Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goldilocks and Paid Sick Days

Goldilocks loved her job working as a pre-school teacher at a private school in Palo Alto. She taught her class the alphabet and other things. She also was a great storyteller.

Goldilocks' favorite student was Samantha who was very bright and bubbly. Samantha was a scholarship student. Samantha's mother Vanessa worked at a local hotel as a food server.

Sometimes Samantha would come to school sick. When she did, some of the other children got sick. Goldilocks had sent Vanessa e-mails explaining that she shouldn't send Samantha to school sick. For some reason, Vanessa never responded to the e-mails.

One day, Samantha came to school with a bad case of the flu. Goldilocks tried calling Vanessa but no one answered. Goldilocks asked another teacher to watch her class while she took Samantha home.

When she got into her car with Samantha, Samantha told her not to take her home.

"Mommy is at work," Samantha said.

"We'll go to your mommy's work," Goldilocks said.

Goldilocks pulled out her cell phone from her purse and called the office for Vanessa's work address along with directions. After she obtained the information, Goldilocks put away her cell phone and then turned on her ignition. Within a few minutes, she and Samantha arrived at Vanessa's work.

Samantha asked the person at the front desk for Vanessa. A few minutes later, Vanessa came. She was dressed in a server's black and white uniform and hair was in a bun. She looked terrible. Her eyes were bloodshot and her nose was red. In her left hand, she had a wad of tissue.

"Vanessa, I'm your daughter's teacher," said Goldilocks. "You look really sick. You need to go home and take care of yourself and your daughter."

"I can't," Vanessa protested. "If I go home, I won't get paid because they don't give us paid sick days. I can't afford to lose a day's pay. Every month, I struggle to pay my rent and electric bill."

"That's horrible," said Goldilocks. "We can fix that."

"How?" Vanessa asked. "I've worked here two years and no one has paid sick days. Management doesn't care."

"I have a plan called Goldilocks and the three bears," Goldilocks said.

"Isn't Goldilocks and the three bears a fairy tale?" Vanessa asked.

"Back in the day when I worked with the three bears, we were a fairy tale. However, times have changed. We now are community organizers," Goldilocks answered. "Our top priority is making sure that California workers have paid sick days that fit them just right."

"You're the original Goldilocks," Vanessa said.

"Yup," Goldilocks answered. "My hair is 100 percent natural blond."

"No, it's not," Vanessa argued. "It's dark brown."

"This is a wig. I use it to disguise myself. My real hair underneath is blond," Goldilocks said. Goldilocks then removed her wig and showed off her long blond tresses.

"Wow," Vanessa said. "I guess you are the real Goldilocks. So how do I get paid sick days?"

"Close your eyes, clap your hands three times and I say I want paid sick days."

Vanessa closed her eyes, clapped her hands three times and said the chant. When she opened her eyes, the owner of the hotel was standing next to her.

"Vanessa, I just talked to some of our customers," the owner said. "They said they are tired of workers coming to the hotel sick and sneezing in the food. They want us to give the workers paid sick days. Effective today, workers will receive paid sick days. As a result, I am sending you home with full pay so you can take care of yourself and your daughter."

"Thank you," Vanessa smiled.

The owner then walked away.

Vanessa turned to Goldilocks and said, "I'll take my daughter home now."

"Good," Goldilocks said. "Get some rest, drink hot tea and eat chicken noodle soup."

"Will do," Vanessa said. "Anything else?"

"When you get better, sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers and spread the word to your friends," said Goldilocks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Paid Sick Days Fairy Godmother

Once upon a time, there was a single mom, Cindi, who worked very hard. She worked during the week at a job that she liked a lot. Cindi had worked for the same company in San Jose for over three years and had nice co-workers.

Cindi wished her job paid more and had paid sick days. However, she was glad that it paid her rent, food and other bills.

Cindi was very proud of her nine-year-old daughter Briana, who loved to play soccer. It was always a joy to watch Briana play on the field.

One Sunday when Briana was playing soccer, she got hurt very badly. Cindi took Briana to the hospital. The doctor told Cindi that Briana would be fine but she would need to stay home from school for three days.

Cindi didn't have anyone to take care of Briana. Her parents lived very far away. Briana's father was away on a trip with his new wife. And all of Cindi's friends worked during the week.

Cindi looked at her bank account balance online. She had less than $100 in her account. The rent was due in a couple weeks. Cindi needed a full paycheck to cover the rent. If she took off three days, she would be short by a couple hundred dollars.

