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Paid sick leave[Cross-posted from Think Progress]

North Carolina could be next to throw a wrench into paid sick leave
By Bryce Covert

A wave of so-called “preemption” bills that block paid sick days legislation before it can even be introduced or passed has cropped up across the country. North Carolina could be the next state to pass such a law if Gov. Pat McCroy (R) signs HB74, or the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013, which is sitting on his desk awaiting his signature and takes an incremental step toward barring paid sick days legislation.

Section 5 of the bill blocks the rights of cities and counties to enact paid sick days requirements for government contract workers. While this wouldn’t impact the entire workforce, it could erode standards. As Vicki Meath, executive director of Just Economics, writes, because governments are required to accept the lowest acceptable bid, “Living wage policies help contractors level the playing field so that they can compete for city and county contracts on the basis of the quality of their work instead of a race to the bottom in terms of worker wages and benefits.” If those standards are raised, it can help raise the floor for all workers….

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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:

YouTube Preview Image

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.