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Iron Workers Introduce Maternity Leave

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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A union that represents workers in bridge construction and other building trades is looking to make paid maternity leave standard practice in an industry that often eschews the benefit.

IronWorkers
Iron Workers

With this move, the union group seeks to level the playing field for women and make diversity and inclusion a priority.

The Iron Workers and the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperation Trust announced a new paid maternity-leave benefit at the 2017 Iron Workers/IMPACT Conference in San Diego last week. Iron Workers represents about 130,000 ironworkers in North America who work in construction on bridges; structural steel; architectural, ornamental and miscellaneous metals; rebar; and in shops.

The U.S. lags behind its European counterparts when it comes to paid maternity leave and most industries in the country do not offer adequate paid maternity leave, the organizations explained in a press announcement.

Leave Details

The Iron Workers’ paid maternity leave includes six months of pre-delivery maximum benefit and six to eight weeks of post-delivery benefit. Regardless of what was covered pre-delivery, the ironworker member will be eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth of the child and two additional weeks for Cesarean deliveries. The challenges of physical work associated with the ironworking trade create unique health challenges that can jeopardize a pregnancy.

“I’m extremely excited about this policy and I think it’s going to help with retention of ironworker women and encourage them to build a career,” said Vicki O’Leary, the Ironworker representative who made the announcement during a panel focused on the role of women ironworkers. “It’s one more step in achieving greater diversity in our trade.”

A Priority

Ironworkers and contractors in attendance applauded the move.

“We are very proud to be the first to introduce a paid maternity program in the building trades,” said General President of the Iron Workers Eric Dean. “It’s about time we make our industry a level playing field for women and make diversity and inclusion a priority.”

“When we first started talking about it, I wasn’t sure how we’d pull it off and what it would cost, but we realized that it’s an investment because we want our well-trained ironworker women to come back to work,” said CEO of Ben Hur Construction Co. and Co-Chair of IMPACT Bill Brown.

   

Tagged categories: Architecture; Bridges; Health and safety; Labor; North America; Program/Project Management; Structural steel; Unions; Workers

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