Hannah Sassaman: Comcast vs. Paid Sick Days for Philadelphians

In a recent Philadelphia Weekly, Randy LoBasso wrote about the Comcast Corporation’s decision to lobby the City of Philadelphia against a paid sick-leave bill set to be introduced in January 2013.  If the bill looks anything like a similar measure vetoed by Mayor Michael Nutter in June 2011, it would, if passed, require employers of five or more employees to provide four or more days of sick leave a year, and employers of ten or more employees to provide seven paid sick days per year.

Comcast reported in October that their third-quarter profits more than doubled, and the price of shares of the company has increased by 58% this year.  A considerable portion of their profits are coming directly from consumers of their internet, phone, and television services; including consumers in the Philadelphia region.

“Why is Comcast resisting a proposal that would provide Philadelphia residents, including its consumers, with the basic human right to not work while sick, or to care for sick loved ones?  Comcast is trying to win more consumers of its products amongst poor and working people in Philadelphia with its Internet Essentials program,” said MMP’s Digital Justice Coordinator Bryan Mercer; describing a program allowing low-income Philadelphians with school-age children to purchase internet services from Comcast at less than $10/month.  “But these same Philadelphians, along with 40 million other Americans, have to work sick, pay for expensive child or elder care for family members kept home sick, or risk losing pay or their jobs if they miss a day of work.”

Media Mobilizing Project, as a member of the Media Action Grassroots Network, has worked to shed light on practices or proposals by Comcast that would censor content online or that would keep affordable, reliable internet services away from poor communities in Philadelphia and nationwide.  As part of our Media and Communications Institutes and at trainings hosted at our open computer labs, KEYSPOTS, MMP trains poor and working Philadelphians on basic internet access, mediamaking skills, and media literacy and justice principles; including the impact of corporate mediamakers on our families and communities. 

 

Hannah Sassaman is an organizer, trainer in communications and legislative planning and strategy, and member of Media Mobilizing Project's Grassroots Fundraising Committee, who is now also working with MMP as Strategic Development Consultant.  As the longtime Campaign Director at the Prometheus Radio Project, Hannah helped lead and design the grassroots organizing and legislative strategy that resulted in the passage of the Local Community Radio Act–a bill that will open up the FM dial to potentially thousands more community radio stations nationwide.  

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Center for Media Justice

Launched in 2008, the Center for Media Justice is building a national movement for media rights, access, and representation powered by the grassroots leadership and cultural strategies of communities of color, low-income families, and social justice organizations.