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Breastfeeding IS a Civil Right!

June 1, 2013
Being a new mother is not easy and getting breastfeeding off to a good start is a small – no, make that a HUGE miracle! Add the stress of losing your job because you tried to give your baby the best start in life? I can’t even imagine it. Breastfeeding became a protected Civil Right in California last year when Gov. Brown signed AB 2386, which amended our Fair Employment and Housing Act , to include a woman’s breastfeeding status. However, for years women in the US have been at risk of losing their job, because of a series of Federal Cases, in which the old patriarchy selectively sided with...
Genevieve Colvin's picture

Why Most Women Can’t “Lean In” Without Stronger Laws

May 14, 2013
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, has kicked up all sorts of controversy with her argument that career women can be their own worst enemy and should “lean in” more to their jobs and their ambitions. But the biggest, largely unspoken problem is not that she is elitist, or placing blame in the wrong place. It is that most women can’t rely on their work ethic or the good will of their boss to get ahead--- they need stronger legal protections to effectively “lean in.” It’s a vast, systemic issue. Women’s legal rights – at the moment of hiring, when they receive their paycheck,...
Dina Bakst's picture

Why I Believe in Paid Sick Leave

April 25, 2013
Moms shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and the health of their families. But too often, companies that are fixated on their bottom lines force women to make this choice. I know. It happened to me. I became pregnant with my second child while I was working at a T-Mobile call center in Nashville, Tenn. It was a very, very rough pregnancy. I was taking medication to keep me from going into labor. I was going to the doctor twice a week, seeing both a regular obstetrician and a high-risk obstetrician. I had to drink a lot of water and go to the bathroom pretty frequently, which is what...
Kristi Rifkin's picture

Paid Sick Days: A Matter of Life and Death

April 25, 2013
I have paid sick days but, sadly, know firsthand that we’re all at risk if we don’t ensure that everyone has this basic benefit. My mother, a Holocaust survivor, developed Parkinson’s disease and had a major stroke. She was hospitalized and then sent to a nursing home. The doctors told my father that there was nothing further they could do for her that couldn't be done at home, and as a result, my 85-year old-father took my mother home to care for her. As she needed a feeding tube and was in a semi-coma, he needed some additional assistance. We recruited a home health care aide who came for...
Cindy Weasen's picture

Brotherly Love? Check. Sisterly Devotion? Check. Earned Sick Days? Not So Fast.

April 24, 2013
It’s the stories that I keep coming back to. The story of a cook who was hit by a bus and hit with an eviction notice when he couldn’t pay his rent. The story of a mother who missed two weeks of work with illness and, five months later, still wasn’t back on her feet financially. The story of a man who bled FOR three hours in a restaurant kitchen after cutting himself because he wasn’t allowed to leave and get stitches. When Mayor Nutter vetoed earned sick days in Philadelphia, he didn’t just veto a bill supported by 110 organizations, 40+ businesses, 25 labor leaders, and 77 percent of...
Marianne Bellesorte's picture

The Time is Now for Federal Action on Paid Sick Days

April 24, 2013
Susan, a single mother in Missouri, has a 10-year-old son who has pneumonia. She wants to stay home and care for him, but she cannot because her boss refuses to let her take the day off and she is terrified that, if she misses work, she will lose her job. She has no choice but to leave him home alone, breaking away from work as often as possible to call and check on him. When Andrea’s seven-year-old daughter gets pinkeye, the Arizona mother is told to bring the sick child to work with her – at a school, no less. Andrea has to leave her daughter in a small room all day, checking on her...
Debra Ness's picture

Disney vs. Democracy

April 24, 2013
Mickey Mouse now has a side gig as a corporate lobbyist?! Apparently. Because right now in Florida, in the final days of the state legislative session, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney is working to make it impossible for local Florida cities and counties to pass earned sick time laws. [ 1 ] In fact, as reported in the Orlando Sentinel, Disney helped write the bill! “ Walt Disney World and Darden Restaurants, owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, helped draft the legislation, the sponsors said. ” [ 2 ] What gives? Who wants to take their family on vacation to a place where...
Ruth Martin's picture

Serious MOMentum for Working Families, Public Health: A 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

Paid Sick Time is a Basic Right

April 24, 2013
As President of the New York City Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO) , I represent over 1.3 million workers across many industries and professions in the private sector, public sector and building and construction trades. Many of these workers have the benefit of collective bargaining agreements that stipulate for time off with pay during illness. However, there remain far too many workers in the United States who cannot take time off from work and, if they are compelled by health or family needs to do so, risk disciplinary action or firing. Low-wage workers represent the majority of those not...
Vincent Alvarez's picture

Paid Sick Days Matter to Me

April 24, 2013
Sick days matter to me as a mom. I am a single mother so I have always been the parent who gets those dreaded calls -- the daycare number pops up on your phone and your heart sinks into your stomach. "Your son is sick, you need to get him now." My son is 8 now, so he is past the sick-every-five-seconds stage, but I remember those earlier years a little too well. It's like kids are programmed to projectile you-know-what right when taking a day off would be a disaster. In my last job, calling in sick was one of the scariest things to do. An angry boss adds worlds of stress to the already...
Charlie Rose's picture