Today, the White House held an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act and celebrate passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act—two groundbreaking updates in our federal workplace laws that will combat discrimination and promote the health and economic security of women and families nationwide. The event stream is available here.
As a leader in the decade-long campaign to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, A Better Balance was particularly proud to join the White House to celebrate this pivotal victory for gender, racial, and economic justice. We are especially gratified by the White House’s recognition of the women who have been personally affected by pregnancy discrimination and have played leading roles in passing pregnant workers fairness laws in their home states and now, on the federal level. We also applaud the President for signing a memorandum today in support of improving access to family and medical leave for federal employees.
Natasha Jackson, a Community Advocate with A Better Balance and a mother in South Carolina, gave remarks and introduced President Biden at the event, telling her powerful story of being forced off the job while pregnant and explaining what the law’s passage meant to her.
“This victory is personal to me. When I was three months pregnant, and the only woman working at my branch of a home rental furniture company, I asked my employer to let me to do less heavy lifting. I thought it would be an easy yes. Instead – I lost my job,” Jackson said.
I was our primary breadwinner. We just made a down payment on a house. Without my income, we backed out of that, and ended up homeless and needing emergency public housing. All in a matter of months.”
Two other A Better Balance Community Advocates, Armanda Legros and Lyndi Trischler, attended the event along with the organization’s Co-Presidents, Dina Bakst and Sherry Leiwant.
These advancements are “about being a country where women and all people can both work and raise a family,” said President Biden in his remarks.
“We are grateful to the White House for lifting up ABB Community Advocate Natasha Jackson’s powerful story and for shining a light on the world of difference the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act will now make to women’s ability to stay attached to the workforce and support their families” says Dina Bakst. “Now, we must continue the fight for work-family justice by ensuring strong enforcement of the PWFA and PUMP Act and by passing other national protections we need like paid family and medical leave for all.”
“I have two daughters and nieces. I am so grateful that they—and millions of workers across the country—won’t have to choose between starting a family or keeping their jobs,” says Natasha Jackson.
“I was so happy when I heard that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act had finally passed–I have always wanted to make sure that what happened to me would never happen again to others,” says Lyndi Trischler, who was pushed off the job when she requested light duty as a police officer in Kentucky.
“It means a lot to me to be here at the White House celebrating–pregnancy discrimination is terrible and far too common; now it will come to an end in this country for working mothers like me,” says Armanda Legros, who was forced out of her job as a armored truck worker in New York after she asked to avoid heavy lifting.
For more information about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act visit here. For more information about the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, visit here. Visit here to learn about A Better Balance’s ongoing campaign to pass paid leave for all as we recognize the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act.