Letters to the Editor: May 9, 2012

Fire­fight­ers are grate­ful for pub­lic sup­port
To the cit­izens of Phil­adelphia:
As you all know, this has been a very rough time for the mem­bers of our uni­on. The men and wo­men fire­fight­ers and para­med­ics of Loc­al 22 have suffered a tra­gic loss. I am humbled by the out­pour­ing of sym­pathy and sup­port shown by you, the cit­izens of this great city.
Your gen­er­os­ity, kind­ness and em­pathy have had a pro­found im­pact on our mem­bers, and though we will be in mourn­ing for some time, you have shown us all that the sac­ri­fice these men made does not go un­ap­pre­ci­ated by you.
When we lose a mem­ber in the line of duty it is nev­er easy. We chose a pro­fes­sion — no, a call­ing — where we go out each day to try and help our fel­low cit­izens, and when we lose one of our own in the pro­cess, it really hits home. We are faced with the dangers of our pro­fes­sion day in and day out. We as fire­fight­ers and para­med­ics have answered the call to put ourselves in harm’s way to pro­tect the lives and the prop­erty of our city.
One thing that we did not sign up for is to have the very city we have sworn to pro­tect at­tempt to sys­tem­at­ic­ally cut the ne­ces­sary re­sources it takes for our mem­bers to do their jobs in a man­ner that is not only safe for you the cit­izen, but for our mem­bers.
We ap­pre­ci­ate all that you the cit­izens of Phil­adelphia have done for us. Your pray­ers and your kind­ness have helped us be­gin to heal. Re­mem­ber that we are al­ways there for you, and I will nev­er for­get how you have been there for us.
Bill Gault
Pres­id­ent, Loc­al 22 IAFF

Par­ents of kids with aut­ism need sick days
There is an idea cir­cu­lat­ing in City Coun­cil right now that holds spe­cial sig­ni­fic­ance for me, and for many par­ents of aut­ist­ic chil­dren. This idea, that all work­ers should have the abil­ity to earn paid sick days, would give par­ents more op­por­tun­it­ies to care for their chil­dren. All work­ing par­ents face chal­lenges, but to care for a spe­cial needs child, I need the flex­ib­il­ity to take a few sick days every year to care for my son.
Kids with aut­ism spec­trum dis­orders need more doc­tors’ med­ic­al ap­point­ments, more ser­vices and more par­ti­cip­a­tion from their par­ents. To give my son the sup­port he needs, I have to meet reg­u­larly with spe­cial­ists and par­ti­cip­ate in the plan­ning pro­cess. Doc­tors’ of­fices don’t al­ways op­er­ate around my work sched­ule, so it’s im­port­ant for me to be able to take time off so I can work around their sched­ule.
My em­ploy­er un­der­stands that health is­sues some­times come up dur­ing work­ing hours. She knows that the abil­ity to take time off means that I have less to juggle so I’m more pro­duct­ive at the of­fice. She would rather provide a few sick days than to have to hire and train someone new. For busi­nesses that provide paid sick days, the lower turnover and lower hir­ing and train­ing costs can more than off­set the cost of a few ab­sences every year.
But for too many fam­il­ies, the abil­ity to earn sick days doesn’t ex­ist. The fam­il­ies I feel for the most are the ones with young kids. Early de­tec­tion of aut­ism spec­trum dis­orders is key to bet­ter out­comes, and signs of aut­ism of­ten be­gin to show up between ages 2 and 3. Yet work­ing par­ents who can’t earn sick days are about twice as likely to delay med­ic­al care for a fam­ily mem­ber or forgo it al­to­geth­er. Adults who can’t take time off work are also more likely to take their kids to the emer­gency room for med­ic­al care — and we all end up pay­ing for that. That hurts all of us.
The eco­nomy is hard for fam­il­ies right now, and it’s a tough time to lose a job. We can pro­mote health­i­er work­places and cre­ate job se­cur­ity for fam­il­ies by en­sur­ing all work­ers can earn paid sick days. The bill be­ing dis­cussed in City Coun­cil in­volves a very small num­ber of days that work­ers can earn: one hour of sick time for every 40 hours on the job, and the abil­ity to use up to sev­en earned sick days a year at most.
In Phil­adelphia, more than 200,000 people are work­ing without the be­ne­fit of paid sick days. They are moth­ers and fath­ers, sons and daugh­ters, grand­mas and grand­pas, sis­ters, broth­ers, uncles and aunts. The abil­ity to take a day off from work without loss of in­come or the risk of los­ing a job, means that par­ents — and any­one caring for an ill fam­ily mem­ber — can feel se­cure giv­ing their loved ones the care they need.
Lisa Wil­li­ams
Ox­ford Circle

Love Your Moms
Give back the nights Mom ad­mired,
She didn’t sleep be­cause of us,
Give her a rest, her eyes are tired
From tears that she shed not once.

Give back to Mom all those years,
When she was suf­fer­ing and fought
For all mis­for­tunes, all your fail­ures,
For dreams that were not still got.

Pro­long your mom the joy, pleas­ure
Of love, con­tact with every, all,
Pro­long her days on old age,
Present her glad­ness, even small.
Moy­sey Barash

Speak your mind  …
Let­ters to the ed­it­or should be brief and MUST in­clude the writer’s full name along with day­time and even­ing phone num­bers for veri­fic­a­tion pur­poses. An­onym­ous let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Fax: 215-355-4857. E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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