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Letter Asking Senator Schumer To Include Paid Family and Medical Leave in the Build Back Better Act—and Not to Leave Tens of Millions of Americans Behind

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This is an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Schumer signed from New Yorkers in all areas of the state and all walks of life, urging him to ensure paid family and medical leave remains part of the Build Back Better Act. To contact your Senators directly, take action here.

December 2, 2021

Dear Majority Leader Schumer: 

We write to you as proud New York mothers, fathers, caregivers, working families, union members, business owners and leaders, non-profit organizations, and voters, to ask that you put your strongest-possible support behind including and passing paid family and medical leave in the Build Back Better Act. As you said this summer of paid family and medical leave, “There are certain moments when you can change America. Let us not pass it by.” 

We thank you for your leadership to fight for working families in New York and across the country; the passage of paid leave this year would cement that legacy. Simply put, on your watch, paid leave must not be left on the cutting room floor.  We believe that every working person in New York and beyond deserves time to care for themselves and their loved ones regardless of where they live or work. 

While we have seen the enormous value and impact of having a paid leave benefit at the state level in New York, we have aging parents, new grandchildren, and ill or disabled family members across this country who have no access to these protections at all. 

Paid leave is an effective and necessary tool for public health and for our economic security and growth—one our country should have had long before this pandemic began, and one we cannot recover without. Moreover, this is about living the values of racial and gender equity and fairness that Democrats in this Congress espouse. The health crisis of the last two years disproportionately impacted caregivers, essential workers, and women of color who faced the greatest job losses, and who risked their health and their lives carrying us through a pandemic. There is no equitable recovery without policies that protect and value them. 

We know what access to paid leave—or more often the lack of it—has meant for our families, in times of crisis and beyond. It is the difference of whether hard-working Americans can safely heal and care for their loved ones and themselves. It is the difference of whether illnesses spread, whether small businesses stay open and thrive, whether families can stay afloat and hold onto their jobs. 

As you know, paid leave and care policies are an investment in our shared health and prosperity. We know that passing this policy would yield millions of jobs, billions in wages, and trillions in GDP across this country. And we know that even before the pandemic, workers and their families lost $22.5 billion in wages each year due to a lack of paid leave. In contrast, paid leave policies support work and labor force strength, help families grow their earnings and financial security, improve worker retention and reduce business costs, help small businesses compete with larger ones, reduce the use of public programs, and strengthen GDP.

We have the rare opportunity now to build back better with equitable policies that will prepare us for future crises and protect the hardest-hit communities from bearing a disproportionate burden of such crises. We urge you to not let this opportunity pass us by, not to deprive nearly 20 million workers who need paid leave each year the ability to take it, and to join with us in putting your voice and the full weight of your leadership and office behind paid leave in Build Back Better. 

Sincerely,

Elected Officials
NYC Council Member Inez Barron
Senator Alessandra Biaggi
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
NYC Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr.
Former NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal
NYC Council Member Elect Jennifer Gutierrez
Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi
NYC Council Member Brad Lander
Senator Rachel May
Former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger
NYC Council Member Elect Sandy Nurse
NYC Council Member Antonio Reynoso
NYC Council Member Carlina Rivera
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan
Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon

Organizations and Organizational Leaders
Hazel Dukes, President, NAACP New York State Conference
Karen Hylton-McGuire, Chair, New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition
Christopher Kocher, Executive Director, COVID Survivors for Change
Bill Lipton, Former NY State Director, Working Families Party
Maurice Mitchell, National Director, Working Families Party
Cecile Richards, Co-Founder, Supermajority