Cindi didn't know what to do. She didn't want to lose her apartment. She had lived in the apartment for a long-time. It had two-bedrooms and it was in a nice working class neighborhood.

She walked into her bedroom's closet. To her surprise, there was a pair of glass slippers. She tried them on. They fit perfectly.

She walked back into her bedroom and looked into the mirror. Instead of her reflection, she saw a woman with long white hair.

The woman spoke, "I am your fairy godmother."

Cindi responded, "I don't have a fairy godmother."

"When you put on the glass slippers, I became your fairy godmother," the woman replied.

"Okay," Cindi said.

"I have the power to grant you one wish," the fairy godmother said.

"I'd like a million dollars," Cindi said.

"I'm sorry but I can't grant that wish," the fairy godmother said. "We're in a recession and our funds are limited."

"What kind of things can I wish for?" Cindi asked.

"Something simple that will help others," the fairy godmother responded.

"I wish my employer had paid sick days for all workers," Cindi said.

"Say I want paid sick days three times and your wish will be granted," the fairy godmother said.

"I want paid sick days. I want paid sick days. I want paid sick days," Cindi said excitedly.

"It's been granted," the fairy godmother said.

"Really?" Cindi asked.

"Yes, just check your e-mail," the fairy godmother responded.

Cindi went online and checked her e-mail. Her boss Ms. Charming had sent her an e-mail.

Because we will be adding an office in San Francisco, we went to a training about San Francisco's Paid Sick Days ordinance. We were very impressed by how both businesses and workers like paid sick days.

As a result, we have decided to provide paid sick days to our workers. Effective tomorrow, all fulltime workers shall have 12 paid sick days per year. Sick days will be prorated for part-time workers. Sick days may be used to take care of yourself or a family member.

Cindi smiled. She now would be able to pay her rent and take care of Briana. When Cindi walked back to the mirror to see her fairy godmother, she saw a note on her bed.


I had to leave to help another worker whose name is Cinder Ella.

To help the six million California workers who don't have paid sick days, please sign the petition for paid sick days.

In Community Spirit,

Paid Sick Days Fairy Godmother

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Santa's Elves and Paid Sick Days

It was the week before Christmas in the North Pole. There were toys everywhere in Santa's factory. Dozens of elves dressed in red costumes and bright green tights smiled while they wrapped the toys.

Mrs. Claus entered the room. She clapped her hands twice and said, "Elves, I have an announcement."

The elves looked up and stopped wrapping the toys.

"I just got off the phone with the head elf in the San Francisco factory. It has too many orders for food baskets. There's no way they'll finish in time before Christmas. So we'll be doing some of the baskets here."

The elves were silent for a few seconds. Sandra who was the leader of the elves said, "We have never done food baskets before. Why are we doing them now?"

"Sandra, we're in a recession. Instead of toys, a lot of kids in California are asking for food baskets for their families," Mrs. Claus answered.

"When did we open a factory in San Francisco?" Sandra the elf asked.

"A few months ago, Santa and I decided that we needed to expand our operation because lots of families would need our help. As you know, Santa and I always have believed in workers' rights. We chose San Francisco because it has paid sick days for workers," Mrs. Claus answered.

"I thought everyone had paid sick days," Sandra the elf said. "We've had paid sick days in the North Pole forever."

"San Francisco is the only city in California that has a paid sick days' ordinance. In California, there are six million workers who don't have paid sick days. It's not fair that workers have to choose between losing pay and their health or their children's health," Mrs. Claus answered.

Are there people who go to work sick and handle food?" Sandra the elf asked.

"Yes, that happens a lot," Mrs. Claus answered.

"That's gross," someone shouted.

"Yuck," another elf said. "Could imagine the number of complaints we would get if sick elves made food baskets?"

"We'd get a lot," Mrs. Claus responded. "We're in the business to make people happy on Christmas day. We definitely don't want to get kids and their families sick."

Mrs. Claus continued, "I know you all know about our policy on paid sick days but I want it clear. If you get sick or one of your family members get sick, please stay home. We want to make sure that you take care of yourself and your family members. We don't want you coming to work and infecting the other elves or anyone else."

The elves nodded their heads.

"Does anyone have any other questions?" Mrs. Claus asked.

"No, I'm just glad that we have paid sick days," Sandra the elf said. "It protects us and our families. And it protects the public as well."

"Great," Mrs. Claus said. "Well, let's all get back to work and start working on the food baskets. I'm making homemade chocolate for dessert."

"Yum-yum," the elves said in unison.

For more information about paid sick days, visit 9to5 California's Web site.