enders_shadow (enders_shadow) wrote in talk_politics,

Story Time!

Greetings retrograde republicans compassionate conservatives and laudable liberals--it's story time!

Little Johnny is sitting at home one day, playing video games. He hears a knock on the door; he goes to get it. A woman standing there asks him if his mom or dad is home. He says yes and goes to get his dad.

His dad goes to the door and talks to this woman. Johnny returns to his video games. After a short while Johnny gets curious--what is this woman talking to his daddy about. So he pauses his video game and walks over to the door. He doesn't fully understand what is being talked about so he goes back to his games. When he hears the door shut he goes and asks his dad what that was all about.

His dad says this:

"Well son, that woman was working on getting my state senator to pass a law that would require companies with over 50 employees to give those workers a small number employees paid sick days."

"Paid sick days?"

"Yes son, paid sick days. That's so that if a worker gets sick he can stay home and take care of himself without losing his job or losing pay."

"But why would they pay someone who doesn't show up to work?"

"Well, there are a few reasons son. First of all, it's a health risk if he goes to work. The other workers and the customers at the workers store could get sick--that is, diseases can be spread and nobody likes being sick. Many workers cannot afford to take a day off where they do not get paid. This means they show up to work sick just so that they can pay rent."

Johnny looses his interest at this point and returns to his video games.

Meanwhile Johnny's father, Robert, is considering the letter he just wrote to his state senator. He doubts it will get read and doubts even more that it will get a response--despite Robert asking for a response in the letter. Robert is cynical but hopeful about this bill. Robert gets paid sick days and is very grateful for them. Why, just last year Robert had the flu and stayed home for two days. At a different job he might have had to go to work or risk losing his job. This is not a condition he wishes to see anybody in.

Also meanwhile, the woman, let's call her Sue--she knocks on more and more doors--not just Roberts. Some people tell her to go away, some people write letters to their senator, and some people they ideologically oppose paid sick days. Sue is baffled by this of course, as Robert would be too. But they have their reasons.

Primarily they think it will burden small businesses--paying employees who aren't there is usually a bad business practice. The law in question, however, would (as Robert said) only apply to companies with over 50 employees and would, at most, give full time employees 5 paid sick days a year. That is not a huge burden--not to mention there is the money *saved* by not having to shut down the entire store (or perhaps being sued by a customer) if a sick worker does show up to work and he spreads his disease to other workers.

Now, Robert as he watches TV later that night, sees something on the news about a bus driver--a woman who is a single mother--who had to show up to work sick because she had no paid sick days. She did everything in her power to not spread her diseases to the children riding her school bus--but still she put those children at risk--not because she wanted to, but because if she didn't she would be risking her own children--they might not have food or a roof over their head if she looses her job. Robert feels vindicated in writing a letter to his senator and hopes even more that he gets a response and that the bill in question becomes law.

What's your take on all this?
Tags: labor
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