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A Collective Solution to a ‘Personal Problem’ – Unions Fight for Paid Sick Days

July 28, 2010
When my son was almost 10, I found out I was pregnant with twin girls. I was excited but a little intimidated. I remembered one newborn being a lot of work – what would two be like? I mentally prepared for double the amount of diaper changes, laundry, bottles and child care costs. But what didn’t occur to me until after my return to work was how going from one child to three more than tripled my chances of needing to call in sick. In a recent work week the family cat was diagnosed with feline diabetes, my son got hit by a baseball in P.E. and one of the twins threw up on the other twin’s...
Jenya Cassidy's picture

Decision 2010: The Grassroots set the Pundits Straight!

July 28, 2010
The legislative session is over in Maine. It came to a close in April, and while the session came to a close during one of the warmest springs on record, unfortunately lawmakers legislature left workers out in the cold . That’s because they once again failed to pass L.D. 1665, a bill that would have provided paid sick days for all Maine workers – a vital protection that 36% of the Maine workforce currently lacks. As candidates hit the campaign trail, vying for a seat in the 125th Legislature or executive office, L.D. 1665 is getting an awful lot of attention – and it isn’t all good. While a...

Why North Carolina needs federal action on paid sick days

July 28, 2010
North Carolina workers aren’t alone in their desperate struggle to balance the competing demands of work and family. Half of North Carolina’s private sector workers— 1.6 million to be precise —lack a single paid sick day to care for themselves or a sick family member. Here is the great Tar Heel state, we talk a lot about family values. But when every day, workers here have to risk a paycheck or even their jobs to care for themselves or a sick family member, we’re not walking the talk when it comes to valuing our families at home and in the workplace. That’s why, starting in 2007, a couple of...

Paid Sick Days are Crucial for Direct Care Workers

July 28, 2010
Every day in the United States, more workers than many of us imagine face an impossible choice: go to work sick, or forgo a paycheck and risk job loss or workplace discipline. More than 40 million private sector workers in this country do not have access to even a single paid sick day. And when it comes to personal care workers—those who tend to the elderly and care for small children—more than half (52%) lack paid sick days. The need for paid sick days for direct care workers could not be more critical. With pay rates that average about $10 per hour, every cent earned is crucial to direct...

Where Small Business Prospers

July 28, 2010
Here at the Maine Women’s Lobby, we’ve been researching family leave insurance for nearly ten years. It’s passed in three other states (California, Washington, and New Jersey), and many more are actively working on legislation. Right now, in Maine, when working families welcome a new baby or face a serious illness (think horrendous car accident or cancer) it’s every family on their own. Some may work for an employer who is able to provide them with temporary disability insurance or paid maternity or paternity leave. These are the lucky ones. But, for far, far too many workers, pay is not an...

Why I Need Paid Sick Days

July 28, 2010
My name is Tasha West-Baker, I am 34 years old. I am a mother of three, my kids range in age from 15-10. I am a cashier at one of the largest grocery chains in the United States (Safeway); I have worked for this company for the past seven years, which in the grocery industry is a long time. Thanks to my union (UFCW21) I have good medical benefits and a pension. We are in negotiations right now to protect our health plan and secure that pension. However, one thing that my job still does not afford is the ability to access sick days when I am sick. While the logistics of how our sick time works...

Supporting Earned Sick Time is as Easy as 1-2-3: Public Health, Smart Business, and Economic Security

July 28, 2010
(Looking for a fourth reason? It’s good for you and your family.) We can all agree that when people are sick, the best place for them to be is home or in the hospital in order to get the care they need and prevent the spread of illness. But in Pennsylvania, 46 percent of all workers have no access to earned sick time. So if they or their family members get sick, they are stuck in a no-win situation: work sick, or stay home and lose their pay (or their jobs). 1. Public Health : H1N1 (swine flu) is an example of what earned sick time is so important. The CDC and others pointed out that if...

In Talking About Paid Sick Days, The Bottom Line

July 28, 2010
In the advocacy world, talking points to support paid sick days have been developed to fit every constituency: To appeal to working parents, labor and women’s advocates, you might highlight the fact that paid sick days are a modern necessity in a society where many families have both parents in the workforce – and the majority (71%) of all women with dependent children under the age of 18 are in the labor force; To appeal to policymakers sympathetic to health and children’s issues, you might frame your discussion around the fact that children experience better short- and long-term health...

Sick in the City: Paid Sick Time and a Healthy Business Climate

July 28, 2010
We need federal legislation like the Healthy Families Act to guarantee paid sick time to all working Americans. But it’s possible to make significant progress even when Congress is slow to act. States and cities across the nation can take action independently to ensure that their own residents can access this critical workplace benefit. These local efforts build momentum and help to illustrate the widespread benefits of guaranteeing paid sick time. After all, the first paid sick time law in the United States was enacted at the city level in San Francisco. And San Francisco’s successful...

Need for Paid Sick Days Never Takes a Holiday

July 28, 2010
It’s summer -- a time for neighborhood barbeques, family road trips, lazy and hazy days. Summer fun is an American tradition, reminding us that we all occasionally need a break from the stresses and challenges of our lives. Summer is a perfect time to remind ourselves that low-wage working women occasionally need time too; the time to care for ourselves and our families. Now’s the time to take action for paid sick days for all workers: to contact our Senators and remind them that, for the sake of our families, our nation’s public health and family economic security, we must ensure that all...
Linda Meric's picture