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“Contagion” Spurs Hand-Washing Epidemic; Sick Day Advocacy

"Contagion" Spurs Hand-Washing Epidemic; Sick Day Advocacy

The producers of “Contagion” may have expected a rash of hand-washing wherever the film has screened, but here’s one unintended consequence of the new Steven Soderbergh pandemic thriller: Worker’s rights advocates are using the film to push for more sick days in the work-place.

In a viral video agit-doc (see below) launched this week, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Boston Public Health Commission, says, “In our country, everyone has the right to stay home when they’re sick. But they just don’t have the right to get paid, or keep their job.”

Produced by the organization Family Values @ Work, the short movie 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. According to the organization, 44 million American workers — including three out of every four food service workers — don’t have paid sick days, and hence threaten our lives every minute!

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