Dispatch from Denver: Phonebanking

by | Oct 18, 2011 | Paid Sick Days

Denver is such a beautiful place. Since I arrived, it has been nothing but sunny, with fresh, crisp air and a backdrop of snow-topped mountains. In a place this picturesque, it is hard to believe that some working families are facing grim challenges every day because they don’t have basic paid sick days.

The Campaign for a Healthy Denver team’s commitment to changing this reality is inspiring. It has been great to be a part of their work. As a volunteer, I have been busy with planning meetings, phone calls to Denver residents, awareness events and simply trying to get the word out about the need for Initiative 300.

Recently, I had a chance to spend two memorable evenings phonebanking. With all of the highly visible specious arguments being used by the business lobby — and the large amount of money they are spending to defeat Initiative 300 — I expected voters to be resistant to or uninterested in what we had to say. Instead, I had some really great conversations.

I talked with former nurses and parents, many of whom shared their own experiences with being unable to take time off from work to care for a sick kid. Some worked in companies that already offer paid sick days. We talked about how good paid sick days are for families, and the types of workers who need them most — including those in day care and food service. I was continually impressed by everyone’s knowledge and compassion.

A few people were unsure about the initiative because they had heard negative things about paid sick days. Many thought, based on advertisements and fliers from the business lobby, it was going to hurt businesses. But, when I explained the impact of San Francisco’s paid sick days law and the way these standards reduce turnover and boost productivity to help businesses’ bottom lines, nearly everyone seemed to agree that a paid sick days standard for the city makes sense.

I left each night feeling inspired by my conversations and voters’ support for paid sick days. It made me hopeful that common sense will prevail. And if it does, come the morning of November 2nd, Denver will be a brighter, even more beautiful place for all families.