Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Finale: The Fate of Paid Sick Days Superwoman

In our last post, Denise had gone to Dr. Virus' office to meet with his cronies. Dr. Virus tricked her into touching a specially made typewriter that was designed to destroy her writing powers. Denise felt horrible. How could she have been so naïve?

Denise locked eyes with Dr. Virus. "How could you do this to me?" she howled.

"Paid Sick Day Superwoman, we had to stop you," Dr. Virus said with an evil laugh. "We couldn't allow the paid sick days movement to grow. Now that your writing powers are destroyed, the movement is over."

"That's not true," a woman shouted.

"Yes it is," said Dr. Virus.

"Our movement will not be defeated," the woman replied. "We will find a way to restore her powers."

Denise looked at the woman. It was the woman who had recruited her to be Paid Sick Days Superwoman.

"That's impossible," said Dr. Virus. "There is no substance on Earth that will restore Paid Sick Days Superwoman's powers. Her writing days are over."

"I don't believe you," said the woman. "If there's a will, there's a way."

"Stop it," laughed Dr. Virus. "You need to admit defeat now."

"Never," shouted the woman.

"Lady, you are a stubborn community activist," said Dr. Virus. "You need to face reality. Paid Sick Days Superwoman put her writing hand on the typewriter and her powers were destroyed."

Denise stared into Dr. Virus' eyes and said, "I didn't put my writing hand on the machine."

"Yes you did," insisted Dr. Virus. "You put your right hand on the machine."

"I'm left handed like President Obama who supports paid sick days," said Denise.

"You're lying," said Dr. Virus.

"No, I'm not," said Denise.

She then took a pen from her purse and began to write her name with her left hand.

"It's a trick," cried Dr. Virus. "I don't believe you're left handed. There's not one superhero in existence that is left handed."

"Then I am the first and I'm proud of it," said Denise.

Denise then began to write a speech on paid sick days. Within a few minutes, she was done. She handed it to the woman.

The woman read the speech and remarked, "This is a fantastic speech."

"Let me see the speech," said Dr. Virus. The woman handed the speech to Dr. Virus. He took his reading glasses from his pocket and read the speech.

"This speech is very well written," said Dr. Virus. He then turned to Denise and said, "Paid Sick Days Superwoman, we've failed our mission. Now, we have no choice but to let you go. We will come up with a better plan."

"You don't need a better plan," said Denise. "You need to come to our side."

"Never," said Dr. Virus. "I have been on the side of evil for over twenty years. It's too late for me to change my ways. However, I will not block your path for paid sick days. Instead, I will find a new challenge."

"Like what?" asked Denise.

"Concocting next year's flu virus," said Dr. Virus with an evil laugh.

"Can't you do something positive?" asked Denise.

"Never," said Dr. Virus. "Now go."

Denise and the woman walked out of Dr. Virus' office in silence.

When they were on the street, Denise asked, "How did you find me?"

"I heard the radio ad," replied the woman. "So I knew where to find you."

"I'm glad you came," said Denise.

"You're welcome," said the woman.

Denise and the woman hugged and then departed separate ways. Since that day, Paid Sick Days Superwoman has continued her fight for paid sick days for California workers. She has been spotted in cities throughout California from Redding to San Diego. Every day, the movement for paid sick days grows stronger.

To help Paid Sick Days Superwoman, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. If you have already signed the petition, please tell your friends and family members to sign. Every signature will make a difference.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vermont Workers Fight for Paid Sick Days

TimesArgus.com recently published an article regarding Vermont's workers fight for paid sick days.

The article states in part:

When the swine flu broke out in the United States last month, President Barack Obama and the U.S. Center for Disease Control warned people to stay home from work if they had flu symptoms.

Unfortunately, for workers at more than half the state's businesses, that would mean taking time off without pay.

"Hard working Vermonters shouldn't have to choose between being healthy and getting a paycheck," said Colin Robinson, the spokesperson for the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign.

Several Vermont organizations and a handful of lawmakers vowed Wednesday to push for a new law in the 2010 Legislative session that would give many more workers in the state paid sick days off.

To read more, click here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Paid Sick Days Superwoman Meets Dr. Virus

After hearing last week's radio ad, Denise wasn't sure whether Dr. Virus' plea for her help was real. However, Denise decided to take a chance. The meeting place was only a few blocks from her apartment in downtown San Jose. If the meeting turned out to be a hoax, she would leave.

Denise changed into her Paid Sick Days Superwoman outfit. She glanced at herself in the mirror and smiled. She looked like a powerful superhero. Her purple t-shirt had Paid Sick Days Superwoman emblazoned on it and her purple leggings fitted her perfectly. Her shoulder-length auburn wig along with wire brimmed glasses were a great disguise. Nobody would know who she was.

Denise locked her apartment door and walked to the corner of First and Santa Clara. People cheered when they saw her.

She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around. Standing next to her was a man who looked quite sickly. His skin had a greenish cast and his eyes were bloodshot. He had a wad of tissue in his left hand.

"Paid Sick Days Superwoman, I'm glad that you came to meet me," said the man. "I'm Dr. Virus."

"I'm pleased to meet you," said Denise.

"Let's go to my office and get some tea. My people are waiting for you," he said.

"That sounds good," replied Denise. "I'm eager to meet your folks."

"I bet you are," Dr. Virus said with an evil laugh.

Dr. Virus and Denise walked in silence for a couple blocks until they reached his office. Dr. Virus opened the door. Inside were about a dozen people. All of them looked like they had a bad case of the flu. They were coughing and sneezing. Their eyes were red and their noses were runny. Denise wanted to tell them to go home and get some rest.

Dr. Virus introduced Denise. "Hello, this is Paid Sick Days Superwoman. She's come to help us."

"That's great," one person said.

"Please tell me how I can help you," said Denise.

"We have a special machine that writes speeches," Dr. Virus replied. "We asked it to write a speech on paid sick days because we plan to hold a rally on Saturday. But for some reason, it's not working."

"I can write the speech for you," said Denise. "It won't take that long."

"What we really need is for you to fix the machine," said Dr. Virus.

"I'm not a mechanic. I'm a writer," said Denise.

"We were told by the inventor that we needed you to touch the machine," said Dr. Virus. "Your super writing abilities will be transferred. The machine then will work again."

"That's it," said Denise. "Just show me the machine."

Dr. Virus pointed to an old-fashioned typewriter.

Denise smiled. "This is an antique. I love things from the past."

Dr. Virus said, "This is an antique that has a twist. It's been updated with a special function for writing paid sick days speeches. Just touch it for sixty seconds and it will work again."

Denise put her right hand on the typewriter. "Like this?" she asked.

"Yes, you're doing it correctly," Dr. Virus replied.

The room became silent. Dr. Virus said, "Just two more seconds and you'll be done."

"Stop," a voice shouted. "Dr. Virus wants to destroy your super writing powers."

Denise immediately removed her right hand from the typewriter.

Dr. Virus laughed, "It's too late. By touching the machine for sixty seconds, your writing powers were destroyed."

Denise felt too weak to say anything. She couldn't believe that she had been so naïve.

"Dr. Virus, you're an evil man," the voice cried. "Now, we'll be doomed forever."

Did Dr. Virus succeed in destroying Denise's super writing powers? Is her fight for paid sick days over? Stay tuned for the next post.

And remember you can still help by signing the petition for paid sick days for California workers.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

California Worker Works While Sick With Flu

California worker Claire lives in Los Angeles. Because she could not afford to take off from work, she had to work while she had the flu. Watch her story.

To help workers like Claire, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dr. Virus' Radio Ad to Lure Paid Sick Days Superwoman

Denise was driving home from the airport. She was in good spirits. She had spent the week at her aunt's house in Inglewood. Denise and her aunt were very close. Her aunt had raised her after her parents had died in a car accident when she was eight years old.

Denise turned on the radio and listened to her favorite radio talk show. The host discussed the importance of treating workers with respect and dignity. Denise smiled.

