In New York City, there has been an attempt to mandate five sick days per year for workers–this has been repeatedly blocked by the head of the City Council (who has dreams of becoming mayor and needs those campaign fund dollars!). Here’s one consequence of blocking this effort (boldface mine):
There is a brutal constancy to the workweeks of these two women: 72-hour weeks piled one atop another….
Now and then Ms. Loyola, 35, wears down and the chill of flu runs through her body, and she vomits in the employees’ bathroom. And, she says, her boss shakes his head and warns:
You go home, you’re fired.
But I’m sure that drink will be just fine. Nothing to worry about. Anyway, here’s another heartwarming tale:
As for Ms. Alvarez, 48, some months ago her heart throbbed, her arms and chest heavy with ache. On her single day off she walked into a clinic, and a doctor listened through his stethoscope and told her: Your heart is in bad shape.
He checked her into the hospital. A few days later, she was discharged and walked 15 blocks to beg her employer for her job back. She said he was disgusted: You’re old and you’re sick. With that, she said, he sent her back to chop in a basement filled with two inches of gray water.
She is a proud woman with dark, piercing eyes set in a full face framed by high cheekbones. She said nothing to her boss. “I couldn’t stop thinking: How will I find money for food? For rent?” she says. “So I went to that basement.”
Would you want to eat at a restaurant whose food preparation area has standing water? Yummy (but not like this).
I’m guess these women are, unfortunately, part of the 47% that Mitt Romney so despises. Because that 72 hour work week is definitely the sign of a moocher.
This is how our willingness to tolerate the impoverished–not the poor, this is something we, either by action or silence, do to others–affects all of us. Leaving aside the basic inhumanity of a 72-hour week for shit wages with awful working conditions (although how the hell does a decent person do that?), these workers are making other people, even the Mitt Romneys of the world, sick (might want to take better care of the help, you know).
Fortunately, a ‘fiscally responsible’/Grand Bargain austerity package that includes reducing the paltry retirement and healthcare benefits of these women will fix this. Magically, more labor and health inspectors will falling down from the sky like manna. Or something.