Ken Ellis and Strong Families via Change.org


Four years ago, Albuquerque police shot and killed my son, Ken Ellis lll. He was a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran – wounded in action and suffering from severe PTSD – and a father. Nobody has ever been held accountable for his death.

Ken’s not alone – Albuquerque officers have shot and killed at least 27 people since 2010 in a pattern of unnecessary aggression and violence. Even the Department of Justice found that most of the police shootings in Albuquerque between 2010 and 2012 were unconstitutional.

Families & Flexibilit​y, The Supreme Court, Babygate, & Paid Sick Days Victories!


Families & Flexibility

From left to right, Kelly Sakai, Janet Gornick, Dina Bakst, Barbara Wankoff, Marcee Harris Schwartz
Families & Flexibility Forum 
On Monday we co-hosted a forum on Families & Flexibility with NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. We are excited to see this conversation garnering attention and eager to work with city officials to develop solutions in the coming months. Read more

Peggy Young v. UPS
Earlier this month A Better Balance and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) jointly filed a friend of the court (amicus) brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a woman who was forced off her job while pregnant, losing income and her health benefits in the process. Peggy Young worked for UPS in Maryland when she became pregnant and submitted a doctor’s note with a lifting restriction. She was told that she could not have light duty because of a company-wide policy, so she would have to resort to unpaid leave. This was despite the fact that UPS provided light duty to many other workers. Our brief uses real stories to explain to the high court how policies like UPS’s are clearly illegal under the plain text of the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and contrary to Congressional intent. Click here to read more and click here to read the brief.
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Babygate, the Sequel.   
This month the Feminist Press re-published our guidebook for expecting and new parents about their workplace rights.
Babygate: How to Survive Pregnancy and Parenting in the Workplace, has a new cover, updated content and has been generating buzz, from the New Republic and The Maria Shriver Project this summer to the Brian Leher Show on WNYC in September.  Coming up next?  Babygate, the website. Stay tuned!
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ABB Senior Staff Attorney Jared Make (far right) with other advocates after the Paterson law was passed.
Paid Sick Time Victories 
The momentum for paid sick time is undeniable. In the past three months, we have helped to win seven new paid sick time laws across the country! In July, San Diego and Eugene (Oregon) both passed paid sick time laws. In September, California became the second state to legally guarantee paid sick time for its workers! This statewide victory will extend paid sick time to more than six million workers in California who currently receive no paid sick days for personal or family health reasons. Also in September we helped to pass four new paid sick time laws In New Jersey: the cities of Paterson, East Orange, Passaic, and Irvington recently joined Newark and Jersey City in ensuring that workers can earn paid sick time.
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ABB Southern Office Director Elizabeth Gedmark (far right) with members of Respect the Bump and other advocates at Chicago Know Your Rights training.
Know Your Rights
ABB is continuing to educate pregnant women and caregivers around the country about their legal rights. For example, our Southern Office recently provided educational Know Your Rights materials in Nashville, TN at an event called the “Best Baby Shower”. Hundreds of pregnant women and their partners were in attendance. ABB is also working with our partners at Respect The Bump (a group of pregnant and formerly pregnant workers at Walmart who have banded together to create change at the superstore) to educate workers about their rights under Walmart’s new policy on Accomodations in Employment.

Protect our families from chemical disasters


{UCSACTION ALERT
Tell the Environmental Protection Agency to Improve Chemical Plant Safety

 

Right now, 134 million Americans live in danger zones around facilities that use or store hazardous chemicals. And with around 30,000 documented incidents reported annually—from West Virginia to California—we remain devastatingly ill-prepared to protect the public from chemical disasters.

In fact, last year, 15 people died and three schools were destroyed as a result of a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. After this tragic and avoidable accident, President Barack Obama took an important step to prevent disasters like this from happening again, calling on federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to strengthen chemical plant safety regulations.

Tell Administrator Gina McCarthy that the EPA must improve chemical plant safety and ensure communities get the scientific information they need to make informed decisions about their health, safety, and environment.

For the first time in decades, we have a chance to make real strides in improving chemical safety and security. The EPA needs to hear your support to improve chemical plant safety and prevent future disasters. Tell Administrator McCarthy that the EPA must improve access to information about toxic chemicals, require the use of safer chemical processes, and protect vulnerable communities.

Let’s make sure the EPA enacts the necessary standards to keep our families safe from chemical disasters.

Take Action

Sincerely,
Danielle Fox
Danielle Fox
Outreach Coordinator
Center for Science and Democracy
Union of Concerned Scientists

Child abuse in my Church


Bishop Robert Finn was convicted of covering up a child abuse scandal two years ago, and he is still the head of my church. I started a petition asking Pope Francis to request his immediate resignation.

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I’m a Catholic and I take my kids to church every Sunday. Church is supposed to be a safe place. But Bishop Robert Finn, who is the head of my diocese (that’s a regional group of churches), made our church unsafe for my children when he covered up a child sex abuse scandal.

In 2012, Father Shawn Ratigan — who was a priest in a church near mine — plead guilty in U.S. Federal Court to producing and possessing child pornography. Father Ratigan used his position as a priest to take lewd images of children in his faith community.

A judge found Bishop Finn guilty of covering up Ratigan’s crimes — Bishop Finn is one of the highest level leaders in the church ever to be convicted in a sex abuse scandal. But despite his conviction, Bishop Finn still has his job as head of our diocese.

I started a petition on Change.org asking Pope Francis to call for Bishop Finn’s resignation as head of the Kansas City diocese. Click here to add your name.

Pope Francis has called sexual child abuse “the shame of the church,” but he hasn’t taken enough action to hold child abusers and their protectors in the church accountable. Our diocese needs a leader who protects children, not one who protects their abusers.

As a Catholic, I believe in forgiveness, and I think Bishop Finn should be forgiven. But as a father, I don’t think he should keep a job where he could put more children in danger. Forgiveness and change can work together.

The Catholic church needs to see that it’s not enough to get rid of priests who abuse children — the leaders who cover up the abuse must be held accountable as well. I know that if thousands of people sign my petition, Pope Francis will call for Bishop Finn to step down.

Click here to sign my petition calling on Pope Francis to ask Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted of covering up a child pornography scandal, to resign as the head of the Kansas City diocese.

Thank you,

Jeff Weis Kansas City, Missouri