Archive for the 'Sara Sloyer' Category

Dispatch from Denver: Back to D.C.

After 10 days of volunteering with the Campaign for a Healthy Denver, I am headed back to D.C. Working on the ground to help pass paid sick days in Denver has been a great experience, filled with wonderful, passionate workers and advocates who are committed to ensuring Denverites have the right to earn the time they need to care for their health and protect the health of their communities.

As I leave, I feel the urgency and need for Initiative 300 more than ever. Knocking on doors and making phone calls to talk directly with workers and individuals who would benefit from the law has given me a window into lives of Denver’s hardworking families, and the challenges workers face when they don’t have access to paid sick days.

As I depart, I leave my responsibilities in the capable hands of my National Partnership colleagues, Katie and Helen. I am excited that they will be working alongside the other fantastic volunteers for the Campaign for a Healthy Denver. Snow is in the forecast, so stay warm and bundle up, you two, as you continue to spread the word about the importance of voting YES on Initiative 300. And keep an eye out for those funny prairie dogs!

Dispatch from Denver: A Letter from Patricia Schroeder

Hi, everyone! I want to share a great letter published in the Denver Post this week. It’s from former Colorado Congresswoman and women’s rights leader Patricia Schroeder. Check it out here.

Congresswoman Schroeder served Denver and the state of Colorado for nearly 25 years as the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado. Her letter sends a compelling message about the need for paid sick days to benefit women and all families in the city. I especially like the way she closes it out with a call to action:

“Denver voters have an opportunity to do better. By voting ‘yes’ for Initiative 300, the city’s paid sick days proposal, you can help give all workers the chance to earn paid sick time. Opponents are pouring money into blocking this badly needed, family friendly measure, but it’s the right thing to do for Denver women, families, businesses and for the public health.”

Having been on the ground in Denver, I know just how visible the opposition’s message is here. We need more leaders like Patricia Schroeder to speak out about what is at stake in this election, and the need for paid sick days. As she said, it’s the right thing to do.

Dispatch from Denver: Phonebanking

Denver is such a beautiful place. Since I arrived, it has been nothing but sunny, with fresh, crisp air and a backdrop of snow-topped mountains. In a place this picturesque, it is hard to believe that some working families are facing grim challenges every day because they don’t have basic paid sick days.

The Campaign for a Healthy Denver team’s commitment to changing this reality is inspiring. It has been great to be a part of their work. As a volunteer, I have been busy with planning meetings, phone calls to Denver residents, awareness events and simply trying to get the word out about the need for Initiative 300.

Recently, I had a chance to spend two memorable evenings phonebanking. With all of the highly visible specious arguments being used by the business lobby – and the large amount of money they are spending to defeat Initiative 300 – I expected voters to be resistant to or uninterested in what we had to say. Instead, I had some really great conversations.

I talked with former nurses and parents, many of whom shared their own experiences with being unable to take time off from work to care for a sick kid. Some worked in companies that already offer paid sick days. We talked about how good paid sick days are for families, and the types of workers who need them most – including those in day care and food service. I was continually impressed by everyone’s knowledge and compassion.

A few people were unsure about the initiative because they had heard negative things about paid sick days. Many thought, based on advertisements and fliers from the business lobby, it was going to hurt businesses. But, when I explained the impact of San Francisco’s paid sick days law and the way these standards reduce turnover and boost productivity to help businesses’ bottom lines, nearly everyone seemed to agree that a paid sick days standard for the city makes sense.

I left each night feeling inspired by my conversations and voters’ support for paid sick days. It made me hopeful that common sense will prevail. And if it does, come the morning of November 2nd, Denver will be a brighter, even more beautiful place for all families.

Dispatch from Denver: “Sick Rick”

“Sick Rick” and an Event at Denver’s Larimer Square

Hello, PaidSickDays.org! I’m Sara, an intern at the National Partnership for Women & Families and a proud volunteer with the Campaign for a Healthy Denver. I arrived in Denver on Tuesday to help spread the word about the need for Initiative 300, the local paid sick days proposal on the city’s November ballot, and thought I would check in about our efforts this week.

As many of you know, local and national business groups have been busy distributing misinformation about the need for paid sick days in Denver. So yesterday, we headed out to Larimer Square in downtown Denver to listen to the stories of some of the workers who are struggling without them. Several food service workers, including bartenders, servers and baristas, shared their personal experiences with having to make the tough choice between going to work sick or staying at home and risking a paycheck or even their jobs.

Speakers in Larimer Square

It was the story of Laura, a barista, that really hit home for me. I work part time as a barista, and I’ll admit that I’ve gone to work sick because I couldn’t find someone to cover my shift or couldn’t afford to lose any income. It’s hard to describe how stuck and helpless you feel when you want to take care of yourself and don’t want to get anyone else sick, but you know you can’t risk losing your job. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for workers with families and children to handle.

Hearing workers describe their experiences and talking about having to interact with customers while ill reminded me of why we’re all here – and why Initiative 300 is so important. Denver workers and their families need to be able to take care of their health and protect the health of the public.

Sick Rick the Germ

After the workers spoke, we all walked through Larimer Square to help make sure the public knows the risks of restaurant workers going to work sick. We handed out fliers explaining that 74 percent of food service workers in the city don’t have paid sick days. We passed lunchtime diners and passersby, all the time accompanied by our six-foot-tall germ mascot, “Sick Rick.” Sick Rick was definitely the star of the show. As he “sneezed” silly string out of his nose and bounced around from person to person, you couldn’t help but think about the spread of real illnesses. It was a fun spectacle that drew attention to one of the many reasons why Denver needs paid sick days and Initiative 300.

It has been a busy few days so far, and I know we’re just getting started. I’ll check back again soon!