On January 21, ABB staff joined hundreds of thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, and Nashville, TN, to send a clear message of unity in defense of our core values. In Nashville, post-march, we lead a teach-in focused on the legal rights of Tennessee women and caregivers, particularly low-wage workers and other marginalized groups, and how those rights might be threatened or bolstered in the future. As part of our response to the new Administration, we have launched a Federal Watch blog series where we will respond to developments in Washington, D.C. that seek to roll back women’s rights, workers’ rights, and threaten our core values of fairness and economic security for all families. Check out our latest on the nomination of Senator Sessions to lead the Department of Justice. We are committed to defending federal laws and policies that have opened doors to opportunity for millions as we continue to push for more family-friendly reforms at the state and local level.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Efforts Push Ahead
Despite the dramatic shifts in Washington, D.C., we continue to push ahead to advance paid leave at the state and local level. In December, the District of Columbia passed a paid family and medical leave law, which will provide private sector workers there with wage replacement for up to eight weeks to bond with a new child, up to six weeks to care for a loved one with a serious health condition, and up to two weeks for the worker’s own serious health condition. In New York, where paid family leave will go into effect in January 2018, we are employing roundtable discussions among health professionals, workers advocates, and veterans groups, among others, to educate the public about the new law and gather feedback for effective implementation. Our first fact sheet for New Yorkers looking to take paid family leave is now available on our website in English and en Espanol. We anticipate a busy year as we work with allies in more than eight other states on paid leave legislation that will be introduced in 2017. Stay tuned!
Empowering Women in the South
On January 27th, we presented a successful community public education event, “Women in the Workplace: Know Your Rights!” This event, held in Nashville, TN, was coordinated with our partners at the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor. It included an introduction to the status of working women in the South as well as presentations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division. Elizabeth Gedmark, Director of the Southern Office of A Better Balance, presented on pregnancy and caregiver discrimination. Speakers particularly focused on the rights of vulnerable populations, such as undocumented workers. The event drew a diverse and engaged crowd, and provided an opportunity to learn, to ask questions, and to network and make personal connections.
Voices from the Clinic
“I’ve been working at my job for two years. I told my employer I was pregnant and his response to me was that I have to resign my job if I’m going full term with my pregnancy and I was given 48 hours to let him know my decision. I cried cause I didn’t want to lose my job so I started to research the laws of pregnancy in the workplace and I found a pamphlet on the A Better Balance website that was really helpful. I called the number on the pamphlet, explained my situation and that was the best decision I ever made. I was represented by ABB, I get to keep my job, I got a workplace accommodation, and I kept my work hours. Help was there every step of the way — it’s like I was never in this alone. Now I feel confident and more comfortable than ever in my workplace.”