Midway through the program, a radio ad aired. Sinister music played in the background. A man with an evil laugh announced,"Paid Sick Days Superwoman, I'm Dr. Virus. My people have looked for you all over town and we can't find you. We've walked the streets and no one knows where you live. You don't have a web site and you don't have an e-mail address. We've looked for you in the phonebook and you're not listed."

Dr. Virus paused for a second. He then said, "We're airing this radio ad in hopes that we'll find you. Paid Sick Days Superwoman, if you're listening, please come down and meet with us next Wednesday at 8:00 at night. We'll be on the street corner of First and Santa Clara in downtown San Jose. We'll be dressed in black with signs."

A muffled voice said, "Don't go, it's a . . ."

Dr. Virus shouted, "Get out of here. You're not going to ruin our plan."

The commercial then ended. Denise turned off the radio. She didn't know what to think. Who was Dr. Virus? Was he was a good doctor? Or was he connected to evil? And who was the person who had tried to warn her? Did this person have good intentions? Or maybe the person didn't want her help workers.

Denise wished she could talk to her aunt who was a longtime activist in the labor movement. However, no one could know that she was Paid Sick Days Superwoman.

Denise had about a week to ponder about her dilemma. By that time, she would know what her plan of action was.

Stay tuned for the next blog post. If you haven't signed the petition for paid sick days for California workers, please sign it. Every signature will make a difference.

Worker Fired by Pharmacy for Being Sick

Andrea lives in Los Angeles. She was fired by a pharmacy for being sick. Watch Andrea's story.

To help workers like Andrea, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Together, we can make a difference in workers' lives.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dr. Virus' Evil Plan to Take Away Paid Sick Days Superwoman's Powers

The lights were dim in the office. The air smelled like mildew. The withered front door was cracked open slightly.

Inside the office, Dr. Virus was surrounded by a few of his cronies. Dr. Virus stared at the latest article about Paid Sick Days Superwoman. He was livid.

"We need to stop Paid Sick Days Superwoman now," he said angrily. "She's written compelling petitions that have convinced three businesses to give their workers paid sick days over the past month. Next, she'll be writing opinion-editorials for major newspapers and speeches for California's leaders on paid sick days. Then she'll be able to pass legislation that will cover the six million California workers who currently lack paid sick days."

"What's wrong with that?" someone asked.

"Because we can't allow workers to have paid sick days," said Dr. Virus. "I thrive on workers coming to work sick. It hurts everyone and that's what makes me tick."

"Aren't you a doctor?" another person asked.

"I'm not a real doctor," replied Dr. Virus. "Years ago, I was expelled from medical school because I enjoyed getting people sick. They told me that my ideas and beliefs were very dangerous."

"Maybe you should change," said someone.

"Once evil always evil," Dr. Virus chuckled.

"How are you going to stop her?" another person asked.

"I've invented a machine that will take away her writing superpowers," said Dr. Virus. "Once she comes in contact with the machine she'll be reduced to writing at first grade level. She will be worthless to the paid sick days movement."

"I doubt she's going to come near the machine," said someone.

"We will lure Paid Sick Days Superwoman with a fake plea for paid sick days," said Dr. Virus. "All I need her to do is to put her hand on the machine and her writing powers will be gone forever."

"How are you going to do that?" someone asked.

"Next week, there will be ads on California's radios stations. The ads will give her the time and place to meet us," Dr. Virus replied.

"And what if she doesn't come?" another person asked.

"She will," said Dr. Virus. "My plan is foolproof. There's no way that it can fail."

The room was silent for a few seconds. Then there was a loud noise. It sounded like someone had slammed the door.

"What was that?" Dr. Virus asked.

"Maybe the wind," someone replied.

Another person muttered underneath her breath, "Most likely a spy."

Can Dr. Virus be stopped? Stay tuned for the next post for Paid Sick Days Superwoman.

In the meantime, if you haven't signed the petition for Paid Sick Days for California workers, do it now. Paid Sick Days Superwoman needs your support to continue her fight for justice.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Case for Paid Sick Days

The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an opinion-editorial titled, "A case for paid sick days." The opinion-editorial was written by Ellen Wu, who is the executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network along with Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, who is a co-author of the 2008 health impact assessment of California's proposed Paid Sick Days law.

Their opinion-editorial stated in part:

"Concerns over the recent swine influenza virus appear to be cooling for the moment, but this shouldn't mean that we stop thinking about how to prevent communicable disease. Influenza is an annual and tragic event: Each year, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets seasonal influenza (the flu), more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 people die. Guaranteeing paid sick days to workers is an important step toward preventing spread of illness and promoting public health."

To read more, click here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Paid Sick Days Superwoman Saves Pizza Workers

It was Sunday afternoon. Denise was in the mood for pizza. She looked on the Internet and found a pizza parlor in San Jose that specialized in vegetarian pizzas. She ordered a pizza topped with mushrooms, bell peppers and onions along with a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade and a small salad.

Thirty minutes later, Denise's meal was delivered to her door. Denise paid for her meal and gave the worker a generous tip. When Denise opened the pizza's box, she found a note.

We are very lucky that we have paid sick days. Our owner knows that it's important that we don't come to work sick. However, we are deeply concerned about another pizza parlor. Workers come to work sick all the time because they don't have paid sick days. It's bad for customers and it's bad for business.

We've heard that there is a new superhero in town and her name is Paid Sick Days Superwoman. We want her to attend the workers' meeting at 7 p.m. in Sunnyvale. If you know Paid Sick Days Superwoman, please tell her about the meeting.

Denise looked at her watch. It was 5:30 p.m. There was ample time to eat her dinner and go to the meeting. Denise savored her meal. It was delicious.

Denise went into her bedroom's closet and pulled out her paid sick days costume. She put on her purple t-shirt that had Paid Sick Days Superwoman embalmed on it and a pair of purple leggings. Denise then put on wire-brimmed glasses and an auburn wig that she had recently bought. Now, she was ready for action.

It was 6:30 p.m. Denise left her apartment in downtown San Jose and drove to the workers' meeting in Sunnyvale. She parked her car and walked to the pizza parlor.

When she arrived, she was greeted by loud cheers.

"Oh my goodness, it's Paid Sick Days Superwoman," said one of the workers.

"We are so glad that you came," said another worker.

"I'm glad to be here," said Denise. "How can I help you?"

A worker walked up to Denise with a handwritten note. "I'm with a group of workers who work for the pizza parlor in Sunnyvale. We understand that our brothers and sisters in San Jose have paid sick days. However, they work for a different owner. Our owner won't give us paid sick days. We've tried writing a petition but we can't figure out the right words. We heard that you're an excellent writer. We're hoping that you could write the petition for us."

"Just tell me what you want," said Denise. "And I'll write it."

Denise heard comments from different workers. She took down the comments on a yellow notepad. After the workers were done speaking, Denise began writing the text for the petition. Within twenty minutes, she was done.

Denise read the petition to the workers. They all cheered. Denise asked the workers to sign the petition and they all did.

One worker walked up to Denise and said, "Paid Sick Days Superwoman, thank you for your help. The owner is in her office. We've asked her to come out and meet with us. She'll be here in a couple of minutes."

"That's great," said Denise.

When the owner came out into the room, one of the workers handed her the petition. The owner quickly read it. She then looked at Paid Sick Days Superwoman.

"I'm a former law school professor. Your petition is extremely well written. Your arguments are succinct. This is probably the best petition that I've ever read," said the owner.

Denise smiled and said, "Thank you for your kind words."

"You're welcome. After reading your petition, I've decided that I will enact a policy that provides all my workers with paid sick days. This policy is effective today."

The workers cheered. In unison, they said, "Paid Sick Days Superwoman is our hero."

"Thank you," said Denise.

"Is there anything we can do for you?" asked one of the workers.

"Yes, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. And tell your friends and family about the petition.

"We will do that," the workers replied in unison.

Sick School Bus Driver Vomits While Driving Bus

The Hartford Advocate recently published an article, "Sick and Fired: Labor's push to mandate paid sick days — and the business lobby's slightly inaccurate facts." The article notes that Connecticut workers are fighting to pass statewide paid sick days legislation. The article depicts the plight of a school bus driver who vomited while she was driving her bus because she couldn't afford to stay home.

