Paid Sick Time Ballot Initiative​s Win Big in Tuesday’s Election

A Better Balance the work and family legal center.
Paid Sick Time Ballot Initiatives Win Big in Tuesday’s Election
On Tuesday, paid sick time was on the ballot in 4 elections, and we won all of them! Massachusetts is now the 3rd state to guarantee paid sick time statewide, which is wonderful news for the nearly 1 million workers in the state who currently lack paid sick time. Two cities in NJ, Montclair and Trenton, passed paid sick time laws, bringing the total number of cities in NJ with such laws to 8 (all passed in the last year!). And in California, voters in Oakland passed an expansive paid sick time ballot measure. We’re especially thrilled with the huge margins of support for each ballot initiative: approximately 60% of the vote in Massachusetts, 85% in Montclair, 75% in Trenton, and 81% in Oakland.
A Better Balance has provided legal research, bill drafting, and other technical support to all of these campaigns and can’t wait to build on the incredible momentum from these wins. But we couldn’t do it without such incredible supporters and campaign partners! For background and to learn more about these 4 paid sick time ballot initiatives, check out our recent blog post.
The Pregnancy Penalty: How Motherhood Drives Inequality & Poverty in New York City
In Case You Missed It
October was also an exciting and busy month for ABB’s efforts on behalf of pregnant workers.   The New York Times’ Rachel Swarns featured our client, Angelica Valencia, in “The Working Life Column,” which garnered over 800 reader comments and an offer from Angelica’s employer to reinstate her.  Our latest report—The Pregnancy Penalty: How Motherhood Drives Inequality and Poverty in New York City—was featured, along with ABB Co-President Dina Bakst and ABB Community Advocate Award recipient, Armanda Legros, on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.  And our new website resource for pregnant and parenting workers was highlighted in the New York Times and Washington Post.  We’re thrilled to see the media focusing on this issue and expect the coverage to continue next month as the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Peggy Young v. UPS. Stay tuned!

ABB Client Armanda Legros Testifies Before U.S. Senate Subcommitt​ee!

Armanda Legros, ABB Client & Community Advocate, testifies before the U.S. Senate HELP Committee
Dear Friend,
Two weeks ago, we honored ABB client Armanda Legros from Queens, NY for her inspiring advocacy on behalf of working families. By sharing her own story of pregnancy discrimination and speaking out for others like her, Armanda has become a powerful voice in the fight for fairness in the workplace.
Today, Armanda brought her message to Washington D.C., where she testified in a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and other protections for working families. We are excited by this movement in the Committee, but we need your help to make the PWFA a reality. Armanda also spoke about the importance of paid sick time and paid family leave. ABB will continue to fight for the PWFA and paid leave, so that no worker has to face the impossible choice between their economic security and taking care of their family.
“If you truly value families, and children,” Armanda told the Committee, “then you have to make sure that the women who bear those children and raise them can earn the fair and equal wages we need to support them.”
We are so proud to work with such a dedicated activist and would like to thank Armanda for her courage and leadership. The rest of Armanda’s testimony is available here.
Thank you for all that you do,
Sherry, Dina, Phoebe, Jared, Liz, Elizabeth, Risha, Rachel, Morenike & Meredith

Turn up the heat on McDonald’s

Let’s take to Twitter and tell McDonald’s there’s no excuse to continue buying palm oil that pollutes our atmosphere and drives forest destruction.

Turn Up the Heat on McDonald’s

Add your voice to publicly call out McDonald’s and tell them that—for the sake of our atmosphere, tropical forests, and endangered species—the time to act on deforestation-free palm oil is now.

Tell McDonald’s: It’s Time to Go Deforestation-Free!


Today, on National Fast Food Day, we need your help to turn up the heat on McDonald’s. Let’s take to Twitter to publicly call McDonald’s out.

As our report Donuts, Deodorant, Deforestation: Scoring America’s Top Brands on Their Palm Oil Commitments documented, a new standard for responsible palm oil—one that protects tropical forests and our climate—has emerged. As tropical forests are cleared to make way for plantations for palm oil production, carbon is released into the atmosphere, driving global warming and shrinking habitats for endangered species. Tropical deforestation currently accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions.

More than 28,000 UCS supporters like you told six of America’s top brands that there’s no excuse to continue buying palm oil that pollutes our atmosphere and drives forest destruction.

And five out of six listened! Thanks to your letters, Dunkin’ Brands (owner of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins), Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and PepsiCo released or strengthened their palm oil policies. Everyone, that is, except McDonald’s.

National Fast Food Day

McDonald’s continues to use palm oil that could be wreaking havoc on our environment. As the largest fast food company in the world, McDonald’s should set the bar high and make a firm commitment to use only deforestation-free palm oil. Instead, they continue to stall.

Join our mass mobilization by tweeting our graphic telling McDonald’s that—for the sake of our atmosphere, tropical forests, and endangered species—the time to act is now. If you’re not on Twitter, you can still get involved.

Together, we are holding corporations accountable and transforming the palm oil industry.

Miriam Swaffer
Miriam Swaffer
Outreach Coordinator
Tropical Forest & Climate Initiative
Union of Concerned Scientists

P.S. McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food laggard who continues to use palm oil that could be wreaking havoc on our environment. Join nearly 50,000 UCS supporters in telling the largest global fast food chains—including McDonald’s, Burger King, Yum! Brands, Wendy’s, Subway, CKE Restaurants (Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., La Salsa, and Green Burrito), Starbucks, Dairy Queen, and Domino’s—that for the sake of our atmosphere, tropical forests, and endangered species, now is the time to adopt strong deforestation-free and peat-free palm oil policies!

Pass the #AmericansJOBsACT

WethepeopleWhat every voter wanted but gave their power up to Republicans #MidTerm2014Mattered

Getting America Working Again

I support the American Jobs Act

To create jobs, the President unveiled the American Jobs Act – nearly all of which is made up of ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and that Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now.

The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans – without adding a dime to the deficit.

Open Enrollment Starts

whitehouselogoIn this week’s address, the President reminded Americans that Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins this weekend. In the past year more than 10 million people have gained health insurance, including more than seven million who enrolled in Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. They are proof that the Affordable Care Act is working, making health care more affordable, accessible, and of higher quality for millions of people. The President encouraged all Americans to take advantage of open enrollment, and remind their friends and families to do so as well.

Click here to watch this week’s Weekly Address.

Need health insurance? Go to right now.

Watch: President Obama delivers the weekly address.

The Week in Six Minutes: “The Future That We See”

This week, the President issued a statement on net neutrality, and convened both congressional leaders and his Cabinet to discuss the agenda in the years ahead. He also dove into an eight-day trip to China, Burma, and Australia to foster deeper relations with countries around the Pacific and open up markets and opportunities for businesses here at home.


See more from the President's trip here.



President Obama Wraps Up His Visit to China

This week, the President is traveling to Asia and Australia to highlight our country’s trade and investment ties to the region, and its critical role in our future economic growth and generating American jobs.

President Obama’s first stop was Beijing, China, where he attended the 2014 APEC Leaders’ Summit, met with leaders of countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and made historic progress on climate change with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

See more from the President's trip here.


A Free and Open Internet

The Internet has unlocked possibilities that we could just barely imagine a generation ago. A big reason why we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation is “net neutrality” — the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all Internet traffic equally.

That’s why President Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality. The President’s plan would reclassify consumer broadband services under what’s known as Title II of the Telecommunications Act, and would work to “ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.”

Watch the President's full remarks here.