Comcast vs. Paid Sick Days for Philadelphians

In this morning’s Philadelphia Weekly, Randy LoBasso writes about the Comcast Corporation’s decision to lobby the City of Philadelphia against a paid sick-leave bill set to be introduced in January 2013.  If the bill looks anything like a similar measure vetoed by Mayor Michael Nutter in June 2011, it would, if passed, require employers of five or more employees to provide four or more days of sick leave a year, and employers of ten or more employees to provide seven paid sick days per year.

Comcast reported in October that their third-quarter profits more than doubled, and the price of shares of the company has increased by 58% this year.  Many of their profits are coming directly from consumers of their internet, phone, and television services, including consumers in the Philadelphia region.

“Why is Comcast resisting a proposal that would provide Philadelphia residents, including its consumers, with the basic human right to not work while sick, or to care for sick loved ones?  Comcast is trying to win more consumers of its products among poor and working people in Philadelphia with its Internet Essentials program,” said MMP’s Digital Justice Coordinator Bryan Mercer, describing a program allowing low-income Philadelphians with school-age children to purchase internet services from Comcast at less than $10/month.  “But these same Philadelphians, along with 40 million other Americans, have to work sick, pay for expensive child or elder care for family members kept home sick, or risk losing pay or their jobs if they miss a day of work.”

Media Mobilizing Project, as a member of the Media Action Grassroots Network, has worked to shed light on practices or proposals by Comcast that would censor content online or that would keep affordable, reliable internet services away from poor communities in Philadelphia and nationwide.  As part of our Media and Communications Institutes and at trainings hosted at our open computer labs, KEYSPOTS, MMP trains poor and working Philadelphians on basic internet access, mediamaking skills, and media literacy and justice principles, including the impact of corporate media on our families and communities.