It’s been a wild few days for New Yorkers.
After last week’s L-train fracas (which continued yesterday with Gov. Andrew Cuomo telling the New York Daily News he wants to “blow up” the MTA and start from scratch), the city was due for some good news. On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio, of all people, came through with it, announcing a plan to guarantee paid time off for nearly all New York City workers, according to the Washington Post, which would make it the first city or state in the country to do so.
The move is expected to extend paid time off policies to an additional 500,000 workers in New York if approved by the City Council. As reported by the Post, the plan would mandate companies provide at least two weeks off for full-time workers and paid time off for part-timers. The only loophole exists for companies with fewer than five employees, who wouldn’t be eligible for the same protections.
The announcement comes one day after de Blasio did another unambiguously good thing and revealed NYC Care, a healthcare initiative to provide funding for low-income New Yorkers, including undocumented immigrants, to seek and receive medical treatment. The program is slated to cover 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers, with plans available through the city’s public health insurance option, MetroPlus. Speaking with MSNBC, de Blasio even used the perfect language to describe the aim of the program, saying, “We recognized that obviously healthcare is not just in theory a right. We have to make it in practice a right.”
Given de Blasio’s track record, a side-eye is a warranted reaction when reading these announcements, especially given their proximity to one another. Maybe this is de Blasio making up for the despicable tap-dancing he did for Amazon over HQ2, maybe it’s table-setting behavior for some other truly awful decision on the horizon, or maybe his New Year’s resolution was to be an actually progressive mayor.
Whatever the case, hopefully de Blasio will recognize that if people start smiling at him on the street instead of pulling him by his lapels and screaming about the fucked up subway like they apparently do to Cuomo, it’s because he did something good. Keep doing the good things!