The article states in part:

Consider Marie's story, then ask yourself if you'd want her driving your kids to school, rather than staying home sick in bed.

Marie shuttles Bridgeport children to schools in leafy suburbs like Trumbull and Easton. Marie (whose real name we're withholding because she fears retaliation for speaking out against her employer) works through colds, fevers and flu because if she calls out sick, she doesn't get paid. Without the pay, she can't afford her blood pressure medication, and without the medication, she sometimes gets too sick to work.

Last year, she went to work so sick she had to pull her school bus over and vomit on the side of the road — twice. Marie had already missed several half-days due to illness. Any more, her employer told her, and she'd be out of a job.

To read more, click here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Senior Citizen Goes to Work Sick

Daislyn is a senior citizen. She works part-time because she doesn't receive social security. Daislyn works for a nonprofit that doesn't provide paid sick days. Daislyn has gone to work sick because she can't afford to stay home.

Watch her story.

Help workers like Daislyn by signing the petition for paid sick days for California workers.

Worker Had to Choose Between Feeding Her Son and Going to Work Sick

Sylvia is a mother and a grandmother. Sylvia tells her story about working for an employer that did not provide paid sick days. If she stayed home sick, she did not get paid. Sylvia had to choose between feeding her son and going to work sick.

Watch her story.

Help workers like Sylvia by signing the petition for paid sick days for California workers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Paid Sick Days Superwoman Helps Ice Cream Workers

Denise was at home reading the latest news on the Internet. She saw an article that caught her eye.

Breaking News: Ice Cream Workers Seek Paid Sick Days Superwoman's Help

Anonymous sources have given us confidential information about an ice cream store in Northern California. Our sources have refused to give the name and specific location of the ice cream store because they fear retaliation.

There are currently over twenty-five workers who work for this ice cream store. Workers enjoy serving ice cream to children and their families.

Some workers have worked for the ice cream store as long as three years. Yet, not one worker receives paid sick days. Because workers do not make a lot of money, they are forced to go to work sick. This endangers the health of the children that they serve.

Workers do not know how to obtain paid sick days. They heard that there is a new superhero in California and her name is Paid Sick Days Superwoman. Last week, she helped a group of workers in San Jose obtain paid sick days.

The workers want to contact her but do not know how to find her. The new superhero doesn't have a Web site or an e-mail address.

At this time, the workers are asking that if anyone knows how to contact Paid Sick Days Superwoman, he or she should provide this information to them immediately. The spokesperson for the workers can be reached at the following special phone number that they have set up. The phone number is . . .

Denise stopped reading. She took her cell phone from her pocket and called the phone number.

"Hello," a woman answered.

"I read your article about needing help," said Denise.

"Do you know how to contact Paid Sick Days Superwoman?" the woman asked.

"I'm her," answered Denise.

"That's great," the woman said in an excited voice. "My name is Eileen and we really need your help with drafting a petition for paid sick days. None of us are good writers and we heard that you are really good."

"I can help you with that," said Denise. "Just give me the details of what you want."

Eileen explained the workers' predicament and provided Denise with the name and address of the company.

"Great," said Denise, "I can meet you in an hour with the petition."

"Fantastic," said Eileen. "I look forward to meeting you."

Denise said good-bye and hung up the phone. She then drafted a petition. After thirty minutes, she was done. Denise printed a copy and put it in her purse.

Denise went into her closet and pulled out her superhero outfit. It was a purple t-shirt with Paid Sick Days Superwoman emblazoned on it and matching purple leggings. Denise put on her outfit along with a wig and wire-brimmed glasses. Now, she was ready for action.

Denise walked out her apartment, locked the door and walked to her car. She drove to the ice cream store. Denise parked her car and walked to the store. When she was at the door, a woman greeted her. The woman beckoned her to come inside the store.

"Hello, I'm Eileen," said the woman. "We spoke on the phone."

"I have the petition," said Denise. She handed the petition to Eileen.

Eileen put on her glasses and read the petition. "This is just what we want," said Eileen. "I'll ask the workers to sign it."

"Great," said Denise.

"Would you like any ice cream?" asked Eileen.

"I'd like a scoop of rocky road ice cream in a cup," said Denise.

"One scoop coming up and it's on the house," said Eileen. Eileen then gave Denise a small cup of ice cream.

"Thank you," said Denise.

"I'm going to talk to the workers now," said Eileen.

Denise ate her ice cream. Denise patted her tummy. The ice cream was the best rocky road ice cream that she had eaten in her life.

A few minutes later, Eileen was back with the petition. "Everyone has signed it," said Eileen.

"That's great," said Denise.

"The owner will be here in twenty minutes," said Eileen. "Can you stay until she comes?"

"Sure," said Denise.

Denise then busied herself by reading a poster about different ice cream flavors. The poster was very interesting.

Twenty minutes later, the owner walked into the store. Eileen was behind the counter serving ice cream to a group of first graders.

The owner glanced at Denise and said, "I know who you are. My friends told me about you. Last week, you were in San Jose."

"Yes, I'm Paid Sick Days Superwoman," said Denise.

"What do you want?" asked the owner.

"All the workers have signed a petition requesting paid sick days," Denise replied. Denise then gave her the petition.

The owner read the petition. "Before I opened the shop, I was an English teacher at a community college for twenty years. Your writing is superb," said the owner.

"Thank you," said Denise in a meek voice.

"Your arguments for paid sick days make a lot of sense. A lot of our customers are young children. We certainly don't want to get them sick. It's a bad for business and it's bad for the children. Based on your petition, I will grant my workers paid sick days."

Denise smiled and said, "That's fantastic news."

Denise then walked to the counter with the owner by her side. Eileen had just finished serving all the first graders. Denise told her about the owner's new policy.

"That's great," said Eileen. "Thank you for your help. Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes, please tell everyone you know to sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," said Denise.

"I will do that," said Eileen.

"I will tell all my friends also," said the owner.

College Student Goes to Work Sick

Jasmine is 19 years old and a full time student at Cal State University, Long Beach. She also works to help pay for her schooling.

Jasmine does not have paid sick days. With the California State University budget cuts, she cannot afford to take time off from work. Jasmine needs to work all her hours.

Over the past month, Jasmine has been sick several times. As a result, she was forced to go to work sick.

Jasmine like many other college students needs paid sick days. To help workers like Jasmine, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Together, we can make a difference in workers' lives.

Worker Has No Paid Sick Days After Eight Years

Jesenia lives and works in Southern California. She is 26 years old and the mother of four children. She is happily married and has been with her husband Victor for six years. Although Jesenia has a wonderful family, she doesn’t have a wonderful job.

Jesenia has worked for the same employer for the past eight years. She makes only $8.50 per hour. Jesenia works full time Monday through Friday packing boxes.

Despite working for the same employer for eight years, Jesenia has no paid sick days. When anyone in her family gets sick, she has to take time off from work. This is a hardship for Jesenia and her family. Because when she takes time off from work, this means less money for Jesenia and her family.

Jesenia cannot stress enough how important paid sick days is to her family and her. She is just one of the many people suffering the hardship of choosing between her job and her family.

To help workers like Jesenia, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Every signature will make a difference.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Adventures of Paid Sick Days Superwoman

Denise sat alone in her apartment in San Jose on a Friday night. She couldn't remember the last time she had gone out and had fun. Denise flipped on her TV and surfed the stations. To Denise's disappointment, there was nothing interesting on TV.

Denise then heard a loud knock at her door. She opened her door. A woman with a long purple sweater and black leggings held a clipboard in her left hand and a bag in her right hand.

Denise asked, "How can help you?"

"Are you Denise?" the woman asked.

"Yes, I am," Denise replied.

"You've been recruited," said the woman.

"Recruited for what?" asked Denise.

"You will be our paid sick days superwoman," said the woman. "You will be a superhero to workers throughout California."

"I think you have made a mistake," said Denise. "I don't have any super powers."

