9to5 Sends Delegation to White House Summit on Working Families
9to5 members will join other activists, business owners and elected leaders to bring experiences from their campaigns to enact paid sick days and paid family and medical leave insurance across the country to a White House Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., Monday, June 23.
9to5′s White House Summit delegation includes members Kim Schofield, Rev. Harriet Bradley, Shelby Ramirez, Shannon Derby, Yeisha Chappell, Mary Campbell, Ife Floyd, Valencia Campbell, Beth Roma and Ellen Weiss; 9to5 national staff Linda Meric, Linda Garcia Barnard and Cindia Cameron; State Directors Erin Bennett, Martha De La Rosa, and Charmaine Davis; as well as 9to5 partners from the advocacy, business and legislative communities.
At the Summit, President Obama will join delegates from across the country to focus on creating a workplace that works for all. The president has made the women’s economic agenda a critical component of his efforts to rebuild the economy. In his 2014 State of the Union, he called for an end to ‘Mad Men’-era policies. At a recent appearance in Orlando he urged Congress to bring the United States in line with “every other advanced nation on Earth by offering paid leave to folks who work hard every day.”
Check out these stories from some of our delegation:
Kim Schofield worked for an intermodal trucking company in Georgia that would not allow her to use the paid sick days she earned to take time off when she was ill unless she returned to work with a doctor’s note. This rigid policy was problematic because Kim has Lupus. Her Lupus would flare up at times and cause her to experience severe pain and/or extreme fatigue. Kim needed to rest in order to care for herself during these flares, but going to a doctor was not necessary all the time for her to recover from what is referred to as a “Lupus Flare”. Kim was forced to take unpaid time off each time she became ill as a result of her Lupus. Kim would have greatly benefitted from her employer having a flexible sick day policy that did not require her to provide a doctor’s note each time she took off while she was ill; not all illnesses require a doctor’s visit. Kim would have also benefitted from having access to paid FMLA since Lupus is a chronic illness.
Reverend Harriet Bradley
Reverend Harriet Bradley is a home health care worker who makes just over minimum wage. She has not received a raise in 9 years. She does not receive paid sick days, vacation days or personal days. Rev. Bradley says she never takes a sick day because the Lord keeps her well. She loses a day of pay whenever she takes time off for any reason; to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family or to advocate with 9to5 at our state capitol. Rev. Bradley would benefit from having access to paid sick days.
“I’m a mother of two daughters and a grandmother of two. I’m also a caregiver for a parent. I have worked as a security officer for four years, however this industry does not pay well. As a woman working a low wage job, it can be a struggle to make it paycheck to paycheck.
Last year my youngest daughter became very ill. During the same time my parent needed immediate medical attention. In order to provide the care my family needed I had to take FMLA that was unpaid. Having to take time off unpaid was an enormous financial burden for me. After not paying rent and utilities, it took me four months to only partly get caught up with bills. Although FMLA is great and I was able to keep my job, having paid family and medical leave is necessary now and for the future for our families.”
Two Rivers, WI
“When I started my job as a sign language interpreter for the Two Rivers Public School District (TRPSD), I had no idea that I would be bringing another baby into the world. I had just gotten off the phone with my new boss telling me that I had a part time job! I couldn’t wait to start in the fall. Minutes later the phone rang with my doctor’s office telling me the results of my blood work. I had been exhausted for a few weeks and my husband (now ex) told me to go in. I thought I just had low iron counts again. Wow, was I wrong. I was pregnant with our third child! I hadn’t even started my new job yet and I knew I was going to have to take a leave of absence when my daughter was born. I didn’t really know what to do or how to tell my new employer. Luckily, my employer was very kind and had me fill out the paper work for Wisconsin FMLA. I didn’t have any sick time to use because I was new and only part-time. I am thankful that I was able to have time to heal myself and bond with my daughter. I had major trouble after she was born. My employer needed me to start full-time, what a lucky break. However, my doctor was not okay with that because I had an infection, two herniated discs, and a severely broken tail bone. Using more FMLA, I was able to work with my doctor and my employer. I have been now been employed with TRPDS for 9 years. This coming fall will be my 10th year with the district.”
“I’m a 27 year old single mom of three, ages 6-8. In December 2011, I was diagnosed with severe Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) in both wrists. I was put on restrictions that consisted of limited use of hand grasping, lifting, pulling, writing, and fine finger manipulation. When I presented documentation to my employer, I was immediately told my work restrictions could not be honored. I was a part-time worker, so I did not qualify for FMLA. I asked my employer if ‘light duty’ was an option for me, as I had been a dedicated employee of the company for over 3 years. I was told I did not qualify for ‘light duty.’ As a result of this situation, my family and I suffered financially for months because I ended up losing my job. I think FMLA should be expanded to protect part-time as well as full-time workers.”