Video: Why “family values” enthusiasts should support paid sick leave

If the right is as passionate about “family values” as it claims, they should be all about paid sick leave.

This video, created by Family Values @ Work, shows just how important paid sick days are.

“I really do think family is first,” says Monica, a mother and meat cutter from Seattle, talking about that city’s paid sick days victory

One evening in 2010, Monica’s baby had a seizure. After a frantic call to 911, a terrifying rush to the hospital, and a night spent by her son’s side, Monica had to get to her 7 am shift at a local Safeway. She hated to leave her son but she couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay or risk her job. But now with paid sick days, Monica — and more than two and a quarter million other workers across the county — don’t have to leave an ill child or go to work sick.

Monica’s story, captured by filmmaker Sekou Luke, is a compelling case for workers everywhere to earn paid sick days. 

Watch the video above. And check out Family Values @ Work, a national network of 21 state and local coalitions organizing for “family-friendly” workplace policies like paid sick days and family leave insurance. They’ve changed the lives of tens of thousands of working families by helping get paid sick leave laws passed in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Seattle, and Portland as well as the state of Connecticut, family leave insurance laws in New Jersey and California, and paid parental leave in Washington state.

Here is the transcript, provided by Ellen Bravo:

Monica’s Story

Monica:  “So we put him [her youngest son, Kenneth Jr.] in his bed. I came downstairs to clean up the kitchen. Next thing you know, he’s [her husband Kenneth Sr.] is like,“No, no!” And I’m walking up the stairs and he’s like, “Call 911.” When I got halfway up the stairs, he’s holding him, he hands him to me and I could feel him shaking in my arms. The next thing you know, I ended up in a room and there’s all these doctors around him, and they said he had a seizure because his fever spiked up so high.

[Monica asks her son, “So what is the first initial sound that you hear?
Kenneth:  “A.”]

“Ooh, that’s like 6 in the morning and I had to be at work at 7. I came home, got dressed and went to work. And then I told my meat wrapper, ‘My youngest son had a seizure last night, and I’m tired, I’ve been in the hospital all night.” She’s like, “What the hell are you doing here? Why are you here? Families first, families first.’ And I’m like, yeah, why am I here right now?”

Kenneth Sr.: “My wife’s been real sick in the bed. I’m just doctoring her and I’m telling her to call in, make sure you don’t go to work. I just think she felt threatened by it, she went to work anyway, like she would lose her job if she didn’t show up or something.”

Monica:  “Obviously going to public schools they get sick quite often. I remember Kenadee getting sick and I said, ‘You’ll be okay. I’ll bring you some medicine home.’ But now that paid sick days has been in a while, I can actually stay home without worrying about my check being short, not worrying about a bill not being paid. I really do think family is first.”


Monica isn’t the only one who can earn paid sick days because of Family Values @ Work and their partners.

That number is more than 2 and a quarter million people.

Millions more can use their time to care for a sick child or take Dad to the doctor.

Others are no longer disciplined for taking a sick day.

People no longer catch germs from someone forced to work sick.

Local businesses have healthy, committed workers and more customers.

We all win with paid sick days.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.13.50 PMKatie Halper started identifying as a feminist at the age of 5 when she attended her first pro-choice rally and began calling out the musicals she watched instead of cartoons for being “prejudiced against women.” She realizes this is a ridiculous photo.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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