International Women's Day sparks rally in Montpelier - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

International Women's Day sparks rally in Montpelier

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A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday.

A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.

"At my job as a personal care attendant, I had the flu and I couldn't afford to take the day off," said Heather Getty of the Vermont Workers Center.

Speakers recalled personal stories as they asked for state representatives to pass bill H208 which would allow all workers, including temporary and part-time workers, to accrue paid sick time.

A representative for Senator Bernie Sanders read a letter showing his support of the issue.

"And today, while women have made significant gains, they still make only 77 cents for every dollar men make and continue to face discrimination in the work place and are still under represented in positions of political and economic power," the letter read.

The group singled out one politician in particular.

"Who has the power to make the call but stands in the way of rights for all?" asked a speaker at the event.

"Shumlin Shumlin Shumlin Shumlin Shumlin," chanted the crowd.

The group says having paid sick days is especially important for those parents who have low income jobs and have to make the choice between staying home with their sick child or putting food on the table.

"When a kid is sick it can be a crisis for the whole family if a parent doesn't have paid sick days to be able to care for their child," said Sarah Weintraub.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations oppose mandatory paid sick leave saying that it increases the cost of doing business and that it would force them to reduce hours and staff.

Although this rally was held on International Women's Day - the group says they are pushing for paid sick days for men and women.

"The bill that we want passed is universal, every single worker - we don't want anyone excluded from the right to paid sick days. It's really a right," Weintraub said.

A right that this group says is the cure ailing employees need.

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