Passing the Torch: An Important Update from Dina and Sherry

After 18 years of leading A Better Balance, we will be stepping down as Co-Presidents in mid-2024. While this wasn’t an easy decision, we know we are leaving A Better Balance in a position of great strength.
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Almost two decades ago, as women’s rights and poverty lawyers—and importantly, as mothers—we recognized that caregiving was woefully undervalued under our nation’s laws and in society as a whole. It was clear that until supports were in place to guarantee that workers could adequately balance work and caring for themselves and their loved ones, women would continue to struggle for equality. It was painfully obvious that those at the lower end of the economic spectrum would have to make impossible choices between the care of those who relied on them and their economic survival. We believed that the power of the law could be used to help make the changes we knew were needed.

It is with that vision that we founded A Better Balance in 2005. We are so proud of what we have built, and as we take a moment to reflect on how far we have come, we feel such hope for this organization’s future and profound gratitude for all those who have been there with us along the way. Together, with the amazing team at A Better Balance and with so many wonderful fellow advocates, supporters, and government leaders, we have truly made history, demonstrating that positive change can and does happen when people come together and fight for what is right.

Now, after 18 years of leading A Better Balance, we will be stepping down as Co-Presidents in mid-2024. While this wasn’t an easy decision, we know we are leaving A Better Balance in a position of great strength. Our mission is as vital and resonant as ever and we continue to make huge strides for work-family justice every day. We have an incredible staff, Board of Directors, and a community of supporters like you. We are so excited for the next chapter of A Better Balance, and we know the organization will reach even greater heights in the years ahead.

We are proud of this organization’s pioneering efforts and many accomplishments over the years. Most importantly, we are proud of the lives that we’ve touched. Just last year, after first calling for a legislative fix in the New York Times a decade ago and leading a movement ever since, we passed the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Thanks to the PWFA, millions of workers nationwide—especially women in low-wage and male-dominated jobs, disproportionately expecting and new moms of color—now have the right to the workplace accommodations they need during pregnancy and after childbirth, so they are no longer forced to choose between protecting their health, or the health of their pregnancies, and keeping their jobs. Another bill we championed, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, passed at the same time, changing the landscape of labor rights for breastfeeding workers.

And, since the founding of ABB in 2005, when zero paid sick time policies and only one state paid family leave law existed, we have made huge strides toward ensuring every worker has the time they need to give and receive care. Today, 17 states and dozens of localities guarantee paid sick time, and 14 states provide comprehensive paid family and medical leave—protecting millions of individuals from being forced to choose between caring for themselves, a sick child, or seriously ill loved one, and earning a paycheck. We have drafted almost all of these laws and provided the support needed to workers and partners on the ground to help get them over the finish line. And we have continued to work ceaselessly to ensure that all of the laws we have helped pass are effectively implemented to serve the families they were enacted to protect.

We are also particularly proud of the direct legal services we have provided to workers through our free legal helpline, our groundbreaking educational resources for workers struggling to understand and assert their rights, as well as our impactful strategic litigation efforts. In addition, we will forever be thankful for our brave Community Advocates, in every corner of the country, who have used their powerful voices to share their stories and to demand change.

These policy victories, as well as the help we have given to individuals, immediately improved the lives of millions and at the same time changed the conversation about what is possible and necessary to advance gender, racial, and economic justice in this country.

There is still so much work that remains to be done. It is outrageous that for too many workers—especially those with the fewest resources—a new baby, a serious illness, or attending to any of life’s important moments can still spell financial ruin. We know that A Better Balance will continue to be a critical part of the solution—grounding our society in the values that bring justice and economic security to everyone.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this vital organization. We are conducting a formal executive search and we will share further announcements about new leadership and our own plans in the months ahead. Thank you so much for joining us in this struggle, and for being our friends and partners. One of the best parts of the last 18 years has been working with all of you. 

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