I, unlike my sister, am one of the lucky ones. I have sick days. I am one of a handful of unionized restaurant workers in this city. I work at Tavern 17 at the Radisson Warwick Hotel and I am a member of a strong and proud Union,Unite Here Local 274.
What does this mean? It means a group of brave workers who worked there before me did something very similar to what we are trying to do right now. They fought for what was right. They fought for people to be treated like human beings. They fought for people to have sick days.
Restaurant work often is long hours without consistent days off. It involves long days on your feet, often doing the work of two people, and the emotional labor of keeping guests happy.
We sometimes need a day off.
We are interacting with many different people and their germs everyday.
We sometimes get sick.
So, I will submit to you three things:
- Everyone including restaurant workers deserve sick days.
- The public is better served by a social policy that doesn’t pressure working class people to come to work even when they’re sick and talk to you at your tables and touch your food.
- Businesses can afford to pay sick days as is evidenced by my own employer that continues to be profitable and even grow despite the recession.