Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lobbying for the Healthy Families Act

Technology Intern Caitlin McCannon:

Caitlin in Saxby Chambliss' OfficeOn Thursday, I went with Mari, Cindia, and Asha to lobby at Senator Saxby Chambliss' office in support of the Healthy Families Act. I had never been lobbying before so this was certainly an experience- and one I was proud to be a part of. 37 million workers do not have any paid sick days. This figure includes 3 out of 4 low-wage workers, a statistic of which I am a part. I was able to share my own experience as an example of the need for paid sick days.

I work at a movie theater on nights and weekends. The schedule each week came to mean the difference between making the rent payment. . . or not. If you could not work the hours you were scheduled for any reason, those hours went to someone who could or a new hire came in to take your place on the rotation and you lost not only that night's pay but next week's as well. In this climate, being sick means more of a loss than most of the employees can afford.

The concessionist behind the counter scooping the popcorn and filling the drinks, the usher tearing tickets, even the box office cashier handing you your change, all have come in knowing they were sick but needing the shift, needing that pay. With the Healthy Families Act, working while sick would not be a necessity. Employees could earn paid time off to recuperate at home when sick. How many restaurant employees are coming into work sick because they cannot afford to call in? With swine flu spreading, measures like these protect not only employee health, but yours as well.

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