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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

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