Weeks-Long National Bus Tour Urges Paid Family and Medical Leave for All

The campaign hopes to get legislation passed for any person who needs time off to care for a sick loved one or a new baby.

The Paid Leave for All bus stops in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, Aug. 5. (Twitter)

Throughout August, social justice and women’s rights organizations—organized by Paid Leave For All, a group pushing for sustainable paid leave policy—are coming together for a national bus tour spanning 14 states across the U.S. to raise awareness about the need for paid family and medical leave for all.

The United States is the only industrialized country without a national form of paid leave. Nevertheless, paid leave has bipartisan support from 84 percent of U.S. voters, including 96 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of Independents, 74 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Trump voters, according to a recent poll conducted by Paid Leave For All Action.

Paid leave has also wide support from lawmakers, including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). As such, the provision plays a large role in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion ‘human’ infrastructure package, which also includes universal pre-K and extensions to the child tax credit, free community college, expanded in-home caregiving for the disabled and elderly, mitigating threats posed by climate change, lowering child care, health care and prescription drug costs, and reducing taxes on middle and working-class families.

On August 4, Pelosi joined the bus tour during its D.C. stop. In a speech, she recalled her own advocacy for paid family and medical leave during a bus trip in 2014 with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).

“When we did a bus trip … a woman came to the front to speak. She was a school bus driver. And she said, ‘Let me tell you what I see every school day. I see moms come to the curb with their child, frequently crying, child sniffling. She has to put the child on the bus sick, because she has no alternative,'” said Pelosi. “No paid family and medical leave, no decent wages to afford child care, no child care. Everything we’re talking about affects that woman putting a sick child on the bus and what that means to the child and the other children.” 

The Paid Leave For All bus tour hopes to raise public awareness about the necessity of a national paid leave policy. In doing so, advocates hope local lawmakers and the public can help pressure the government to institute paid leave policies in the next infrastructure package.

“My friends, this is about family,” Pelosi said. “It’s about children. It’s about time. It’s about time that we get all of this done.”

Paid Leave National Bus Tour

Click here to see if the bus tour is coming to a city near you! Or see below:

  • August 2, 2021: Providence, R.I. and Boston
  • August 3, 2021: Albany, N.Y. and New York City
  • August 4, 2021: Wilmington, Del. and Washington, D.C.
  • August 5, 2021: Norfolk and Richmond, Va.
  • August 6, 2021: Roanoke, Va., and Charleston, W.V.
  • August 9, 2021: Denver
  • August 10, 2021: Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • August 12, 2021: Las Vegas
  • August 13, 2021: Phoenix

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Juliet Schulman-Hall is an editorial fellow for Ms. and a senior at Smith College. She is majoring in English language & literature, minoring in sociology, and concentrating in poetry. Her beats include America's health care system, disability, global politics and climate change, and criminal justice reform and abolition. Follow her @jschulmanhall