Dear President Obama,
I’m a hard working single mom and I appreciate the work you have done since 2008 to get our country on track. However, even with the stimulus package and healthcare reform, as you know, workers and families continue to carry the weight, while Wall St reaps the benefits.
I’m hoping you will lift up the needs of working families during your State of the Union Address. Too many workers lose pay from lack of paid sick days. We need to earn job protected, paid sick or safety leave, especially women!
Please call on Congress to enact overwhelmingly supported sick days policy. Please help us change the narrative around workers and benefits.
I worked in retail for 15 years, and had a job stocking shelves at Target. It was vital for my family’s financial well-being. I couldn’t earn enough in retail to pay the bills, but I worked hard and I was finishing a degree.
I was eligible for assistance, but my welfare assistance hinged on me maintaining employment. If I didn’t work, we would not receive my paycheck or our food assistance. Losing a job meant hours of reapplying for food stamps and even getting kicked off assistance.
In December of 2012, I was called into my boss’s office. All of my kids had gotten a stomach bug in November and I had missed 3 1/2 shifts, unpaid. Even though I was an experienced, fast, great worker, and I found people to cover my shifts, my boss had to punish me. He cut me down to 10 hours a week and put me on probation. If I had to call in sick for one shift in the next 4 months, I’d be fired.
I was terrified. I was so depressed, I called my pastor and he made a list with me, of all the reasons I had to live. Even if Target fired me, I was a worthy human being, who deserved to live. I just couldn’t imagine how I would survive if I couldn’t even keep a retail job! The cut in my hours was too much. A year later I was homeless.
All workers, especially those earning poverty wages, need some employment stability and a chance to work their way up. Supervisors and managers earn paid sick leave, and my boss didn’t want to punish me. He cried with me. I believe that is why paid sick days legislation passed on ballot initiatives in states where Republicans were elected over democrats.
Please demand Congress act and urge mayors to pass paid sick days. I have held on, and now that I’m back on my feet, I am fighting to make our jobs better. Please fight with us!
St Paul, MN