This month, Councilman Wilson discusses two bills he recently advanced through the City Council: one in support of paid bereavement leave for pregnancy loss, and the other to prohibit the declawing of cats.
Photo: Office of Councilman Wilson
This month, I wanted to share some news about two bills that I advanced through the City Council recently. The first bill requires the City of Pittsburgh, as a major employer in southwestern Pennsylvania, to offer paid bereavement leave to every non-union employee who has suffered a loss of pregnancy. The second bill prohibits the declawing of cats within the City of Pittsburgh.
The City of Pittsburgh is now the first government in the United States to offer paid bereavement leave in the event of pregnancy loss. My bill recognizes that pregnancy loss can occur in any of the following forms: miscarriage, stillbirth, termination, failed in vitro fertilization procedures, or surrogacy loss. Miscarriages are especially common, occurring in about 1 out of every 5 pregnancies. In Pittsburgh, per the Gender Equity Commission’s 2019 report “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race,” pregnancy loss is twice as likely among Black women in Pittsburgh compared to white women. Additionally, according to the same report, the rate of pregnancy loss for both Black and white women in Pittsburgh is over 90 percent higher than the rate of pregnancy loss for Black and white women in similar American cities.
It was time the City of Pittsburgh set an example—in southwest Pennsylvania, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and across this country—as a compassionate workplace for employees who have lost a pregnancy. Such loss carries a heavy stigma because of how personal and how painful it can be. The least we can do is to provide paid leave so that our colleagues in these situations have the time and resources to grieve and heal without feeling pressured to put on a brave face and return to work. My office is now working to expand this leave so that the City’s union employees have the same access to this bereavement leave. We are also seeking commitments from other employers in Pittsburgh, especially large employers, nonprofits and foundations, and quasi-governmental authorities, to join the City of Pittsburgh in offering similar leave to their employees.
My second bill seeks to protect cats in the City of Pittsburgh from the inhumane procedure of declawing. Declawing a cat does not just mean removing its nails. When a cat is declawed, the last bone on each of the cat’s toes is amputated. If this happened to one of us, it would be like cutting off each finger and toe at the last knuckle. This is a cruel procedure that causes our cats a lifetime of pain and discomfort. And there are plenty of humane alternatives to declawing. As most cat owners well know, these alternatives include capping a cats’ nails with nail caps, regularly trimming cats’ nails, and providing ample appropriate scratching surfaces to cats. The City of Pittsburgh is now the first government in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to ban the declawing of cats. We set an example as a humane city by prohibiting this procedure. How we treat animals speaks to our deepest values. This bill puts the City of Pittsburgh on a path to treating our cats humanely.
If you have any thoughts regarding these two bills, or ideas for legislation that would make Pittsburgh a more compassionate city, please feel free to contact my office. You can reach my staff at (412) 255-2135, email us at email@example.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We look forward to hearing from all of you.
COUNCILMAN, DISTRICT 1