Opinion: Healthy Workplaces bill deserves lawmakers support

I am writing to express my support for the Healthy Workplaces bill, H.187 — and to ask that the Senate pass it into law when they return to Montpelier this January.
I recently moved to Massachusetts to work in construction. I left two full time jobs — one at food-related business, and the other at a social service agency — because this opportunity paid better and provided great benefits. While I had great benefits at the social service agency, at the food-related business I received no paid sick days or health insurance.
While handbooks stated that people should not handle food (especially raw meat) when they are sick, there was fear of being reprimanded for not coming in sick. It was frustrating to have to watch people choose between doing the safe, healthy thing and stay home, or come into work to get a paycheck and to avoid getting in trouble with the boss. I think people in food service feel tremendous negative pressure to go into work sick to avoid getting in trouble and even to avoid getting fired, although it’s really not healthy. I have seen people lose their jobs over sick days.
I hope Sens. Christopher Bray and Claire Ayer will help get the Paid Sick Days Bill passed next year so Vermont workers will be better protected and will have more reason to stay and work in the state.
Sam Dixon
Northborough, Mass.
Formerly of Vergennes

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