Letter: Support Healthy Workplaces Bill

Support Healthy Workplaces Bill

I'm writing in support of H. 187, the Healthy Workplaces Bill, so that thousands of Vermonters like myself can earn paid sick days and not have to come into work sick or lose their jobs. I've seen this happen way too many times.

The first job I got when I moved up here was at the Dunkin Donuts across from Walmart. My shift was generally 3:30 am.. to noon, 6 days a week. This was fine, but after three weeks I had to take a day off because I was feeling sick, and I could tell there were repercussions for just having missed one day — they started giving me less hours after this. I saw this happen to coworkers as well, and scheduling was super inconsistent, which made it hard to plan any sort of life outside of work. The worst thing I saw while working there was when a coworker called into work because her child had lice, and the store manager basically said she was lying and told her to come in anyways. I felt disgusted by this, I didn't want to get lice or have that wind up in the food. I eventually quit that job because I needed to go to the hospital and my manager refused to give me time off, I couldn't handle that disrespect anymore, and needed to be able to take care of myself.

After that I got a job at Taco Bell, where I had to deal with the same issues — inconsistent scheduling and no sick-time whatsoever. Within a few weeks of taking that job I saw a coworker quit because he was made to come in with a fever, and he wrote them a note saying he hoped the health department came in and fined them for making food-service workers come in sick. I also had to come in sick, with a temperature and short of breath, and they still made me do prep for the day. I made mashed potatoes, corn, mac and cheese, the pico de gallo, the whole day's food, while clearly sick, because companies like this just care about making money.

I was never offered full time at any of these jobs either, because then they would have to actually give me the hours and benefits of a full-time worker. I deserve benefits, I'm a dedicated worker, I go to work on time and always work hard, but the way we get treated is totally inhumane and unhealthy. No one should have to put up with conditions like that.

I hope our Senators Brian Campion and Dick Sears will support the Paid Sick Days Bill in January so workers like myself can start getting some decent benefits and be able to stay healthy.

— Alexandra Burg Bennington


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