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.