The Real Contagion

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

by Tavae Samuelu, Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator

A new movie has just hit theaters. The star-studded Hollywood ensemble of Contagion tells the story of a flu that quickly spreads to billions becoming an epidemic causing national panic. Watching the trailer already has my hypochondria in overdrive. My throat suddenly feels scratchy, every sniffle is a sign of H1N1, and the guy sneezing on BART this morning may very well have been an agent of biological warfare. As the trailer so astutely noted, “No one is immune to fear.”
As I sit waiting for a vaccination for fear, a reality sets in. The scariest part of the movie isn’t Gwyneth Paltrow’s debilitating cold; it’s the fact that it could actually happen. There are over 40 million Americans who don’t receive paid sick days, a good portion of which are low-wage womyn. This means that each day there are people going to work sick because they can’t afford to stay home. Folks from the Family Values @ Work Consortium have released a video sharing the stories of workers who have been forced to choose between financial security and caring for themselves or their loved ones. All of the workers featured are part of a national campaign to win paid sick leave, so that it is written into law as a right instead of a privilege. Learn more by watching the video and visiting the Family Values @Work website.

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