My name is Michael Cockrell. I've been a cook in the restaurant industry for 13 years. I'm here with the Restaurant Opportunities Center to speak in favor of earned sick days.
Sick days are a benefit that will have helped me many times during my career by allowing me to take care of myself and my 17-year-old son without risking my job. I took -- I'm sorry. I took -- at my last job I was slicing tomatoes and I cut myself. I was bleeding badly. I left the station, washed it out, and wrapped it up and waited about 20 minutes for the bleeding to stop. I took the wrap off and I was scared to find out that it had not stopped. It was still bleeding so bad, I couldn't even put a Band-Aid on it.
I showed the kitchen manager, and he told me that it was too busy to let me go. If I would have left, I could have been fired. I had to keep cooking and washing dishes for three hours in that condition. Finally, after work, I went to the emergency room and got some stitches.
Another instance, last year I had to take my son to the emergency room because he had severe -- had a severe asthma attack. I called the restaurant 24 hours before my shift and told them that I couldn't make it until he got out of the hospital. When I returned, the kitchen manager gave me a hard time and threatened to write me up, which could have resulted in my termination.
Everyone gets sick. The earned sick leave bill will prevent workers from being disciplined for being sick. Restaurant workers work hard. This bill would allow us to earn sick time so that we can take care of ourselves and our families.