Queens Small Business Owners Launch Conscious Consumer Initiative

Today, a group of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst small business owners joined with City Council Members and community leaders to announce their support for paid sick days at Terraza 7 Live Music, a restaurant and music venue in Jackson Heights and launch a “Conscious Consumer Initiative” to highlight and promote local businesses that already provide paid sick days.

Supporters are calling on City Council to pass the Paid Sick Time bill which would ensure that 1.5 million New Yorkers without access to paid sick days are able to take time off when they or their families are ill. In addition to the support of small businesses, the bill has 35 Council sponsors and is supported by a diverse coalition of labor unions, women’s rights organizations, healthcare providers and community organizations.

“I know how important it is to take time off when you are sick to prevent disease from spreading,” said Freddy Castiblanco, owner of Terraza 7 Live Music, who was trained as a physician in his native Colombia before immigrating to Queens. “As a business owner I believe giving paid sick days is not only the right thing to do, it also builds a stronger business.”

Leni Juca, owner of the Oxium Copy Shop in Jackson Heights, which provides paid sick days, left his job at a large chain to start his own business. “I left corporate America to start a small business because I wanted to be treated like a full human being, not a number,” said Juca. “In my business I treat my employees like family. Everyone gets sick, and that’s why I provide paid sick days. People come back to work more committed because they know I’m there for them.”

Juca and Castiblanco are both leaders in Small Business United. Today they joined with Make the Road NY, which has over 4,000 Queens members, to announce the creation of a “Conscious Consumer Card” and a grassroots mobilization and education campaign to highlight and promote responsible businesses in the community like Terraza 7 and Oxium that provide paid sick days to their employees.

Some press coverage:

Queens Courier, Queens Chronicle, Caribbean Life

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