Hello and welcome to Put People First Radio! Put People First Radio tells the untold stories of everyday people in Vermont, and reports on their struggles to organize for a government that puts people and the planet first.
In this episode, we’ll hear about the campaign for Paid Sick Days for all workers in Vermont. Stay tuned!
Many people are working to make sure that everyone in Vermont gets paid sick days at work. More than 100,000 workers in Vermont do not receive paid sick days because there is no law mandating that employers provide them. Workers often can not afford to take time off from work to take care of themselves, their children, or a sick loved one, and are forced to go to work anyway in fear of losing their job or a days’ wage. With this proposed legislation, employees get one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked; up to seven sick days per year, which allows them to take time off without having to lose wages. Paid Sick Days are part of a larger effort to protect our human right of dignity at work.
Many Vermont residents have shared their experiences without paid sick days and have expressed why all employees should have them.
Megan Achilles of St. Johnsbury spoke about her experience as a single mother, working in the foodservice industry without paid sick days.
Chris Schroth of Glover, Vermont spoke about how he continued to go to work with a head injury because of his lack of paid sick days as a seasonal worker.
Steph Baldridge of Burlington spoke about the importance of paid sick days for working mothers.
Katina Cummings spoke about having to choose between keeping her job or taking time off work to visit her mother who was ill:
Several business owners have given their support for paid sick leave, expressing the economic benefits this mandate would have for Vermont business owners as well as employees. Randy George and Liza, owners of Red Hen Baking Co. in Middlesex, believe employees and employers both benefit from paid sick leave:
Wes Hamilton, owner of Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier and several other eateries in Vermont, also believes that providing paid sick leave for employees will help Vermont’s economic sector.
The main opposition of the legislation is large businesses and corporations that tend to value high profits over happy, healthy employees. The Colorado chapter of the non-profit organization Winning Justice for Working Women has experienced the shady tactics of big business firsthand when The National Restaurant Association spent large amounts of money to make sure Paid Sick Days were not provided to Colorado employees.
The Paid Sick Days Bill is a major step toward ensuring that the people of Vermont are treated with dignity at work. Not only are paid sick days are essential to the health of our families and our communities, but to our human right to a dignified life. As the fight for paid sick days continues, we must unite as workers and as members of our communities to hold our legislators accountable and demand that they put people first.
For more information or to get involved with the Paid Sick Days Campaign, go to www.workerscenter.org/paidsickdays.
Put People First Radio is a project of the People’s Media Project. For more information, go to www.workerscenter.org/media