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Mothers Meet for Family Care and Workplace Rights

April 7, 2008

Hauppauge, NY - Sometimes, working parents find it hard to stand up for their rights -- because they're too tired to stand up! The National Association of Mothers' Centers (NAMC) held its national conference this weekend in Hauppague to consider many of the issues that affect working families, from politics to workplace rights.

NAMC's Linda Lisi-Juergens says even today, a working mother's "caregiver status" can jeopardize her job prospects.

"Profiling happens when employers ask if you are married and have children. Luckily in New York State, we have a law that prohibits that -- but in 26 other states, it is not illegal, so mothers are discriminated against because they're seen as 'less serious' employees."

But the conference wasn't about a "gender agenda," emphasizes Lisi-Juergens. Attendees considered the rights of both women and men, who take care of children and grandparents, and who have equally pressing needs for family leave and freedom from discrimination.

"It does affect both men and women. At this point, more women have the caregiving responsibilities, but that is very slowly changing, and more men are stepping up to do it. They're fearful of the same kinds of discrimination."

Conference participant Lisa Weber is a working mom from the Schenectady area. As a former legislative aide, she says she's been monitoring Albany's progress toward a paid family leave plan.

"Last year, the bill passed the Assembly, and it was not even voted on in the state Senate. We're hoping that this year, after the budget negotiations are finished, that the legislature will take this up, and the state Senate will be convinced to vote on this before they leave in June."

NAMC's Web site is www.motherscenter.org.

Robert Knight/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NY