SEATTLE — Vertex Solutions employee and local bassist Gretchen Garcia is leading the fight to expand paid leave to musicians wanting to spend time with their new bands during the critical, newborn bonding stage, escalating the battle this week to Vertex’s H.R. department and management.
“The time and money I’ve spent preparing to start this band is crazy — the practice space alone has cost me hundreds already, but I want to get it just right before the band arrives. I can’t do that if I’m also expected to be on time and competent,” Garcia said in championing the cause and threatening to go public with her demands. “I think the ACLU would be very interested. Or, maybe I could even get a presidential candidate to give it some visibility. Beto O’Rourke seems to care about kids and bands equally, so I’m sure he’d help.”
Fellow employees admitted, however, that they are having trouble rallying around Garcia’s cause.
“I don’t know what to tell her. If we give her paid leave for a new band, what’s next? Gene from Accounting will suddenly want two weeks for his new knitting club,” head of Human Resources Suzanne Poole explained. “Hell, if I could grant this request, I’d start a band just for some time off. How hard can it be?”
Meanwhile, frustrations persist among local musicians in Garcia’s scene, who mostly support her.
“The rampant inequality these employers show new bands is atrocious. The early days of a band are the most important: this is when everyone is learning how they groove together. Studies prove that the more time a band spends together, the less of a chance they break up in the first year,” drummer Dean Hubbard said. “It’s like, if you have a baby, no questions asked. But what artistic value does a baby bring to the community? Our band is a much better economic investment. Plus, I’m pretty bad at my day job, so it’s really in their best interest to give us paid leave.”
At the time of publication, Garcia was scouring her employee benefits package to see if Vertex Solutions offers tour van reimbursements.