Dozen activists push for paid sick time law
By By Alex Bloom
Posted Apr 27, 2012 @ 01:00 AM
Last update Apr 27, 2012 @ 02:24 AM
Teresa Aiello, right, of Brockton and Kathy Metzger of Taunton carry signs as workers rally outside of the Dunkin’ Donuts shop at Main Street and Forest Avenue in Brockton on Thursday to protest the company’s policy that does not allow employees to earn sick days.
Tomas Gonzalez of Hyde Park, marches as workers rally outside of the Dunkin’ Donuts shop at Main Street and Forest Avenue in Brockton on Thursday to protest the company’s policy that does not allow employees to earn sick days.
With signs like “Sick Workers, Sick Customers,” a dozen protesters rallied in Brockton on Thursday to push for sick time legislation.
Members of the Coalition for Social Justice, Massachusetts Nurses Association and Service Employees International Union gathered outside the Dunkin’ Donuts at 587 Main St. in support of a bill to give paid sick time to all Massachusetts workers.
Sandy Russo, a Coalition for Social Justice volunteer, said workers who do not have paid sick time mainly make minimum wage and have to make tough choices, such as whether to work while sick or stay home with no pay and possibly lose their job.
“We’re not talking about people who have extra money who can afford to stay home,” Russo said.
Kathy Metzger, a Brockton nurse who lives in Taunton, said workers deserve paid sick time.
“It’s cruel and unusual punishment for these people because they can’t afford to miss work,” Metzger said.
Supporters of the bill on Beacon Hill said it would allow workers to accumulate one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, beginning with their hire date.
The Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition targeted Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts and KFC in the Brockton rally – and similar rallies around the state Thursday – saying the two companies have lobbied against the legislation.
Theresa Forte, a public relations manager for the Main Street shop, said the company had no comment. The Dunkin’ Donuts location is owned by Constantine Scrivanos and The Scrivanos Group.
A Dunkin’ Brands spokesman said individual franchises make their own decisions over sick leave, wages, vacations and benefits.
“They are required to comply with all state, federal and local laws,” spokesman McCall Gosselin added in an email.
Robert Branca Jr., chairman of the state political action committee, Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise Owners Mass PAC, said the committee has no official position on the bill.
But Branca, who employs close to 400 at various franchises, said he personally is against the legislation because he already has worked with his employees to give them leave time.
“We’ve worked out together what works for us, and for the Legislature to impose something on our relationship – I don’t think that’s fair and I don’t think it’s an informed position,” Branca said.
Branca wrote a letter in March stating his opposition to the legislation.
Alex Bloom may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READ MORE about this issue.