"You have super powers," said the woman.

"No I don't," Denise protested, "I can't go faster than a speeding bullet. I can't climb tall buildings and I can't fly."

"But you have the gift of writing," said the woman.

"Writing is not a super power," said Denise.
"Most people can't write these days," said the woman. "The committee saw samples of your writing and was thoroughly impressed."

"Thank you but I still don't think I qualify," said Denise.

"Yes, you do," said the woman. "You've worked for nonprofits your entire career. You've been involved with community groups. We need someone who cares about making a difference. So you're a great fit."

"Okay," said Denise. "So what's the first step?"

The woman pulled an outfit from her bag and handed it to Denise. "First, you'll need to change into this."

Denise went to her bathroom and changed. She looked at herself in the mirror. Her superhero costume fit perfectly. It was a purple t-shirt with Paid Sick Days Superwoman emblazoned on the front. Matching the t-shirt was a pair of purple leggings.

Denise walked out the bathroom and modeled the outfit.

"You look great," said the woman. "No one can know your real identity. So you'll need to wear a wig and glasses as well."

The woman handed Denise a wig and glasses and Denise put them on. She definitely looked a lot different.

"Now what?" asked Denise.

"There's a group of San Jose workers who need help tonight," said the woman.

"Will you go with me?" asked Denise.

"No, you are a superhero and you work alone," said the woman. She then wrote down an address and handed it to Denise.

"I'll leave now," said Denise.
"Good," said the woman.

Denise said good-bye to the woman, locked her apartment door and walked to her car. She got into her car and drove to the restaurant where the workers worked.

When she arrived at the restaurant, she was greeted by the hostess. The hostess exclaimed, "You must be paid sick days superwoman. We heard that you were coming."

Denise nodded her head. "How can I help you?" Denise asked.

"There are sick workers who are working tonight. They can't go home because they won't get paid," said the hostess.

"That's terrible," said Denise. She then glanced around the restaurant. She saw a worker sneeze. Another looked very pale and tired. And a third had a runny nose.

"Please help us by writing a petition," said the hostess. The hostess then handed Denise a pad with a pen.

Denise began drafting a petition and within a few minutes, she was done. She handed the petition to the hostess. "I think this covers what you need."

The hostess read the petition and said, "This is perfect. I'll get all the workers to sign it."

The hostess talked to the workers. Every worker signed the petition. The hostess then showed Denise their signatures.

"This is great," said Denise. "You should give this to the owner."

"We'll do that right now," said the hostess. "Can you go with us?"

"Sure," said Denise.

The hostess along with two workers and Denise walked to the boss's office. They handed the boss the petition.

The boss read the petition and put her hand on her chin. She looked at Denise and said, "You must be the author of the petition. This is excellent writing. You made an excellent point about protecting our customers from sick workers."

Denise nodded her head. "Yes, it's important that we don't infect the customers with the workers' illnesses."

"You're absolutely correct," said the boss. "Based on the petition, I will provide our workers with paid sick days."

"Thank you," said the hostess.

The boss then turned to the hostess and said, "Please tell the workers who are sick to go home and get well. We will pay them for their time off."

"I will do this now," said the hostess. The hostess along with the two workers left the boss's office.

The boss turned to Denise and said, "Is there anything else I can do?

"Please tell everyone you know to sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," answered Denise. "Every signature will make a difference."

"I will do that," said the boss.

North Carolina Workers Fight for Paid Sick Days

In North Carolina, workers are fighting to pass paid sick days legislation. Louisa Warren, who is a policy advocate for the North Carolina Justice Center, recently wrote an opinion-editorial titled "Paid sick time a benefit for all" for the Fayetteville Observer.

Her article states in part:

"Everybody has a story to tell about paid sick days. And it’s no surprise because nearly half of North Carolina’s workers — 1.6 million — lack paid sick days. Without access to paid sick time, workers are faced with the difficult choice between losing a day’s pay (or possibly their jobs) or going to work sick. Especially in today’s economy, workers are more often choosing to come into the workplace with their sickness in tow."

To read more, click here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Girl Private Eye and the Search for Paid Sick Days

Jessica was nine years old and she loved to dress up as a private eye. She had on her favorite green trench coat with a dark gray hat. In her right hand, Jessica held a magnifying glass. She was looking to investigate her next case in San Jose.

Jessica was in her front yard. She peered down at the sidewalk. There was nothing special about it. She then looked up and saw her best friend Jimmy. He had tears in his eyes.

Jessica put her magnifying glass in her pocket and gave Jimmy a hug. Jessica asked, "What's wrong?"

"My mom needs paid sick days," replied Jimmy.

"Why?" asked Jessica. "The last time I saw your mom, she looked great."

"She needs paid sick days to take care of my nana who has cancer," replied Jimmy.

"Your mom should ask for time off from her job," said Jessica.

"If my mom takes time off, she won't get paid," replied Jimmy. "My mom doesn't make a lot of money. We need every dollar so she can pay the bills."

"Maybe we should search for paid sick days," said Jessica.

"How?" asked Jimmy.

Jessica pulled out her magnifying glass from her pocket and stared at the ground for a few seconds. She then picked up a couple letters that she found.

"Oh my gosh," Jessica exclaimed. "I've found some clues."

"What are they?" Jimmy asked.

"They are the letters s and f," said Jessica. "I think they may stand for something."

"Really like what?" Jimmy asked.

"The letters are somehow related to paid sick days," replied Jessica. "Where do they have paid sick days?"

"I heard on the radio that there's a big city in the Bay Area that has paid sick days," said Jimmy. "But I can't remember its name."

"The letters are s and f. So that must be San Francisco," said Jessica.

"You're right," said Jimmy.

Jimmy then looked on the ground and found a small toy that looked like a building.

Jessica exclaimed, "Hey, that's a toy White House."

"The White House is in Washington, D.C.," said Jimmy.

"They probably have paid sick days there also," said Jessica.

"That's nice," said Jimmy. "But how are we going to find paid sick days for my mom?"

Jessica peered through her magnifying glass again and looked at the ground. She saw a paper with lots of writing on it.

"What is it?" asked Jimmy.

"It's a handwritten note that gives a special formula for getting paid sick days for your mom," said Jessica. "It says clap your hands twice, touch your nose once and point your finger in your air. You then should say I want paid sick days for my mom four times."

Jimmy followed the instructions and said the chant four times. "Now what?" Jimmy asked.

"Turn around," Jessica said. "I just saw your mom walking down the street from your house."

Jimmy turned and greeted his mother. Jimmy's mother spoke, "My boss just called me and gave me paid sick days. Now, I can take time off from work and take care of your grandmother while she's getting treatment for her cancer."

"Mom, that's great news," Jimmy said. "Jessica helped us get paid sick days."

Jimmy's mom gave Jessica a great big hug and said, "Thank you for your help. Is there anything we can do for you?"

"Yes," replied Jessica. "Please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. And tell all the grown-ups you know to sign the petition."

"I will do that," replied Jimmy's mother.

More Workers' Comments on Paid Sick Days

In February, we posted workers' comments on paid sick days. Since that time, we've received more great comments. They include:

"No one should have to decide to work even though they are ill. I know one woman who became homeless even though she had a job. Insanity! The fear of abuse is greatly misplaced."

"I have two part-time jobs. I had the flu in December. I missed work. I also do not get paid for holidays off so I fell behind I my bills. I have not been able to catch up."

"Paid sick days saved us during my cancer treatment. . ."

If you haven't signed the petition for paid sick days for California workers, please sign it. If you have signed the petition, please tell your friends and family members in California to sign the petition. Together, we can make a difference in workers' lives.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Single Mom Needs Paid Sick Days

Linda is a single mother of two teenagers. Linda's father is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from diabetes. Linda works in southern California as a security guard. Her job doesn't pay a lot of money. Unfortunately, Linda's job doesn't provide paid sick days.

Linda can't afford to take time off when her kids are sick or when her father needs to go to the hospital. Linda wishes that she had paid sick days so that she could take care of her children and her father when they are sick. Linda's wish is very simple.

