When I was a kid and had to stay home sick from school, my mom always made me the classic challah toast with cinnamon and sugar and we would watch movies together. When I got older, and had just gotten back from a Jewish youth group weekend and was overwhelmed with homework, every now and then I would take a day off school just to have a break. My mom called it a “mental health day.” Now, through the MI Time to Care initiative, I’m learning that not every child is blessed to have a parent that can stay home and care for them when they are sick, and not every adult has the flexibility or financial stability to take the day off if they or their children are ill.
MI Time to Care is a coalition of community groups working to ensure that employees have the right to paid sick time. Without this workplace right, employees often have to choose between going to work sick, or forgoing a paycheck to stay home to care for themselves or their family. Many of these workers serve our food in the restaurant industry - and many are single parents, low-income individuals, and people of color. Less than half of Michigan workers in the private sector currently have access to paid sick time.
At right: Role play! Craig Isser successfully persuades "skeptical small business owner" Andrew Weiner that Earned Sick Time is good for the workplace.
Detroit Jews for Justice is working to change this picture. Together with other members of the MI Time to Care coalition, we are collecting signatures to place a Earned Sick Time proposal on the November state ballot. If passed, this legislation would extend the right to paid sick time to every Michigan worker.
Most recently, DJJ hosted a MI Time to Care house meeting at the new Detroit City Moishe House in Indian Village. Over a delicious home cooked dinner, attendees from Detroit and Ann Arbor learned about
the importance of paid sick leave, heard the history of
DJJ, and were trained in how to collect signatures for the campaign. We then challenged our knowledge of what we learned through a surprisingly competitive game of Jew-pardy (The score was a dead tie -- leading us to conclude that we could all win the fight for Earned Sick Time!)
As a Detroit City Moishe House resident who hopes that our house will be a space for community activism and engagement, I was thrilled to have DJJ over to help us activate on this important issue!
Hayley is originally from West Bloomfield, and is now a resident of the Detroit City Moishe House in Indian Village. She is a member of the DJJ Organizing Team. To partner with or learn more about Moishe House, visit them on Facebook or contact Hayley at HayleySakwa@gmail.com.