Few people outside the Republican presidential primary would argue that low-income workers have it made in America. With stagnating wages, skyrocketing rents, and the prohibitive costs of many essential needs, it’s little wonder that progressivism is seemingly becoming the new normal in American politics. However, this is not necessarily true in local politics. In fact, working families in Prince George’s County discovered this week that their County Council has more in common with Jeb Bush than Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
This year has seen many important victories for working people. The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act which has made basic health care more accessible, New York is poised to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15, and Montgomery County made history by passing the strongest paid sick leave bill in the country. With so much good news, one might mistake the current paradigm as some kind of workers’ paradise.
Montgomery County is poised to join a growing number of US jurisdictions requiring paid sick leave for nearly all employees, but the interests of low-paid workers in the bill heading toward passage are endangered by forces trying to weaken it.