You make a difference in Linda's life by signing the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Help spread the word about the petition by telling your friends and family members in California.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Easter Bunny and Paid Sick Days

Jenna was a student at a community college in Salinas where she was taking a class in community organizing. She also was interning at an Easter egg farm.

Jenna enjoyed working with the workers on the farm and taking care of the Easter bunnies. Jenna smiled while the Easter bunnies painted eggs bright colors and made baskets. Jenna then heard a loud sneeze. She looked up and saw a bunny with a runny nose.

"You're sick," said Jenna. "You should go home and get some rest."

The bunny shook her head and sneezed again. "I can't go home," cried the bunny.

"Why not?" asked Jenna.

"I can't afford to take time off," said the bunny.

"You don't have any bills," said Jenna.

"Yes, I do," said the bunny. "I have my own place and I have to pay rent and buy my food."

"Don't you have paid sick days?" asked Jenna.

"When I worked in San Francisco, I had paid sick days," answered the bunny. "But I had to move a few months ago."

"Why?" asked Jenna.

"My grandmother lives in Salinas. She got sick and she needed someone to take care of her," answered the bunny.

"Well, it's good that you're taking care of your grandmother," said Jenna. "But you really need to take care of yourself."

"I told you before that I can't," said the bunny. "Besides I need to help with painting the eggs and making baskets."

"If you do that, you'll get the kids sick," said Jenna.

"That's a good point," said the bunny. "But I don't know what to do."

"Maybe we can talk to the head bunny," said Jenna.

"But she's busy," said the bunny. "She probably doesn't have time to talk."

"I'll talk to her," said Jenna. "I'll be back in a few minutes."

Jenna then left. The bunny blew her nose a few times and closed her eyes.

When the bunny opened her eyes, she saw Jenna who had a big smile on her face.

"Great news," said Jenna. "The head bunny has agreed to give you paid sick days. She doesn't want you to get the kids sick. So you can go home now and get some rest."

"Thank you for your help," said the bunny. "I'm going to rest and hopefully I'll be better before Easter."

"That's great," said Jenna.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" asked the bunny.

"When you get better, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers."

"I will do that," replied the bunny.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hansel and Gretel and Paid Sick Days

Vanessa recently had been promoted to vice president of her company. Times were good. Vanessa was making a lot of money and she had good benefits, which included paid sick days.

Vanessa decided to visit her favorite deli in downtown Yosemite for lunch. When she ordered a sandwich, she noticed that the sandwich maker was sniffling. Vanessa's stomach turned when the worker wiped his nose with his bare hand.

Vanessa wanted to tell the worker to go home. Instead, she said nothing. When the worker handed her the sandwich, Vanessa paid for it. She then walked out of the deli.

When Vanessa saw a nearby trash can, she threw the sandwich away. She then felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around and saw a young woman and man.

The young woman asked, "Why did you throw away a perfectly good sandwich?"

"Young lady, the worker who made my sandwich was sick," replied Vanessa. "There's no way I'm going to eat a sandwich made by a sick worker."

"Why didn't you say anything when you were in the deli?" asked the young man.

"Young man, because I didn't want to hurt the worker's feelings," replied Vanessa. "I just won't go back there anymore for lunch."

"Maybe you should have asked the worker why he was working sick," said the young woman.

"Young lady, I don't have time to ask those kinds of questions," said Vanessa. "I have a lot more important things to do in life."

"Like what?" asked the young man.

"Who are you? The food police?" asked Vanessa.

"No, we're Hansel and Gretel," replied the young man and young woman in unison.

"You're kidding right," said Vanessa. "Hansel and Gretel is a fairy tale."

"We're really Hansel and Gretel," said the young man and young woman together. "However, we've expanded our roles from our fairy tale days. Right now, we're on a special assignment."

"What's your assignment?" asked Vanessa.

"We're helping workers obtain paid sick days," said Gretel.

"What does have to do with me?" asked Vanessa. "I have paid sick days and I'm doing quite well."

"Did you always have paid sick days?" asked Hansel.

"I've been working at this job for about five years and I've had paid sick days since the day I started," said Vanessa.

"What about your last job?" asked Gretel.

"We didn't have paid sick days," said Vanessa. "A few years ago, I had the flu where I could barely move. I had to go to work or I wouldn't be able to pay my rent. Well, I went to work and I got really sick. I ended up in the hospital and I couldn't work for about three weeks. I lost my apartment and I had to sleep on a friend's couch for about three months until I was able to get my money together for a new place."

"So you've gone through hard times," said Hansel.

"Yes, I have," said Vanessa.

"The deli worker is going through a hard time also," said Gretel. "He can't afford to take time off from work."

"Now I understand why he went to work today," said Vanessa. "But there has to be a way to help him."

"There is," said Hansel. "We are gathering signatures for a petition for paid sick days for California workers. If you sign the petition, you'll help the six million California workers who lack paid sick days."

"I'll sign the petition," said Vanessa. "Is there anything else I can do?"

"Yes," answered Gretel. "Tell everyone about the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Together we can a difference."

Worker Can't Afford to Recover from Severe Accident

Hilda lives in Los Angeles and works at job that doesn't have paid sick days. Hilda recently was injured in a severe car accident. Hilda can't afford to take time off from work to recover. Watch her story.

Make a difference in workers' lives. Sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Three Little Pigs and Paid Sick Days

After a year of looking for work, Sarah finally found a job at a grocery store in Oakland. The job didn't pay a lot and it had no benefits. However, with the recession, Sarah didn't have a lot of choices. Her unemployment had run out a month ago and she had less than $100 in the bank.

On her first day of work, Sarah noticed that several of her co-workers were sick. Two of the workers sneezed while they were loading vegetables in bins. Another worker wiped his nose while he was ringing up customers' purchases.

On her break, Sarah went into the bathroom. When she looked in the mirror, she saw three pigs. Because Sarah thought she was seeing things, she ignored the pigs.

The pigs spoke, "Hello, we're the three little pigs."

"Isn't the three little pigs a fairy story?" Sarah asked.

"Back in the old days, we were a fairy tale," replied the three little pigs. "However, since the recession we've been community organizers. We help workers."

"That's nice," said Sarah. "But I don't need help."

"What about your co-workers?" asked the three little pigs.

"Some of them are sick," said Sarah. "They should just go home and get some rest."

"Do they get paid if they go home?" asked the three little pigs.

"No, we don't have benefits," said Sarah. "At my old job I had paid sick days. Times were good but then I got laid off. I had to take this job because I couldn't find anything else."

"That's too bad," said the three little pigs.

"Yeah I know," said Sarah. "I don't understand why we don't have paid sick days. We are a grocery store and our workers should be healthy. When workers come to work sick, they can infect the customers and their families with their illnesses."

"That's right," said the three little pigs. "Plus what do you think happens when a customer sees a sick worker?"

"They probably won't want to come back," replied Sarah.

"So not having paid sick days is not only a health hazard but it's bad for business," said the three little pigs.

"You're right," said Sarah. "How do we get paid sick days?"

"Clap your hands three times and say I want paid sick days for my co-workers," said the three little pigs.

Sarah clapped her hands and said the chant. "Now what?" asked Sarah.

"Turn around and look on the bathroom wall," said the three little pigs.

"It's a memo," said Sarah. "The owner said we now have paid sick days because she had too many complaints about sick workers. In fact, one customer stopped shopping at the store after she caught the flu from a sick worker."

"Now, your co-workers can go home and get some rest," said the three little pigs.

"That's great," said Sarah. "Thank you for helping out my co-workers."

"You're welcome," said the three little pigs.

"Is there anything I can do?" asked Sarah.

"Yes, sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," said the three little pigs.

"I'll will and I will tell my co-workers and friends about the petition," said Sarah.

Worker Fired for Being Sick

A worker was recently fired for being sick. Consider the plight of Lupe who lives in San Jose and is a single low-income mother. Lupe worked for a major company in Silicon Valley part-time five days a week on a regular schedule. She loaded up trucks with packages and other mail in the early hours of the morning.

