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All Kids Make Mistakes

April 24, 2013
According to the FBI, only five percent of kids who get arrested have committed a violent crime, but the other 95 percent often face the same fate. In fact, the U.S. incarcerates its kids at a rate that is at least five times the rate of any other nation. As a result, many of these kids witness violence, are separated from their families, and struggle to complete high school, get jobs or go to college when they get out. And the long-term outcomes are stark: just 12 percent of formerly incarcerated youth had a high school diploma or GED by young adulthood and only about 30 percent were in...
Mistakes Kids Make's picture

No One Wins When Low-Wage Immigrant Workers Have No Paid Sick Days

April 24, 2013
As one of 11 kids in a migrant farm worker family, I toiled in the fields of California’s Central Valley under the bleakest of conditions in the 1950s and ‘60s, before Cesar Chavez’s movement offered us any relief. Getting sick or injured or showing symptoms of pesticide poisoning were not options. If they happened, you just worked through it. “If you don’t want to work, there’s plenty of people to take your place,” the foreman or farm labor contractor would say. Little has changed since then in our country, especially for private-sector workers. When her doctor ordered bed rest for Heather,...
Maria Elena Durazo's picture

People are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

April 24, 2013
"We must move beyond advocating for earned paid sick days, to implementing a culture of self-care in our movement. The lip service that is paid to self-care is not enough, and change can only occur if we take a people-first approach to our work." In March, the Generational Alliance brought together its 22 member organizations that represent national, progressive youth organizations that build power and community for the emerging majority of young people of color, women, LGBTQ folks, and low-income communities. One of the hopes that our members had during the convening was that the Gen...
Carmen Berkley's picture

It's time for basic labor protections for domestic workers!

April 24, 2013
My name is Luz Amelia Arevalo, I am a professional domestic worker in Los Angeles California. Because of economic necessity, my own family -- my own grandchildren -- are far away. I care for the children of my employers, and I grow to love them as I do my own grandchildren. There are many women like me, whose work makes it possible for so many families to thrive in California. But we do the work we do without basic labor protections and certainly without paid sick days. Over the years, I have been sick and hurt and had to work anyway. As a domestic worker, if you don’t work, you don’t get...
Luz Amelia Arevalo's picture

Confessions of a Recovered Waitress

April 24, 2013
The year after I graduated from college I waited tables and worked in retail, just like my parents always wanted. Kidding! Truth be told, I had always envisioned going to law school but hesitated once it came time to send in a deposit. I hadn’t given much thought to the other options I had, and the commitment of so much time and money made me think twice. So after graduating Phi Beta Kappa, I donned an apron and slip-resistant shoes and got down to work. I learned a great deal over the next few months working at a restaurant. My coworkers had mostly grown up in the area and still carried...
Madeline Shepherd's picture

Against Earned Sick Days? Try Waiting Tables With Torn Tendons In Your Leg

April 24, 2013
For nearly a year, Ariel Kempf was a server at a very busy breakfast and lunch café in Portland when, one day, while playing with her dog on the beach, she tore several tendons in her right leg. She had no health insurance, so she went to an urgent-care clinic where she was told she couldn’t put pressure on her leg for at least ten days and that it might take up to six weeks to heal. She had no sick days. Without delay, she called her coworkers who agreed to cover her next few shifts. She hoped to return in a week or so. But when the busy weekend came around and nobody was available to cover...
Tara Murphy's picture

Paid Sick Days Movement On the Move

April 24, 2013
This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post . Patricia, a home health care aide and 9to5 member from Colorado, attended to a man who is quadriplegic. When Patricia came down with food poisoning, her life unraveled. Her condition progressed to pneumonia caused from the vomit that spilled into her lungs. When her temperature spiked to 104 degrees, she took three days of unpaid leave -- equivalent to a week’s worth of her earnings. After three days, still weak and unable to lift her 170 pound patient, Patricia called in sick for one more day. She was fired. And with the loss of her...
Linda Meric's picture

Local Florida Officials Say No Attacks on Local Control

April 24, 2013
This article originally appeared in Family Values @ Work . Home rule – guaranteed under the Florida state constitution — is a cherished conservative principle. It ensures the right of the people to determine and implement a public purpose at the grassroots level. So when is home rule not okay with conservative politicians connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC? Apparently, when local elected officials or voters stand with working families rather than corporate lobbyists. Local elected officials in Miami, Central Florida and Tallahassee rallied April 16 to oppose...
Ellen Bravo's picture

Why Giving My Direct Care Workers Paid Time Off is a Good Investment

April 24, 2013
This blog post originally appeared in Direct Care Alliance, Inc. . I’m the president and CEO of Catalina In-Home Services in Tucson, Arizona. We offer personal care and support services. Our clients are all private pay. We have about 65 caregivers, who we call professional direct care workers. They all have formal training, and the majority are certified nursing assistants. When I started the company in 1981, I felt very strongly that we were going to have to offer benefits if we were going to be able to be competitive in terms of being able to recruit and retain the best. So we have always...
Judy Clinco's picture

Why My Husband Wishes I’d Choose a Different Profession

April 24, 2013
This blog post originally appeared in Direct Care Alliance . I have been a direct care worker for about 10 years. I truly believe we make a difference in the lives of elders and the sick. I love my work and I get paid well for it, but I don’t get paid sick time or paid holidays. I came here from Germany when I was 25. I didn’t speak any English. I was married to a military man, who brought me here. At first, I just took care of my husband and my house. I volunteered at a thrift shop just to get out, but I was very shy and always worried that I would say the wrong thing. Then I got divorced...
Gabriele Swe's picture

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