Organizations
A Better Balance
AAUW
ACLU
American Medical Women’s Association
American Sustainable Business Council
Bronx Breastfeeding Coalition
Citizen Action of New York
Committee for Hispanic Children & Families (CHCF)
Community Service Society of New York
Council on Human Needs
COVID Survivors for Change
Eleanor’s Legacy
Empire State Campaign for Child Care
Gender Equality Law Center
Gender IDEAL
Her Justice Inc.
Hope’s Door
Housing Works, Inc.
League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County
Literature to Life
Long Island Jobs with Justice
Main Street Alliance
Metro New York Health Care for All
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Employment Law Project
National Organization for Women New York
New York Communities for Change
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition
New York StateWide Senior Action Council
New York Sustainable Business Council (NYSBC)
NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council, Inc.
NYS AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) A Coalition of Chapters 1,2&3
Paid Leave for the U.S. (PL+US)
PowHer New York
Prevent Child Abuse NY
Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United
Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United- New York
Rockefeller Family Fund
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
Sisters of Charity of New York
Small Business Majority
The Children’s Agenda
TIME’S UP
Tompkins County Workers’ Center
United Neighborhood Houses
Vote Mama Foundation
Western New York Child Care Action Team
Women in Hospitality United
Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco)
Worker Justice Center of New York
YWCA Brooklyn
YWCA Cortland
YWCA Elmira & Twin Tiers
YWCA Greater Capital Region
YWCA Jamestown
YWCA Mohawk Valley
YWCA NorthEastern New York
YWCA Rochester & Monroe County
YWCA Ulster County
YWCA Western New York
YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester
Zonta Club of Brooklyn

Unions
1199/SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Actors’ Equity Association
CWA 1103
Freelancers Union
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
Local 2627 – DC 37
LSSA-UAW Local 2320
NY NJ Regional Joint Board, Workers United/SEIU
NYS AFL-CIO
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
Technical, Office and Professional Union UAW Local 2110
UAW Local 2179
UAW Local 259
UAW NYC Area CAP Council
UAW Region 9A Education Fund

Businesses
(Salon)Care
5SmartReads
Aavia
Amalgamated Bank
AMCONYC
Apiari
Arvorie
Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative
Bindle Systems, Inc.
Birth Matters NYC & Astoria Doula Collective
Cadre
Care.com
Carefully Inc
Charter
Chiara de Rege Inc
Chief
Collective Kind
Conceive
ConsciouslyUnbiased
Culture’s Last Stand
ECE on the Move LLC/ GA GA GFDC LLC
Ellevate Network
Etsy, Inc.
Eventbrite
Fairygodboss
Fully Funded
Grey Horse Communications
Hey Mirza
Lime
LOLA
M.M.LaFleur
Magnet Media
MakeLoveNotPorn
McPherson Strategies
Mighty Forces
Mirza
Otto’s Market
Outside Design Build
Ovaterra
Patagonia
Plural
Room and Board
SimpliFed
Slightly Reserved
SoulShine Life Yoga for Kids and Families
Spark Collective
Springbank Collective
Stam Signs LLC
Style House
Sunrun
The Fifth Trimester
The Justice Dept
The Marlow Collective
The Petrova Experience LLC
The Second Shift
The Soze Agency
Tinybeans
Tough Tina, Inc
Uncommon Goods
Upfront
Villyge
west~bourne
WilyfoXX
Workplayce
Yelp

