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The Shop Stewards Guide to Counseling and Representing Pregnant Workers

August 11, 2016

Shop stewards play a key role in ensuring that pregnant women receive the full protections of their collective bargaining agreements and state and federal worker-protective laws. Too often, when women become pregnant, employers push them out of the job or deny them minor changes needed to continue working safely. Women are a growing demographic of workers represented by unions. Ensuring their fair and equal treatment on the job promotes goals fundamental to the labor movement – worker safety, job security, and wage protection. This manual provides shop stewards the tools they need to effectively represent pregnant workers. It provides practical tips for counseling them about critical workplace issues. It explains the laws and common contractual provisions that may assist pregnant women who have been discriminated against or who need reasonable accommodations to continue working while maintaining a healthy pregnancy. And it provides guidance on grieving contractual violations on behalf of pregnant workers. Last, it provides contact information for organizations that can provide free advice if you need more information. The laws and contractual provisions discussed in this manual provide legal rights, but pregnant workers benefit from these protections only when they are enforced. It's the job of the shop steward to empower workers and demand employer compliance. This manual is meant to guide you in educating pregnant workers and enforcing their hard-won rights.

Families and Flexibility: Building the 21st Century Workplace

September 1, 2015

This report details the findings of a survey of working New Yorkers -- conducted by the Comptroller's Office, in partnership with A Better Balance -- designed to provide policymakers with insight into how flexible work arrangements are, or are not, being used by individuals and businesses throughout the city. It is intended to gauge the need for workplace reforms, including but not limited to, legislation establishing the "right to request" FWA's, paid family leave, and advance notification of schedules. The survey, while non-scientific, yielded over 1,100 responses from residents of all five boroughs working in a range of industries, from professional services and education, to health care, retail, and construction between June and August 2015. The results suggest that New Yorkers from all walks of life face an untenable tension between their professional and personal responsibilities, and that a new model of work is needed to ensure that parents can remain in the workforce, families have the flexibility to care for loved ones of all ages, and workers of every stripe have the opportunity to succeed.

Time for a Change: The Case for LGBT-Inclusive Workplace Leave Laws and Nondiscrimination Protections

November 1, 2013

When Americans need time off work to recover from illness, bond with a new child, or care for a seriously ill family member, they often discover that their jobs provide little or no support. These important life moments can be especially difficult for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers to navigate. LGBT workers who need time off for personal health or family caregiving reasons often find themselves lost in a maze of legal questions:Am I entitled to any leave from work, and if so, is it job-protected and/or paid?Do any federal, state, or local laws provide protection or guarantee paid leave?Are my family relationships recognized under the law or my employer's personnel policies?Can I be fired from my job for disclosing that I am in a same-sex relationship or have an LGBT family?In April 2013, A Better Balance issued a comprehensive report to address these critical questions. Given significant developments in the law regarding LGBT Americans, as well as passage of several new state and local workplace leave laws, A Better Balance released this updated version of the report in November 2013.