Steve’s Occupies Former Pfizer Building
By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday chose Steve’s Ice Cream at 630 Flushing Ave. in South Williamsburg as the location where he signed his new legislation extending paid sick leave to half a million more New Yorkers.
Traditionally, bills are signed at City Hall, but de Blasio was pointing out that Steve’s is the type of business that his legislation is designed to help.
Steve’s was started in 1973 as a small-batch ice cream manufacturer and moved to Brooklyn sometime later. Among its innovative flavors are “Brooklyn Blackout,” “Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel,” “Small Batch Bourbon Vanilla,” “Strawberry Ricotta,” “Mexican Chile Chocolate” and several others.
On its Facebook page on Thursday, Steve’s posted several photos of the mayor’s visit and reiterated its support of de Blasio’s legislation. “We were honored by his kind words on our brand, staff and most importantly ice cream!” the company wrote.
Steve’s is available at 246 grocery stores and supermarkets in the New York metropolitan area, many of them in Brooklyn. The Flushing Avenue building it shares with several other companies was once part of Pfizer’s now-defunct Brooklyn manufacturing complex.
In January, 17 days after taking office, the mayor put forward paid sick leave legislation that expanded this right to more New Yorkers. The law will take effect on April 1 and apply to all workers at businesses with five or more employees, encompassing those excluded under the previous legislation that applied to businesses with 15 or more workers.
“From Day One of this administration, we’ve made it our mission to lift up working families and raise the wage and benefit floor for all New Yorkers. This law is the first of many steps we are taking to fundamentally address inequality in this city, and make this a city where everyone rises together. Today is truly a historic day that takes us one step closer toward that goal,” said de Blasio.
New York City now joins jurisdictions like Connecticut, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., and other cities across the country offering its workers paid sick leave benefits.
The paid sick leave law also builds upon and expands on previous legislation by:
Eliminating the phase-in, that would have delayed coverage to workers at businesses between 15 and 20 workers. This means 140,000 people who would have waited until mid-2015 under the existing bill will have coverage this April. Eighty-five thousand of those workers do not currently have a single paid sick day.
Removing exemptions for the manufacturing sector, extending paid sick leave coverage to 76,000 workers, half of whom don’t currently have any paid sick days.
Adding grandparents, grandchildren and siblings to the definition of family members workers can legally care for using paid sick time.
Eliminating the economic trigger that could have delayed implementation of paid sick leave based on certain economic benchmarks.