National Nurses United member and RN Kendra Ziegler (right) last Thursday night urged the Montgomery County Council to allow all workers to earn paid sick and safe days. "As a registered nurse, I know that a great way to cut down on the spread of sickness, improve public health, and keep Montgomery County working is to require paid sick leave for all workers" ...
photo by Korey Hartwich
Ziegler, who works at Washington Hospital Center, told a powerful story of one of her patients who "was so worried about how time off (to recover) would hurt his family and his future that he endangered his life."
Another activist who shared her story with the council was Marcelina Flores, a commercial office and home cleaner from Gaithersburg and a member of SEIU 32BJ. She suffers from high blood pressure and missed two doctors’ appointments after one of her employers rejected her request for time off. Flores said she has had to recently work sick, even with the flu and a high fever. Her other employer provides paid leave time under a union contract. “I have to do it because wages are so low and I need the money,” Flores said. “We can’t rely on our employers to give us such benefits out of the goodness of their hearts.”
The crowd of 50 speakers and supporters included representatives from National Nurses United, AFGE, SEIU 32BJ, Jews United for Justice, The Job Opportunities Task Force, Maryland Working Families, Moms Rising, Montgomery County Young Democrats, Family Values at Work, and other members of the Working Families Coalition, which includes 130 organizations across the state of Maryland fighting for paid sick leave for all workers in the state.
Click here to support workers' right to paid sick leave in Montgomery County and in all of Maryland.
Includes reporting by Korey Hartwich and Ethan Miller. Photo: Activists from SEIU 32BJ, AFGE and JUFJ outside of the council chambers; photo by Ethan Miller