Business Leaders
Hayley Barna, Partner, First Round Capital
Elana Berkowitz, Partner and Co-Founder, Springbank Collective
Lauren Berson, Founder & CEO, Conceive
David Bolotsky, Founder and CEO, Uncommon Goods
Leslie Borrell, CEO/Founder, Carefully Inc.
Callan Blount Fleming, CEO, Spark Collective
Siran Cao, CEO, Hey Mirza
Michelle Chan, CEO, Workplayce
Carolyn Childers, Co-Founder, Chief
Megan Cunningham, Founder & CEO, Magnet Media
Cindy Gallop, Founder & CEO, MakeLoveNotPorn
Kate Gardiner, CEO, Grey Horse Communications
Yi-Hsian Godfrey, CEO & Co-Founder, Apiari
Erin Grau, Co-Founder & COO
Lisa Greaves Taylor, Founder, Birth Matters NYC & Astoria Doula Collective
Amanda Hirsch, Founder and President, Mighty Forces
Georgene Huang, CEO & Co-Founder, Fairygodboss
Andrea Ippolito, CEO, SimpliFed
Leana Jelen Tapnack, Owner, Stam Signs LLC
Jennifer Justice, CEO & Founder, The Justice Dept
Lindsay Kaplan, Co-Founder, Chief
Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevest
Anjali Kumar, Founder, Slightly Reserved
Sarah LaFleur, Founder & CEO, M.M.LaFleur
Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President, Social Impact Strategy, MTV Entertainment
Courtney Leimkuhler, Founding Partner, Springbank Collective
Dana Levin-Robinson, CEO, Upfront
Camilla Marcus, Chef and Founder, west~bourne
Aagya Mathur, CEO & Co-founder, Aavia
Susan McPherson, CEO, McPherson Strategies
Janna Meyrowitz, President, Style House
Jodi Neuhauser, CEO, Ovaterra
Romy Newman, President & Co-Founder, Fairygodboss
Therese O’Higgins, Executive Director, Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative
Hitha Palepu, Founder, #5SmartReads
Clara Planel, Co-Founder & CEO, Collective Kind
Daniel Plenge, Founder & Creative Lead, Plural
Adriana Quaranto, CEO, AMCONYC
Carley Roney, Co-Founder, The Knot
Ilnort Rueda, Co-Founder & President, Arvorie
Reshma Saujani, Founder, Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms
Shefali Shah, Chief Commercial Officer, Upfront
Pedro Silva, CEO, Arvorie
Michael Skolnik, Founding Partner, The Soze Agency
Lauren Smith Brody, Founder, The FIfth Trimester
Augustus Warren, CEO, Bindle Systems
Ariel Wengroff, Founder & CEO, Culture’s Last Stand
Ryan Williams, CEO, Cadre
Debi Yadegari, CEO, Villyge
John Zogby, Founder and Senior Partner, John Zogby Strategies

Entertainment Industry
The Public Theater
Elizabeth Adams
Uzo Aduba
Saheem Ali, Associate Artistic Director, The Public Theater
Mark Armstrong
Tala Ashe
John Baker
Sam Balzac
Laurie Baskin
Stephanie Beatriz
Ben Beckley
Lori Bergamotto
Jessica Berman
Shareeza Bhola, Senior Dir of Communications, Public Theater
Jeremy Blocker, Managing Director, NY Theater Workshop
Kristy Bodall
Stephen Bogardus
Jessica Borowick
Nancy Borowick
Christyn Budzyna, Lyricist & Web Developer, The Public Theater
Jill Chastain
Kimberly Chatterjee
Rachel Chavkin
Jane Cox
Kelley Curran
Emily Dahab
Kristin Daily
Pamela Dayton
Nick Desloge
Crystal Dickinson
Brandon Dirden
Wally Dunn
Oskar Eustis AD, The Public Theater
Batya Feldman
Julia Frey
Jeannine Frumess
Sarah Gancher
Dawn-Lyen Gardner
Lauren Geller
Claudia Goldstein
Kahlil Goodwyn
Ian Gould
Amber Gray
Adam Green
Amanda Green
Kathryn Grody
Richard Guier
Mandy Hackett
Kate Hamill
Kayleen Hecksher
Catherine Hover
Michelle Hurd
Michael Jackson
Rashaan James
Julia Jordan
Francis Jue
Lainie Kazan
Carly Kipen
Emily Knapp
Alex Knowlton
Erin Koster
Aury Krebs
Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President, Social Impact Strategy, MTV Entertainment
Nikka Lanzarone
Kate Liberman
Carmen LoBue
Lorin Lottaro
Alexa Lowis
Broadway Bound Kids
Kristen Ludwig
Kate MacCluggage
Rob Marcato, Producer, Signature Theater
Rafael Martinez
Davis McCallum, AD, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
Katrina Michaels
Cat Miller
Julianne Moore
Ryan Morales Green
Tom Nelis
Lynn Nottage
Mandy Patinkin
Piper Perabo
Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Perelman Center
Alysia Reiner
Laura Rigby
Tony Romero
Sarah Ruhl
Laura Savia, Associate AD, Williamstown Theater Festival
Christine Scarfuto
Robert Schenkkan
Michael Sexton, Director, Public Shakespeare Initiative
Nandita Shenoy
Gail Simmons
Jennifer Swiderski
Nikki Switzer
Natalya Tabony
Shaina Taub, Artist-in-Residence, The Public Theater
Shanta Thake
Marisa Tomei
Eugenio Vargas
Adina Verson-McQuilken
Meiyin Wang
Vanessa Watters, Production Department, The Public Theater
Margret Wiggins
Patrick Willingham, Executive Director, The Public Theater
Kevin Wong
Nick Wyman, former President of Actors’ Equity Association
Sacha Wynne

