Stop a Real Contagion

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From: David R. Jones, The Community Service Society
Sent: 07/10/2011 12:01
To: Georgina Byrne
Subject: Stop a Real Contagion

Community service society
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October 7, 2011 | WWW.CSSNY.ORG

Contagion: Not Just a Movie

Dear Georgina,

Have you seen Contagion – a new blockbuster movie about a global flu pandemic?

What's most frightening about this star-studded film is that flu epidemics are real, and they can spread quickly – especially here in New York City, where more than 1.3 million hard hard-working people without paid sick days are forced to choose between their financial security and their health when they get sick. Our 2009 report "Sick in the City: What the Lack of Paid Leave Means for Working New Yorkers" found that 39 percent of working New Yorkers reported no paid leave whatsoever – not a single paid day to take off to recover from an illness or care for a sick child.

As you know, working families are counting every dollar right now. For many of us, taking unpaid time off, even when we're sick, means falling short on rent or not having enough to put food on the table. Losing even three days' pay for many families amounts to a month's worth of groceries.

Watch what five hard-working people who've been forced to go to work sick have to say.

"I went to work with a 104 degree fever… preparing and possibly contaminating the food the diners would eat. I had to go to work, because there was no other option."
– Amador, Cook, New York City

Even those who have paid sick time come in contact every day with workers like these. We all have a stake in winning paid sick days.

The good news is that support for paid sick days is growing – and by getting involved, you can help ensure workers don't have to make the awful choice between their health and their families' security. This year, Connecticut passed the country's first statewide law, and Seattle joined San Francisco and Washington, D.C. as the third major U.S. city to mandate paid sick days. The Community Service Society is helping to fight for paid sick days here in New York City, where a bill that would ensure that all New Yorkers earn paid sick days is before the City Council. Find out what you can do to support this effort: visit our partners at

Together, we can help working families and help prevent a real Contagion.


David R. Jones
President and CEO

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