Lupe didn't have paid sick days at her job. When she got sick and had to undergo emergency gall bladder surgery, she missed work for a week. Despite the fact that her mother notified Lupe's employer about her illness, her employer fired her. Lupe is now looking for a new job.

Workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Sick days should be a right and not a privilege. Sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Goblin and Paid Sick Days

For the past year, Megan had worked as a food service worker at a cafeteria in downtown San Jose. Her job didn't pay a lot. However, Megan liked serving the public. She also was able to go to school part-time, because her job had flexible hours.

It was Saturday night and Megan was studying at home for a mid-term. She decided to take a break from studying and get a snack at the cafeteria. She put on her coat and walked quickly. When she was less than a block away from the cafeteria, a goblin stopped her.

"I'm lost," said the goblin, "Can you help me?"

"You're a goblin. I thought that goblins only come out during Halloween," said Megan.

"You're right," replied the goblin. "But I got on this time machine and hit the wrong button. Now, I'm here and I need to find a way to get back to Halloween."

"Well, I don't know anything about time machines," said Megan. "So I can't help you."

"That's okay," said the goblin. "Maybe we could pretend it's Halloween."

"I don't have time," said Megan. "I need to get a snack from where I work and go back to studying."

"Before you go, I need to talk to you about something," said the goblin.

"What?" Megan asked.

"Paid sick days," said the goblin.

"You're goblin. Why do you care about paid sick days?" asked Megan.

"All goblins are entitled to paid sick days," said the goblin. "It's part of our constitution. When we heard that six million California workers didn't have paid sick days, we were shocked. If goblins have paid sick days, so should California workers."

"That makes sense to me," said Megan.

"Do you have paid sick days?" asked the goblin.

"At my job, we don't have paid sick days," replied Megan.

"Do you think that's right?" asked the goblin.

"Of course not," replied Megan. "Three months ago, my co-worker Suzie went to work sick with flu. Suzie is a single mom with a young daughter and really needed to work. The owner told her to go home and wouldn't pay her for her time off. It took a week for Suzie to get well. Suzie lost her apartment because she couldn't pay the rent. She and her daughter are now living in a homeless shelter."

"That's horrible," said the goblin.

"Yeah, I know," said Megan. "But a lot of jobs don't have paid sick days. There's nothing that we can do."

"There is something that you can do," said the goblin. "There's a petition for paid sick days for California workers. You should sign it and tell Suzie and your other co-workers to sign it as well"

"I will sign the petition," said Megan. "And I'll tell everyone. I hope you find your way back to Halloween."

"If I don't, I'll keep telling workers about the paid sick days petition."

"Great," said Megan. "See you later."

Minnesota Workers Fight for Paid Sick Days

In Minnesota, workers are fighting to pass paid sick days legislation. On March 15, Workday Minnesota published an article on this issue. According to its article, "a Minnesota House committee has approved legislation that would provide all Minnesota workers with paid sick days."

The article further cited the special plight of working women who lack paid sick days.

In a system that forces workers to choose between their health and the health of their families and their job, women tend to be disproportionately affected. One testifier, Delinia Parris, knew first hand the grave consequences of current labor practices.

At one point there were eight days when my kids needed me, my daughter had a nervous breakdown, my son got beat up at school and my other son was diagnosed with autism. I was also experiencing health problems and couldn’t go to work and it ended up costing me my job and my apartment,” Parris explained.
Missing a week of work spelled disaster for her family, Parris said. “For a while there my family was homeless just because I couldn’t miss a week of work. People need to know that not every family has a mom and a dad. There are a lot of single mothers, like myself, that have to make it on their own.”

Unfortunately Parris’ story is not uncommon. According to a recent study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, over 22 million women in the United States work without paid sick leave.

To read more, click here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Magic Wand and Paid Sick Days

Suzy worked as a cashier at a pet store in San Jose. She had a wad of tissue in her left hand. Her nose was runny and her eyes were red. Her voice was hoarse from coughing.

Her co-worker Jenny tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Suzy, you should go home. If you stay here, you'll get our customers and the animals sick."

"I can't go home," Suzy cried. "I was already off Monday and Tuesday. If I take off today, I won't be able to pay the childcare bill for my daughter Jasmine. And if I don't have childcare, I'll lose my job."

"Can't you ask your folks for help?" Jenny asked.

"Both of my parents are on disability. So they have no money," Suzy replied.

"What about Jasmine's father?" Jenny asked.

"He's two years behind in paid child support. So I don't have a choice about working," said Suzy.

"Yes, you do," said Jenny.

"No, I don't," said Suzy while she wiped her nose with a tissue.

"I have a magic wand," said Jenny while pulling out a magic wand from her bag. "You can make a wish and it will be granted."

"I wish that I never would have to work again," said Suzy.

"Sorry, the wand can't grant that wish," said Jenny. "I got it at a recession sale and it has limited powers."

"What can I wish for?" Suzy asked while coughing.

"Paid sick days," replied Jenny.

"I wish for paid sick days," said Suzy.

Jenny twirled the magic wand and said a few magic words. She then turned to Suzy and said,
"Your wish is granted."

"Really?" asked Suzy.

"Check your e-mail," said Jenny.

Next to Suzy's cash register was the pet store's computer. She logged in and checked her company e-mail. Suzy saw an e-mail from corporate headquarters. It said the following:

Effective today, we are implementing a paid sick day policy. If you are sick, please go home. We will pay you for your time off. We want our workers to be healthy because we serve pet owners and their pets.

"Jenny, thank you for your help," said Suzy. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers and tell everyone you know about the petition," replied Jenny.

"I will do that," said Suzy.

Fifteen States Introduce Paid Sick Days Legislation

The Progressive States Network recently wrote an excellent article about paid sick days legislation. In its article, the Progressive States Network stated:

"Fifteen states have introduced paid sick days legislation to ensure that workers are able to regain their health without losing pay, or even worse, their jobs. These are based on model policies that have already passed in San Francisco, CA, Milwaukee, WI and Washington, DC."

The Progressive States Network further noted:

"During fragile economic times, workers are too often forced to choose between their health, or the health of their kids, and maintaining a paycheck. Paid sick days legislation helps families avoid that tradeoff, while increasing workplace productivity by ensuring that workers don’t have to work while sick, thereby decreasing the spread of disease to coworkers."

To read more, click here.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Popcorn Monster and Paid Sick Days

It was a rainy day. The popcorn monster was sitting at the kitchen table with a bag of cheddar cheese popcorn. She rubbed her tummy. She felt good.

The popcorn monster's cell phone beeped. She looked at her cell phone. It had the following text message:

Emergency: Popcorn workers are sick. They need your help at the store.

The popcorn monster jumped into her car and drove to the popcorn store. When the popcorn monster arrived, the store manager greeted her.

"You're a monster," said the manager. "We can't let you in here."

"Sir, I am one of your biggest customers," said the popcorn monster. "I eat your cheddar cheese popcorn every single hour of the week. I have thousands of bags at my house."

"I've never heard of a monster that eats popcorn," said the manager. "I thought you guys were into scaring people and doing bad things."

"That's just bad press that we've gotten over the centuries," said the popcorn monster. "In reality, we are very caring and gentle. We just hired a new PR firm. Next month, we'll be running ads to promote the virtues of monsters on the Internet, TV and radio."

"What's your campaign slogan?" asked the manager.

"Monsters are good for workers," replied the popcorn monster.

"Why are you here?" asked the manager.

"I received a message that the workers needed my help," replied the popcorn monster. "They apparently are sick."

"Susan must have sent you the message," said the manager. "She has been circulating a petition for paid sick days for the workers."

"What's wrong with that?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Ma'am, we can't afford it, " replied the manager.

"What happens when your workers get sick?" asked the popcorn monster.

"A lot of them come to work," said the manager. "I tell them not to sneeze in the popcorn but sometimes they do."

"That's just nasty," said the popcorn monster in a disgusted tone. "Do your customers complain?"

"Oh my goodness, we've gotten a lot of customer complaints," replied the manager. "Some of our best customers have stopped coming to the store."

