Friday, May 04, 2007

Oregon Senate Passes Pumping at Work Bill

Today, during the first conference of the newly formed Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon, I and 80 other breastfeeding advocates, lactation consultants, peer counselors, and LLL leaders from across the state, took a break from the conference proceedings to watch the live broadcast of the Oregon Senate as it voted to pass the nation's strongest law yet protecting moms who wish to express breastmilk at work, by a vote of 28 to 2. The new law requires employers of 25 or more to provide breastfeeding mothers with 30-minute unpaid breaks every four hours and a private location to pump. While employers can request an exemption if providing such accommodations creates an undue burden, they first must work with the Bureau of Labor and Industry to see if there is a way for the employer to comply. Employers who refuse to comply with the law face a penalty of $1000 per day of violation. The Oregon House passed the measure in March and Governor Kulongoski is expected to sign the bill into law in a public ceremony later this month.

This legislation was authored by Dianne Garrett, a volunteer lobbyist with the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon and mother. She worked tirelessly and with amazing grace, driving regularly from Portland to Salem to meet with lawmakers, drafting amendments that made the law flexible enough to silence objections from its only antagonist (the Association of Oregon Industries, which previously called the bill the greatest threat to Oregon's economic recovery), yet strong enough to provide 70 percent of Oregon's working moms with the accommodations they need to be able to return to work and continue to provide their babies with the food that is their birthright.

What a great day for Oregon's breastfeeding children, moms, and their advocates!


tanya@motherwearblog said...

Hooray! Congratulations to you all!

MamaBean said...

Fan-freaking-tastic. I am so so happy with the righteousness of my new home state (born and raised in Hawaii, I've lived in Oregon since 1995). Thanks to everyone involved for all the hard work.

How does one join or at least read about the activities of the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon?

Sage Femme said...

i'd love to include this post in my practice newsletter - can i? email me at pamela . midwife at for permission, name, etc. :)

Anonymous said...

It should be a given. Hurray it finally is.

Do you know of anybody out there who is taking on the predatory marketing done by the formula companies? The free diaper bags at the hospital, the unsolicited samples to expecting mothers, etc.


laurel said...

hey! i just found your blog when it was mentioned by name in an MSN article online. congrats, and i hope your message continues to grow.

Samina said...

I think your blog is excellent, but I must admit that I find the white font on black background extremely difficult on the eyes. Is there some way for me to change the settings when I read it?

Anonymous said...

I am a breast feeding mother of a 5 month old whom i hope to breast feed until she is a year. But work makes it harder, and harder every month. I personally pump so that i'm not in a situation where i have to nurse in public for my own personal comfort. Not the comfort of those around me, but on the rare occassions when i've had to nurse i cover up. How hard is that. I know every mom has at least 2 blankets and cloth diapers in the trusty diaper bag. Is it really that big a deal to simply put one over your shoulder for the half hour of feeding time. And i know that to can be a pain at 5 months my little girl dosent want something over her head. But she'd also rather eat then not eat when shes hungry so if i put it there she usually leaves the cover alone.

I'm not saying you should have to feed in a dark corner somewhere. Or leave the mall, library, movies, store etc.... but really is it asking to much to at least while your making your stand for the right to feed, to cover up? Forget the adults that are "grossed out" by such a public display of natural normal healthy mother child behavior. What about the 5 year old who watches and then goes home with questions for their parents or worse to school with tales for all the other students. Is it really fair for our actions to force some other parents to have a talk with their kids about breast feeding the human body and sexuality before their ready?

kevinpeterson said...

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