Among the supporters for Initiative 300 is Denver resident Laura Baker. Baker, 24, has been working part-time as a barista at Starbucks for more than a year, a job she says she enjoys very much. She's on the company's health plan but has no sick days. Though she doesn't like to admit it, she's gone into work sick at times and handled customers' drinks.
She feels guilty about it, but she says she can't afford to miss a day of work. If she doesn't work, she doesn't get paid.
"If I work an 8-hour shift I make about $65," Baker says. "That's enough to pay my utilities for an entire month, or groceries for a couple of weeks. It has a very real impact if I miss my shift."
"I care deeply about my customers," she adds. "It freaks me out to think I may be infecting them with what I have, but the reality is we have to survive. That means going to work sick." Baker says the economic downturn doesn't diminish the need for sick days so much as reinforce it, arguing that workers should be able to miss a day's work due to illness without worrying they'll be replaced. She says she's "appalled" by the restaurant industry's opposition to the law.