"Hasn't that hurt your business?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Yeah, they now are patronizing a popcorn store in San Francisco that has paid sick days for its workers," replied the manager.

"So couldn't you win back some of your customers if you had paid sick days for workers?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Yes," said the manager.

"And with more customers, you would make more money, right?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Yes," replied the manager.

"So doesn't it make sense to provide paid sick days?" asked the popcorn monster.

"You're right," replied the manager. "If our workplace is healthy, customers will want to patronize our store. So it makes sense."

"Good," said the popcorn monster. "So what are you going to do?"

"I will send an e-mail to our workers along with our current customers and customers who've left us about our new policy on paid sick days," replied the manager.

"That's great," said the popcorn monster. "There's one more thing you can do."

"What's that?" asked the manager.

"Tell everyone you know to sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," replied the popcorn manager.

"I will," said the manager.

Russia and Paid Sick Days

Bay Area Chapter 9to5 board member Dan DeNardo wrote a great story about a Russian immigrant's perspective on paid sick days.

Jenna came from Russia about ten years ago. She and I talked about this subject.

She still can't understand how employers would rather have sick employees come to work infecting many others. And wondering why the Productivity is down? Duh...

In Russia, you get x number of sick days per the number of years you have worked there. So after the first six months, you get 1 day. And it grows up to 10 days maximum.

Especially in these economic tough times, we need to get more productivity, reduce (true) excessive costs (like daily catered executive luncheons), go green and get the most out of every dollar spent in business.

A big thank you to Dan for his awesome story. If you haven't signed the petition for paid sick days for California workers, please do it now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Ghost and Paid Sick Days

It was Friday afternoon. Jenny's night crew would arrive in the next thirty minutes. Business was going well at her restaurant in Sunnyvale. Profits were up and the workers seemed to like their work. With tips, the workers made a decent wage. Jenny didn't provide her workers with paid sick days because she figured they didn't need them.

Jenny went into the bathroom to wash her hands. Suddenly the lights went out. When she looked up, she saw a ghost.

"You can't be real," said Jenny. "My eyes must be playing tricks on me."

"Child, your eyes are fine," said the ghost.

"Who are you?" asked Jenny.

"Child, I can't believe you don't know who I am," said the ghost.

"Would you stop calling me child. I'm grown," said Jenny.

"I'm old enough to be your great-great-great grandma. So if I want to call you child, I can." replied the ghost.

"Wow," said Jenny. "Why are you here?"

"I am the ghost of no paid sick days."

"What does that mean?" asked Jenny.

"I am going to show you what happens when your workers lack paid sick days," said the ghost.

"Why?" asked Jenny.

"Because you have a worker who is sick," said the ghost.

"No, I don't," said Jenny.

"Yes, you do," said the ghost. "We are going to visit her now. Just close your eyes for a minute."

Jenny closed her eyes. When the ghost told her to open her eyes, she did.

They were outside a worker's apartment. They looked inside.

"That's Raquel," said Jenny.

Raquel was sneezing. Her eyes were red and her nose was running.

"Oh my gosh," said Jenny. "She looks horrible."

They watched Raquel take cough medicine and put medication in her eyes.

Raquel picked up her cell phone and punched in a number. The ghost and Jenny heard Raquel tell someone that she was going to work.

Jenny looked at the ghost and said, "Raquel should stay home."

The ghost pointed to a pile of bills on Raquel's desk. "Child, she can't stay home. If she does, she won't be able to pay her electric bill."

The ghost pointed to a notice that said the following:

Notice to shut off electricity: If you don't pay this bill in three days, we will be forced to shut off your electricity.

"It's not my problem that she's late on her bill," said Jenny. "She should manage her money better."

"Child, that's so mean." said the ghost. "Remember Raquel was out last month for a few days because her daughter was in the hospital?"

"Yes," replied Jenny.

"That caused her to get behind in her electric bill," said the ghost. "If she doesn't work today, they'll cut off her electricity."

"That's too bad," said Jenny.

"And if she comes to work, she'll get the customers sick and the other workers sick," said the ghost.

"That's true," said Jenny.

"Isn't Raquel your best food server?" asked the ghost.

"Yes," said Jenny.

"And hasn't she helped your business increase your profits by providing excellent service?" asked the ghost.

"Yes," answered Jenny.

"So she's an asset to your business, correct?" asked the ghost.

"Yes," replied Jenny.

"And don't all your workers do great work?" asked the ghost.

"Yes, I'm proud of my staff," said Jenny.

"You then need to provide paid sick days. It will keep the workplace healthy and keep the customers healthy. In the end, it's a win-win situation."

"That sounds good," said Jenny. "So what I should I do?"

"Call Raquel and tell her that you are providing your workers with paid sick days."

Jenny took her cell phone out of her purse and called Raquel. She told Raquel about the new paid sick day policy and told her to stay home. Raquel thanked her and agreed to stay home.

"Is there anything else I should do?" asked Jenny.

"We want to make paid sick days a standard for all California workplaces," said the ghost. "Please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers and tell all your friends and family in California about the petition."

"I will," said Jenny.

Connecticut Workers Fight to Pass Paid Sick Days Legislation

In Connecticut, workers are fighting to pass paid sick days. Last week, columnist Susan Campbell of the Hartford Courtant wrote an article, "The Cost Of Not Paying For Sick Days." Ms. Campbell's article cites a restaurant owner, who provides paid sick days to his workers.

Two years after he opened Pond House Cafe in Elizabeth Park, Louis Lista realized that it made good business sense to provide benefits for his workers.

That included health insurance, 401(k)s and paid vacation, personal and sick days in an industry notorious for its paucity of employee benefits. The economy was chugging along (this was eight years ago), and though Lista says it's a little tougher now, he is firm on providing benefits, and he wonders why other restaurants don't follow his lead.

Click here to read more.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Frog and Paid Sick Days

For the past year, Bryan had been working as a web designer at a Silicon Valley firm. Because his job had flexible hours, Bryan was able to work on his masters at San Jose State during the day. His job didn't pay a lot but Bryan liked it.

The only problem with his job was that it didn't have paid sick days. The last couple days Bryan had been sick with the flu. He had stayed home because he had felt awful.

However, he couldn't stay home any longer. If he did, he would be late on the rent. Bryan had been late twice in the past with rent. His landlord warned Bryan if he were late again, she would evict him.

Bryan stared out his bedroom window and saw a frog. The frog motioned Bryan to open the window. Bryan opened the window and let the frog come in.

"Dude, you look horrible," said the frog.

"Dude, you're a frog. You can't talk," said Bryan. "All those meds that I took are making me hallucinate."

"Dude, I used to be a prince and now I'm a frog," said the frog.

"Dude, if a hottie kisses you, will you turn back into a prince?" asked Bryan.

"Bro, that's so old school. Nobody turns into princes anymore. We're proud to be frogs and we fight for the rights of workers," said the frog.

"What kind of workers' rights?" asked Bryan.

"Dude, our top priority is paid sick days," said the frog.

"Dude, I need paid sick days," said Bryan. "I'm sick and I don't want to go work but I have to go. If I don't, I won't be able to pay my rent."

"Can't someone help you?" asked the frog.

"I've got no one," replied Bryan. "My grandmother died of breast cancer three years ago. All she left was a ton of bills because she had no health insurance. I never met my father. And my mother is somewhere in Florida. She's been in and out of rehab all of her life.

"Bro, that's why I'm here," said the frog. "I'll help you."

"How?" asked Bryan.

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

"Dude, that's not going to work," Brian whined. "I must be dreaming, because none of this is real."

"Dude, this is not a dream. Now, just do everything I say."

Bryan nodded his head. He then clapped his hands three times and said the chant.

"Now what?" asked Bryan.

"Check out your cell phone," said the frog.

Bryan pulled out his cell phone and looked at it. He had a text from his boss. The text read,

"Effective today, we are instituting a policy in which all workers will have paid sick days. Too many of our workers are coming to work sick. When they do, they infect the other workers. This decreases our productivity and in the end, it hurts our business.

