With another school year underway, cold and flu season is just right around the corner. Our kids are sharing toys, learning in close quarters and getting sick is practically unavoidable when these germs follow them home. Thanks to the Chicago City Council and county commissioners who took concrete steps this year to make paid sick time the law, working parents won’t have to worry about missing a day’s pay if they can’t go to work when their child is at home sick.

As of July 1, Chicago and Cook County now have paid sick time laws on the books, allowing all workers to earn paid sick days to use if they or a family member is sick. As a working single mom, I know firsthand how big a victory this is for workers with school-age kids.

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Two years ago, when the polar vortex hit Chicago, my son’s school was closed due to a weather emergency. I had little notice of the school closure and couldn’t find child care for my son, so I had no choice but to stay home from work. The next day, I went into work to find out that I had been fired. It was devastating to lose my job over something that was largely out of my control. Now thanks to the new laws, part-time, full-time, hourly and salary workers can earn paid time off to use in instances like mine and not be afraid to lose their job.

While these laws are a great victory for workers, many Cook County suburbs with home rule authority have elected to opt out of the paid sick time laws, denying working people this important right. Workers, employers and elected officials need to continue working together to make paid sick time available for ALL workers across the region. Passing paid sick time laws at the State level would be a great way to achieve this.

Rhiannon Broschat, Logan Square

Riling the voters

Teach moderation, Michael Bloomberg and Toni Preckwinkle, instead of telling us how good the one-cent-an-ounce tax is. Picture a mother of four who is barely making it buying a 12-pack of pop or diet soda every week for the four kids and spending an extra $1.44 each week, or $74.88 per year.

Yes $74.88 a year, for drinking pop in moderation. It would make more sense to rescind the tax and donate the millions to the diabetes foundation if you are so interested in saving the children. The more you run the ads, the more ticked off the voters get.

Pete Bellendir, Lombard

Nauseating display

Wow! How nauseating it is that everyone is falling all over themselves to get Amazon to bring its version of worker servitude here. Quiet, we don’t want our betters like the CEO of the monolith that is Amazon to know that we are aware of how they crush efforts to unionize and are abhorrent in the way they treat their employees. No, it’s much more important to beg that Amazon grace us with their largess no matter the cost to the working person. Profit before people and corporations over the working person must be always our civic mantra.

Edward David Juillard, Morgan Park

Insulting ad

No matter which side of the soda tax a person supports, one has to wonder about the tactics being employed to put forth a case. Unfortunately for the Cook County Board right now a campaign that was to support their position has now come to border on the ridiculous.

In a continually running ad a physician puts forth the case about children’s health as a result of ingesting the sugary drinks. However, at the beginning of the ad, she states that she sees obesity in children under the age of five. Obviously that is not a result of children running out and purchasing can after can of sugary soda. If the child is obese, blame the parents not the soda industry.

At what point are parents responsible for what their children eat and drink? The ad is insulting to anyone with an ounce of intelligence. Further these drinks did not become a problem overnight. All of a sudden sugar threatens our children’s health. Never mind what candy and sugar sweetened cereals as presenting the same health hazard. If Cook County wants to defend its position let them do it logically and reasonably.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

Learn more about rheumatic disease

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report estimates that one in four Americans lives with a rheumatic disease. As a rheumatologist, I see these individuals every day, and chances are you know someone who is affected. Many don’t look sick, but managing rheumatic disease is a life-long struggle that can make simple tasks difficult.

Early intervention and treatment from a rheumatologist can improve the quality of life for people with rheumatic diseases. I encourage my community members to learn more about rheumatic diseases and their signs and symptoms during Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month this September. The American College of Rheumatology has useful information and easy ways to get involved at http://www.SimpleTasks.org.

Ofelya Gevorgyan, Loop