” said Pastor Ralph Baumgartner of Hope Lutheran Church in St. Paul.

Pastor Charles Gill of Pilgrim Baptist Church raised concerns about the racial disparities in access rates according to a study on Paid Sick Leave rates in St. Paul, which was released in February by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. According to the study, the majority of Black and Latino workers in St. Paul lack paid sick time, while 37% of white workers do not have paid sick time.

ISAIAH plans to lead the campaign for paid sick days for all St. Paul workers. Rev. Bradley Schmeling, Pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, announced ISAIAH’s plans to engage more than 40 St. Paul congregations to work with city council members to provide for the 72,200 St. Paul workers living without paid sick time.