Belabored #74: Labor Pains, with Melissa Josephs and Latavia Johnson

Belabored #74: Labor Pains, with Melissa Josephs and Latavia Johnson

Following last week’s Supreme Court decision that UPS had unfairly denied a pregnant worker reasonable accommodations on the job, Belabored talked with Melissa Josephs, from Women Employed, an Illinois-based organization that successfully campaigned for a new state law to protect pregnant worker’s rights, and Latavia Johnson, a Walmart worker in Illinois.

Subscribe to the Belabored RSS feed here. Subscribe and rate on iTunes here or on Stitcher here. Check out the full Belabored archive here. Tweet at @dissentmag with #belabored to share your thoughts, or join the conversation on Facebook. Belabored is produced by Natasha Lewis.

What to expect when you’re expecting? Not much if you’re a low-wage working woman who happens to be pregnant, and your boss doesn’t understand the law. Last week, however, a UPS worker named Peggy Young was vindicated when the Supreme Court ruled the company had unfairly denied her reasonable accommodations on the job. Though the ruling came down long after her baby was born, it adds momentum to a nationwide push for basic protections for pregnant people’s rights at work—bolstered by new regulatory guidelines for pregnant workers and enhancements to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On the ground, it’s a much bumpier road, even though it’s become increasingly common for women to work during their pregnancy. We hear from Latavia Johnson, a Walmart worker in Illinois, and Melissa Josephs, Director of Equal Opportunity Policy at Women Employed, an Illinois-based organization that successfully campaigned for a new state law to protect pregnant worker’s rights.

In other news, we talk about Silicon Valley’s sexism problems in the wake of the Ellen Pao verdict, the next moves in the Fight for 15, and labor struggles around school reform and credit checks for job applications in New York. With recommended reading on dreaming of a new world of sports, and a report on the real-life nightmares faced by minimum wage workers.

News

Five Things to Know About McDonald’s Wage Announcement (Fight For $15)

Sarah: Is There Anything to Gain From Ellen Pao’s Loss? (DAME)

Bumpy Road for Bill to Ban Credit Checks for Job Applicants (New York Times)

NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment

Cuomo Gets Deals on Tenure and Evaluations of Teachers (New York Times)

Budget Deal Includes Tax Breaks For Luxury Yachts, Private Planes (The Albany Project)

Conversation:

Melissa Josephs of Women Employed and Walmart worker Latavia Johnson

Michelle: The Unexpected Burden of Pregnancy at Work (The Nation)

Michelle: Should You Lose Your Job Just Because You’re Pregnant? (The Nation)

Michelle: Pregnant Women Just Earned More Workplace Rights in Illinois (The Nation)

Michelle: Walmart’s Pregnancy Policy May Make You Sick (The Nation)

Sarah: A Load Off the Minds (And Feet) of Pregnant Workers in NYC (In These Times)

Sarah: Opting for Free Time (In These Times)

Peggy Young’s Victory Is Not Enough (U.S. News)

Police Officer Forced Onto Leave That Will Run Out Before Her Baby Is Even Born (ThinkProgress)

Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!

Michelle: Chico Harlan, After a story is published, a minimum wage worker loses her job (Washington Post)

Sarah: Dave Zirin, A World of Sports Worth Fighting For (The Nation)


Lima