medleave

The United States is the only developed nation that does not require employers to give their employees paid sick leave. For many Americans, that means choosing between their pay and their health — a devil’s choice if there ever was one.

Philadelphia’s Claudia Rendon had to face that choice late last year. She was fired after taking some time off to donate her kidney to her son to save his life. Watch her story:

Mom Loses Job After Kidney Donation: MyFoxPHILLY.com

 

Thankfully, media outrage forced her employer to offer to pay her until another position opened up. But of course not all workers are so fortunate.

In 2009, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced a bill called the Healthy Families Act that would require businesses that have at least 15 employees to offer some paid sick time to their employees. Although it gained an impressive 125 co-sponsors, it never made any progress in the Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives, let alone the Senate.

A quick look at the interests backing and opposing the bill explains why. After the bill was introduced, a number of labor unions, faith groups, and non-profit organizations declared themselves in support. But on the other side of the issue was virtually every titan in corporate lobbying — ranging from the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the American Hotel and Lodging Association to the National Retail Federation. That’s right, these businesses all worked to ensure that the waitress handling your food could be sick with the flu.

But Big Money hasn’t just taken aim at paid sick leave on the federal level. In Denver, Colorado, the local chamber of commerce worked with restaurants and business-backed tourism groups to finance a propaganda campaign in 2011 against that city’s paid sick leave referendum. Voters were spooked, and the referendum was defeated.

If we’re ever going to catch up to 145 countries that require some sort of paid sick leave, we’re going to have to tackle money in our politics first.

Filed under: Lobbying

Add a comment
  • jan burch

    Your conclusion “we’re going to have to tackle money in our politics first.” applies to just about every ill facing us today! Got any suggestions as to how we actually do that?

    • Zaid Jilani

      Stay tuned

    • mudplanet

      Revolution?

    • http://twitter.com/Mtl4u2 Les Zouazo

      Dylan Ratigan has an initiative about a Constitutional amendment tackling this problem.
      Alas, since the US Constitution is the most difficult to change on this planet…

  • http://www.facebook.com/hkbearmcneelege Ruff Bear

    ArticleV.org, 99 Solutions on FB, pretty much everything the Occupy movement is doing at the national level is aimed at Citizens United and similar.

  • CatKinNY

    Money inpolitics is the root of all evil in this country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dane.ferrell Dane Ferrell

    I find it saddening that people in this country are still swallowing propaganda from the rich,and corporations,and vote against their own interests.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TUB6NMKQBR7XSOYNVPL42ECZ24 jane h

      i truly dont understand it myself…..the only thing i can come up with is that they hate obama because hes black. i mean what else is there???? anyone making less than $200,000 a year should be voting for obama. unless they just want to go back to more failed economic policies and war which got us into the shape we are in.ALL women should be voting obama.

  • http://twitter.com/Mtl4u2 Les Zouazo

    Why were Colorado people so gullible? Can’t they ask themselves some questions when they watch political ads? Ya know, questions like “Cui bono?” for example?

  • Steve A

    Our neighbors in Canada, as usual, have taken the lead and showed how it’s done.

    Protest in Montreal against the rise of tuition fees in Quebec and the new law 78.
    Every evening at 8pm people meet in the street with their pots and pans and make all the noise they can.

    http://vimeo.com/42848523

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reda-StCyr/1394025128 Reda StCyr

    You got that right All this money is destroying this entire country Sadly it seems some of the little guys are now so desperate for money themselves They to are selling us out for the few crumbs they receive for being in compliance for a short time
    Then the boom gets lowered on them An big Daddy Corporate America, laughs all the way to the bank!!!!
    Wake up people!

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