BELLEVUE, WA — New mothers in the construction industry are now being afforded an opportunity to get back to work sooner and with more conveniences thanks to lactation pods on job sites. Until now, they were forced to make do using provisional spaces (port-a-potties, vehicles, etc.) and it just wasn’t conducive to being a new, working mom. To alleviate this problem, a joint initiative between SMACNA-Western Washington and Smart Local 66 will be the first in the industry to make lactation pods available to mothers in need starting in April 2023.
Challenges of Working in the Field
“Working in an office, it can be quite easy to overlook the challenges of being a new mom in the field,” said Julie Muller, Executive Vice President of SMACNA-Western Washington. “After talking to Tammy Meyen, a journeywoman who’d had a baby around the same time as I had my twins, I was astonished at how different my experience was compared to hers. She and any of the tradeswomen mothers are all after the same goal—being good at their jobs while also being good mothers. Our goal is to make working in the field work for them.”
Another tradeswoman, a fifth-year apprentice, pumped in her car while at work as she was not provided with a space. Yet another made curtains to hang in her car for privacy purposes.
“It isn’t always easy or time efficient for women to get to and from a remote, undesignated pumping location in the middle of the workday,” Meyen said. “Breastfeeding mothers need supplies, such as a breast pump, coolers, bottles and towels, not to mention access to a private, physical space and power.”
Four organizations partnered together to raise funds, bringing this groundbreaking initiative to the Pacific Northwest: Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 66 (The Leadership and Women’s Committee), SMACNA-Western Washington (DE&I/WIC Committee), the Northwest Labor Management Organizational Trust and the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more, contact Julie Muller, Esq. at (714) 889-9472 or firstname.lastname@example.org.