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What’s Wrong with Comp Time? Ask Government Workers

May 6, 2013
This week, Martha Roby (R-AL) will introduce the same discredited comp time bill that leaders in her party have been pushing for years. Misleadingly titled “The Working Families Flexibility Act,” HR 1406 would permit private sector employers to offer compensation time in lieu of overtime pay to their hourly work force. At first glance the idea seems great: flexible time, family friendly. What’s not to love? Public sector workers can answer this question. In 1985, Congress voted to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allowing government employers to offer comp time in lieu of overtime...
Carol Joyner's picture

Useless Baggage

April 28, 2013
They’ve hit a new low. Citing significant concerns about long lines at airports and flight delays caused by the furlough of air-traffic controllers, Congress is allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to override strict sequestration rules and re-direct funds within its budget. And they did so with lightning speed. With their big fuss over aviation punctuality, lawmakers make it clear that they're not feeling the pain felt by the majority of Americans. Their message: In the United States it’s fine to wait — and face a steep climb — for housing, health care, cancer treatment, a pre-school...
Jo Comerford's picture

You Can't Survive on $7.25

April 26, 2013
Last week, I joined hundreds of striking fast-food workers on the streets of Harlem, where they held signs that read "I am a Man" and "I am a Woman" and chanted: "You can't survive on $7.25." The demonstration, led by workers struggling to survive on the minimum wage, recalled the organizing that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was engaged in when he was assassinated in Memphis 45 years ago. http://vimeo.com/64726578 Dr. King was in Memphis as part of his Poor People's Campaign. He spoke to striking sanitation workers who, like the fast-food workers in New York City today, said, "We can't do it;...
Benjamin Jealous's picture

Serious MOMentum for Working Families, Public Health: A MomsRising.org and AFL-CIO Blog Carnival on Paid Sick Days

April 24, 2013
The Healthy Families Act , a federal bill that would allow workers to earn seven paid sick days a year, was just introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Portland, Ore., was the most recent city to pass an ordinance granting workers earned paid sick leave. Will New York follow suit? The push for paid sick days is gaining serious MOMentum across the country and it could not come at a more crucial time. Approximately 40% of workers in the private sector are unable to earn a single paid sick day, compromising their health and those around them. It’s time to pull out our bullhorns and...
Ruth Martin's picture

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

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