Jewish Leaders and Organizations
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
National Council of Jewish Women New York
Shifra Bronznick
Stosh Cotler, CEO, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson
Peter Geffen
Judith Plaskow
Rabbi Rachel Timoner

Individuals
Rhonda Acholonu
Capron Levine
Catherine Ais
Jess Lewis
Miriam Alkon
Elaine Livingston
Lydia Alvarez
Katherine Lobach
Brooke Amico
Siobhan Lowe
Elizabeth Ananat
Melissa MacAlister
Sarah Apfel
Macaela Mackenzie
Gina Arias
Kyla Magun
Dr. Elizabeth Arleo
Sandra Makarem
Jenna Arnold
Vivek Malhotra
Sophie Bair
Nathalie Margi
Molly Ballerstein
Erin Marshall
Monifa Bandele
Sonia Marton
Talia Barrett
Larry Marx
Camille Barrio
Matthew Maury
Ann Bartel
Jamie Maxner
Katia Beauchamp
Jocelyn Mazurkiewicz
Bret Benjamin
Angela McAteer
Lauren Benkov
Elizabeth McClean
Gina Bergman
Jessica McKinney
Carol Berkow
Danielle McNally
Kate Berman
Susan McPherson
Jennifer Blackwell
Sonia Mehta
Laska Blodgett
Michal Mendelson
Alison Bloom-Feshbach
Joselyn Molina
Richard Blum
Allison Moore Perlgut
Anna Blumenthal
Caitlin Moses Bowser
Dana Bolger
Ann Mulligan
Marisa Bowe
Mistrella Murphy
Maria Brause
Emily Murray
Monika Braverman
Ryan Nantell
Nancy Brisson
Beverly Neufeld
Joan Brooks
Jodi Neuhauser
Meredith Burns
Jaimie Ngan
Stacey Campbell
Deborah Nicol
April Cantor
Florinda Noka
Barbara Carier
Cindy Nowicki
Julia Carlson
Katie O’Brien
Clare Carr
Janet O’Hare
Blue Carreker
Kendra Opatovsky
Courtney Carson Goldblatt
Isabel Orbon
Erica Cerulo
Sarah Orenstein
Eunho Cha
Heather Osterman-Davis
Michelle Chan
Jennifer Owens
Tina Chan
Helen Pack
Mollie Chen
Geri Palast
Connie Chung
Jessica Pallay
Benyamin Cirlin
Kendra Pariseault
Valerie Clark
Shinjinee Pathak
Janice Clear
Lauren Pearl
Denise Clement
Natasha Pearlman
Rebecca Cokley
Valeria M. Pelet del Toro
Micheline Coley
Ivis Penalver
Alexis Confer
Andrew Perlgut
Megan Curran
Francine Perlman
Anna D’Agrosa
Jennifer Persaud
Mary Lou Davis
Cecile Peters
Trudy-ann Dawkins
Lauren Peterson
Chiara de Rege
Clare Pierson
Angela De Riggi
Phebe Pierson
Angela DeGeorge
Lindsey Pollak
Stephanie Demmons
Michael Powers
Susan C. Dessel
Mary Pritchard
Ariel Devine
Dina Pruzansky
Jamie Diamond
Yesenia Quichimbo
Michael Diller
Altaf Rahamatulla
Christin Drake
Alisha Ramkaran
Anna Durrett
Nancy Rankin
Grace Edinger
Jaimini Raval
