Workers Say Carriage Horses Get Better Benefits Than They Do at Rally for Paid Sick Leave
By Ben Fractenberg
CENTRAL PARK — New York City carriage horses get more time off than most city workers, protesters in front of Central Park said on Wednesday.
About a dozen workers rallied on the southside of the park at 59th Street — where horse-drawn carriages line up — in support of the City Council passing the Paid Sick Time Act, which would guarantee employees of small businesses five paid sick days a year.
"Horses have 30 days of sick days a year," said Harlem resident Amaeor Rivas. "Why do we not deserve even five days?"
Rivas, 54, said he gets no paid sick leave and once worked with a fever of 101 degrees because he needed his paycheck.
The council recently passed a carriage horse bill, which gives city horses five weeks of furlough time per year.
Though the sick leave bill has a veto-proof 36 sponsors, there has been no scheduled vote. One reason for that could be that some legislators are waiting a report from The Partnership for New York City, which is investigating the effect of paid sick time on city businesses.
"We are working during the summer on getting the support," said City Council Member Gale Brewer. She said she expects a vote sometime in the fall.
Workers at the rally were not as patient.
"The City Council needs to get its priorities straight — they’ve been busy standing up for hardworking horses while we wait for a vote in favor of hard working humans," said Noe Chametla, 45, who works at a deli in Astoria. "The horses have better benefits than us."