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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

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

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

Do you want a sick housekeeper coughing all over your bed?

April 24, 2013
My name is Cathy Youngblood, and I am a hotel housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz in West Hollywood, California. Those of us who work in hotels come into contact with hundreds of different people from all over the world daily. And of course, some of those folks are going to be sick, whether it is because they don’t want to miss their vacation, or they feel like they can’t cancel their trip for work. But because I work in a union hotel, we have paid sick leave. It is a real comfort to know that when I get sick, I can take the time I need to get better without losing necessary income. Before I...
Cathy Youngblood's picture

Paid Sick Leave: It’s Business-Friendly, Too

April 24, 2013
In most of the developed world, when people get sick or have a sick child, they take a sick day and take care of themselves and their families, keeping their co-workers, customers and clients safe. And they rest comfortably, knowing that getting sick won’t mean they can’t pay the rent or provide their children with needed school supplies. That’s the way it should be. In most of the advanced world, paid sick days are a right that protects working families, while at the same time boosting businesses and the economy. But not in the United States. More than 44 million Americans—42% of the...
Elizabeth Shuler'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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