Ashley Edwards Walker
Marna Redding
Julie Ember
Emma Redick
Joyce Englander
Andrea Remez
Shannon Fair
Astrid Reyes
Roman Feredr
Eliza Rockefeller
Madeleine Fleming
Lily Rockefeller
Marina Foglietta-Tereo
Tara Rockefeller
MC Forelle
Sherry Rogers
Susan Fox
Emma Roth
Kelly Fradin
Sharyn Rothstein
Joe Fromm
Cathy Rowan
Ramona Gallagher
Donald Roy
Cindy Gallop
Alana Russotti
Lisa Garcia
Kelly Russotti
Marie Garescher
Jennifer Ryan
Irwin Garfinkel
Ella Ryan
Nadia Gaya
Stella Safo
Judith Gebera
Taylor Salditch
Lea Geller
Maya Salwen
Michal Geller
Eileen Scandariato
Diana Gerson
Bettina Schlegel
Kathleen Gerson
Melissa Schulz
Ashley Gerstley
Shefali Shah
Joanna Gierczak
Susan Sharfstein
Karen Gold
Adrianne Shropshire
Edith Goldenhar
Rachel Sica
Adelaide Gomer
Callie Siegel
Cassandra Gomez
Karen Lynne Siegel
Emily Goodman
Lori Silverberg
Arielle Goren
Laura Sinrod
Sara Gougarty
Tara Snow Hanson
Summer Greenstein
Virginia Sole-Smith
Diane Greenwald
Stephanie Sosnowski
Aditi Gupta
Tracy Spencer
Nancy Haffner
Alexa Spiegel
Julia Halperin
Jessica Spiegler
Teresa Hargrave
Catherine St-Laurent
Eileen Hartmann
Liane Stegmaier
Helene Herman
A.L. Steiner
Amanda Hirsch
Chelsey Steinman
Emily Hoffman
Rachel Stepaniuk
Regan Hofmann
Lauren Struck
Susan Holland
Max Struever
Brigit Hurley
Kelley Sullivan
Karen Hylton-McGuire
Nabiha Syed
Alexandra Imhof
Hina Talib
Carrie Ingoglia
Patricia Taylor
Adora Jenkins
Marilyn Tedeschi
Rubi Jones
Emily Tisch Sussman
Jennifer Jones Austin
Kelly Titus
Miranda Kaiser
Kim Tranell
Jenn Kapahi
Jennifer Tuft
Craig Kaplan
John Tuttle
Julie Kashen
Lisa Ueki
Cynthia Katz
Amber Ufford
Barbara Kaufman
Sarah Upbin
Hilary Kelman
Jessica Vacanti
Katharine Kelter
Joanna Valliant
Jordana Kier
Maria Vazquez-Ziaie
Kate Kirschner
Allison Walsh
Aynsley Kirshenbaum
Laurie Walsh
Lauren Knudsen
Sarah Ward
Cherish Knudsen
Amy Way
Marcella Kocolatos
Laura Weidman Powers
Emily Koh
Anne Weisberg
Talia Kovacs
Ginny Wiehardt
Carol Krakowski
Lily Wiggins
Shayna Kreisler
Alison Wiggins
Becca Kretschman
Bobbi Wilding
Gabriella Kula
Ryan Williams
Danielle LaMotte
Flory Wilson
Theresa Landau
Joseph Wilson
Dilini Lankachandra
Joy Windley
Jessica Lauretti
Amy Wolfert
Nora Lawrence
Hannah Wolff
Yonit Lax
Anna Wood
Jiwan Lee
Leslie Wright
Sherry Leiwant
Anna Ziegler
Sarah Leiwant
Hillary Leone

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