Having cancer is stressful enough – but it’s even worse when you have no paid sick days to see a doctor or receive treatment without being docked your pay. Outside of the military, none of the jobs Emanuel McCray has held included paid sick days – or if they did, you had to wait a year to be eligible. At his last full-time job at Walmart, Emanuel says, “By the time I made a year, I lost my job because I was penalized for the days I was ill and could not work.”
Emanuel met a group called United Workers in Baltimore when he lost his job at the ESPN Zone owned by Disney and became involved in the Fair Development campaign in the city’s Inner Harbor. He then became a leader organizer in the paid sick days campaign. “It meant a lot from my personal experience of having to deal with a major health issue like Hodgkins Lymphoma,” Emanuel said. He wanted to know he and everyone else could access paid sick days in order to “catch up financially and get back on my own in society.”
Emmanuel feels happy that workers in Montgomery County have won paid sick days. “I wasn’t able to be a support for my children,” he said. Now he hopes that will change.