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A coalition of groups fighting for an important new labor and public health standard has released a new video. Without paid sick days for workers, the advocates say, we risk a real-life version of the film “Contagion.”

Here’s the video:

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A quick excerpt from the press release:

RALEIGH (Sep. 12, 2011) — As the new blockbuster film Contagion, a thriller about a global flu pandemic, finishes its first weekend at the box office, advocates are releasing an online-video calledContagion: Not Just a Movie.

The web film, produced by Family Values @ Work, shows the stories of five American workers who have been forced to go into work when they are sick because they weren’t allowed to take off or couldn’t afford going without pay. Working sick in restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and on the school bus, they worry about passing on their illness to co-workers, clients, customers and riders. These workers are some of the 44 million Americans without paid sick days who risk their families’ financial security or their jobs if they stay home when they are ill.

“Because a Fayetteville food server with an illness couldn’t take time off without losing a job, thousands of North Carolinians were exposed to hepatitis this year,” said Louisa Warren, coordinator of the NC Paid Sick Days Coalition. “North Carolina knows better than most states how important it is for workers to have access to paid sick days.”

Approximately 1.3 million North Carolina workers lack access to even one paid sick day.

Editor’s Note: This post was written by a union organizer from Illinois. It responds to Robert Reich’s recent argument that, in the wake of anti-union activity, we need protest marches rather than celebratory parades. 

Professor Reich,

I am a big fan of your work, but I think you miss the mark on your article, “This Day We Need Protest Marches Rather than Parades.”  I want to explain why publicly because I think the question of celebration in a time of trouble is an important one to the national labor movement. Read More

Late last week — in response to public sector layoffs driving our unemployment rate near 10 percent — NC GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said he hoped more layoffs were coming for state workers.

This is bad economics, based on ideology rather than reality. The last thing unemployed private sector workers need is unemployed public sector workers to compete with, and the last thing North Carolina businesses need is fewer customers with money to spend.

The NC Budget & Tax Center has issued a statement explaining why joblessness in the public sector is awful for the private sector, too.

Let’s not let this nonsensical canard (that laying people off somehow helps create jobs) get lost in the shuffle and go unchallenged.

With families still struggling, you’d think lawmakers would recognize the folly in helping shady dealers take advantage of homeowners, home buyers and renters. But House Bill 654 would do just that, rolling back simple and effective protections designed to stop foreclosure “rescue” scams, among other unscrupulous deals.

One frightening provision in the bill could allow scammers to create contracts so abusive, they’d be able to take your home away — even if you’ve made every payment on time. Who benefits from that?

North Carolina deserves better. Consumers deserve better. And we can do better, by defeating this bill.

In a new op-ed piece distributed today to North Carolina papers, Brigadier General Paul Dordal, USAF (Ret.) says that raising rates on consumer loans “sends a strong negative signal to the military and military families living in North Carolina.”

The full text of Gen. Dordal’s powerful message appears below.

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Raising loan rates is bad news for military families

By Paul Dordal, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.)

For the past few weeks, military commanders at installations in North Carolina have expressed their opposition to proposed bills introduced in the House and Senate that would allow finance companies to raise charges on their short term loans. In spite of this opposition, last week the House Banking Committee passed this legislation, which sends a strong negative signal to the military and military families living in North Carolina. Read More