"Dude, that's great," Bryan said. "I'm going to text my boss and let her know that I'm staying home today."

Bryan then sent a text to his boss.

"Dude, I'm glad that things worked out," said the frog.

"Thank you," said Bryan. "Is there anything that I can do for you?"

"Dude, sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," said the frog. "Tell your friends and co-workers about our petition."

"Sure," said Bryan.

Massachusetts Paid Sick Days News: Workers Deliver Valentine Cookies to Legislators

Last Friday, workers rallied at the state capitol in Massachusetts in their fight for paid sick days.

Valentine cookies were later delivered to state legislators with messages to support paid sick days.

The OpenMediaBoston's coverage of the event included pictures of the valentine cookies along with great quotes from the rally speakers.

Labor leaders and union members repeatedly stressed how essential paid sick leave is. Mike Fadel, Executive Vice President 1199 SEIU retold a story from a member of his union, who said, "I can barely afford to be well. I certainly can't afford to be sick." Bob Haynes, President of Massachusetts AFL-CIO said it was up to Massachusetts citizens and lawmakers to lay the foundation of paid sick leave for employees. "We are earning these sick days as working people. We're not giving anything away to anybody. We've earned them by going to work."

To read more, click here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Queen and Paid Sick Days

Veronica looked in the mirror. She looked awful. She had been sick over the weekend and she was not getting better. She looked at her watch. She would have to be at work in an hour. She wanted to stay home but couldn't.

Veronica got dressed and combed her long, thick hair and put it in a ponytail. She looked in the mirror again. She still looked terrible.

Her cell phone rang. Veronica picked it up.

“Hello, may I speak to Veronica?" a woman’s voice asked.

“This is Veronica,” replied Veronica.

“You sound horrible,” said the voice.

“I’m not feeling too well,” said Veronica.

“Are you going into work today?” asked the voice.

“Who are you?” Veronica asked.

“I am the Queen of Paid Sick Days. I know what happened over the weekend,” said the voice.

“I don’t believe you,” said Veronica.

“On Friday night, you went to your boyfriend’s cousin’s house for dinner. She made a pizza withmushrooms, bell peppers and onions. She forgot to wash her hands. So everybody got sick. You’ve had bad stomach cramps and you keep going to the bathroom every hour. The site of food makes you nauseous,” said the Queen.

“I believe you now,” said Veronica.

“I don’t understand why you’re going to work today,” said the Queen. “You’re still not well.”

“I don’t have a choice. Right now, I’m working at a job that barely pays my bills. If I miss one day of work, I won’t be able to pay my rent,” said Veronica.

“Can’t your boyfriend help you out?” asked the Queen.

“He’s been out of work for months and his unemployment will run out at the end of the month. When it does, he’s going to move into his parents’ house,” replied Veronica.

“Can’t your parents help you out?” asked the Queen.

“My mother had me late in life. She’s on social security and lives in senior housing. She doesn’t have any extra money. And my dad died of a heart attack a few years ago. So no one can help me,” replied Veronica.

“Seeing that things are bad for you, I can help you get paid sick days,” said the Queen.

“How?” asked Veronica.

“I am going to make a few calls. I'll call you back in a few minutes,” said the Queen.

“Okay,” said Veronica. She then hit the end button on her cell phone.

A few minutes later, Veronica’s cell phone rang. Veronica answered it.

“This is Queen of Paid Sick Days. I have your boss on the line,” said the Queen.

“Veronica, the Queen told me that you’re sick. You should stay home,” said Veronica’s boss. “And effective today, all of our workers are entitled to paid sick days.”

“Really?” asked Veronica.

“Yes,” replied Veronica’s boss. “It makes fiscal sense. Healthy workers are good workers and it will reduce turnover in the workplace. So again, you’ll get paid for staying home today. Just take care of yourself and get better.”

“Thank you very much,” said Veronica.

“I have to go now,” said Veronica’s boss.

“I’ll call back you in a minute,” said the Queen.

Veronica hit the end button on her cell phone. Within a minute, her cell phone rang. Veronica answered it.

“Now you can stay home and not worry about your rent,” said the Queen.

“Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it,” said Veronica.

“You’re welcome,” replied the Queen.

Is there anything I can do for you?” asked Veronica.

“When you get better, please sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers. Please tell your friends and family members in California about the petition,” said the Queen.

“I will," said Veronica. "And thank you again for everything.”

Why are Paid Sick Days an Important Policy Issue?

Sloan Work Family Research Network's Policy Mini-Brief Series-- Work-Family Information On: Paid Sick Days provides an excellent quote from Senator Mary Ann Handley (CT) on the importance of paid sick days.

"In terms of public health policy, paid sick days are a proactive deterrent to the unnecessary spread of germs, virus, and resulting illness, so in my view should be made available to employees wherever possible. From an economic standpoint, it seems an employer would willingly invest in paid leave for an employee who is ill rather than risk widespread infection throughout the workplace.”

To read more, click here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Mermaid and Paid Sick Days

Jennifer worked as a chef at a seafood restaurant in Venice Beach. Her grandmother's recipe for clam chowder had customers coming to the restaurant in droves. Last year, her clam chowder had won the "California Clam Chowder of the Year" award.

It was 4:00 on Friday and food server Marcia was sick. Marcia's eyes were red and her nose was runny. In one hour, the restaurant would open for its dinner shift.

Jennifer turned to Marcia and said, "Marcia, you look terrible. You should go home and rest."

"I can't," Marcia replied. "I'm a single parent and my ex-husband is behind paying child support. I didn't work two days this week. And I'm late with the rent. My landlord gave me until next week to come up with the money. If I don't work this weekend, I'll be kicked out of my apartment."

"That's horrible," said Jennifer. "Can't you get a loan?"

"Nobody I know has any money," Marcia replied. "Because of the recession, a lot of my friends are out of work."

"There has to be a way for you to stay home," said Jennifer.

A voice from the corner of the restaurant said, "There is a way."

Jennifer and Marcia turned around and saw a mermaid.

"Who are you?" Marcia asked.

"I am the queen mermaid of Venice Beach," replied the mermaid.

"Mermaids aren't real. We must be in some kind of dream," said Jennifer.

"Honey, I'm 100 percent real. There' s nothing artificial about me," said the mermaid.

"I believe you," said Marcia. "So how you can help me?"

"My job is help food workers obtain paid sick days," said the mermaid.

"Why food workers?" asked Marcia.

"Honey, because when you're sick, the customers are grossed out. It's bad for business and it's bad for everyone," replied the mermaid.

"You're right," said Marcia.

"Honey, I have a petition signed by a lot of customers," said the mermaid, "I'm giving it to the owner of the restaurant."

"I don't think a petition will do anything," said Marcia.

"Oh yes, it will," said the mermaid. "The customers have promised that they will not eat here until all the workers are granted paid sick days."

"Maybe the owner will listen," said Jennifer.

The mermaid then left. After a few minutes, the mermaid returned with a big smile on her face.

"The owner agreed to paid sick days," said the mermaid. "Marcia, you can go home now and get some rest. Don't come back until you're better."

"Thank you," said Marcia. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes," said the mermaid. "Jennifer and you should sign our petition for paid sick days for California workers. Please tell everyone about the petition, because every signature will make a difference."

"We will," said Jennifer and Marcia in unison.

Workers Comment on Paid Sick Days

Since late December 2008, we have been gathering signatures for our Paid Sick Days petition. We've received great comments on paid sick days from California workers.

"I am glad to have paid sick days, but I also believe in the absence of close-knit, self-sufficient, smaller communities, that paid sick days is a human right. Everyone should have them."

"Paid sick says is good for business, good for workers, good for everybody in California."

"Thank God, as a teacher with a strong union, paid sick days have been negotiated. Everyone should have the same!"

"It is my belief that obtaining paid sick days is a human right to receive fair and equal treatment."

If you haven't signed the petition for paid sick days, please sign it now. If you have signed, please send your friends and family in California an e-mail about the petition. Remember every signature will make a difference!