Saturday, May 2, 2009

Would You Like Some Swine Flu in Your Burger?

I read this article about how despite the Swine Flu outbreak, which probably isn't that bad after all the press hysteria (surprise, surprise), that many people who are sick are going to work anyway because they have no sick time. This was something that I had forgotten. I used to work for various fast food restaurants before I went to college, and there, you have no sick pay and no vacation as far as I can remember.

I have a white collar job now, I get 10 days of sick time and 10 days of vacation a year. I can use my sick time for anything, like if I need to go have my eyes checked, or if I need to take care of personal business. I think that should be standard for every job, but what do I know? I must be a socialist commie (probably throw fascist in there too) because I support worker's rights. It's a terrible thing that a great majority of this country doesn't even realize that they're getting the shaft and they keep voting for the ones who are screwing them over.
Swine flu or not, many workers can't stay home


NEW YORK (AP) -- You wake up one morning and you're feeling achy and feverish. The directions from health officials battling swine flu are clear: Stay home from work. Don't risk infecting others. And certainly don't send a sick kid to school.

But what if you're one of the estimated 57 million working Americans with no paid sick days?
"The problem has really come into sharp relief the past few days," said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, which has long pushed for paid sick leave. "Many people don't even realize that almost half the private sector - 48 percent - has no sick days, not even a single one."
Making matters even worse: Those least likely to have sick leave are low-income workers, particularly in fields like food services, child care and the hotel industry - in other words, the people you most want to be staying home if they're sick...

The Associated Press interviewed a number of workers in the food industry. Not surprisingly, most didn't want their names used for fear they would be fired. They told stories of coming to work with a fever or flu in order to keep their jobs, and of seeing sick co-workers sneezing and coughing near food... A study on sick leave found that 68 percent of those without paid sick days had gone to work with a contagious illness like the flu or a viral infection...

Making the problem even thornier: Kids. Children get sick all the time and infect each other. Yet even among those workers lucky enough to have paid sick leave, few have flexible sick days that can be used to care for a family member... Advocates for family-friendly policies point out that the U.S. is the only country out of the top 20 world economic powers with no federally mandated sick days. Put another way, some 140 other countries have them.

No U.S. states have them either, though three cities have passed such measures: San Francisco, Washington and Milwaukee, where implementation has been held up by a lawsuit...
There are two types of people. There's the worker, who apparently is content to be screwed over, and then there's the higher ups, thankful that the workers don't realize that they should be getting the better end of things, especially considering that the CEO of most major companies makes hundreds of times the annual pay of their workers.

And I just want to point out, that I as bad as the evil Wal-Mart is painted to be, they provide a little sick time to their employees, or used to at any rate. I don't know about now.

Oh, and you want to know why the economy is in the tank? Henry Ford, as much of an anti-Semitic bastard that he was, realized that if he would pay his workers enough, they'd buy his product. Well guess what? We don't pay the majority of people in this country enough to afford to live, much less buy anything. But we have a solution for that. We give credit cards to everyone! The working class can then go out and charge it, but they still can't pay for it. So they can file bankruptcy, and get credit cards again. Yes, this really does happen. I have seen it with my own eyes. But now there's no credit unless your rating is sky high, and so the working class can't buy anything, because they didn't have the money for it in the first place. And our economy is in a death spiral because of it.


  1. After reading this info that restaurant workers do not get sick days or pay so they go to work even if they're sick...I'm felling a little ill now. :)

  2. You know, I had forgotten because it was over a decade ago, but I got fired from McDonalds once for calling in sick (the ONLY job I have ever been let go from). I had bronchitis and was really sick, and when I called in, the manager told me to come in or to not bother coming back. I chose the latter. That was one store, I worked for others later that weren't like that, but you still didn't get paid. So to stay home you had to be able to go without pay.

  3. There are so many places and different types of employment where you can get fired for calling in sick. I use to work for a place that you were allowed to call in sick once every 12 months. If you did it twice in 12 months it was automatic termination.

    Workers don't have any protections, unless you're a union member.

  4. Wow! Getting fired when you legitimately call in sick at a fast food joint should be criminal. Not only are they putting the public at risk by exposing your illness to others, but treating their employees harshly.

    My husband has worked at the same company for almost 30 years and has never called in sick even once even though he has great benefits. The benefits are all courtesy of a great union. Union Pacific to be exact. People forget why unions came about to begin with.

  5. This all serves to remind us that sick people are working in restaurants and other public contact jobs all the time. They handle currency, they stock shelves... maybe the only defense is to build up a good immune system!