By Sarah Swearer, 9to5 Atlanta Lutheran Volunteer
Sometimes I think it’s easy to get discouraged by the harmful policies the Georgia legislature has passed.
That’s why it was encouraging to attend the April 10th Regional Forum on Working Families, sponsored by the Women’s Bureau, US Department of Labor. At the event, 9to5 Atlanta Director, Charmaine Davis and 9to5 leader Rev. Harriet Bradley spoke on a panel with women from the Center for Working Families, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and the Latin American Association, about the efforts of each organization to provide research, services and policy advocacy in support of working families
The purpose of this Forum was to explore the challenges facing working families in Georgia and to make an economic case about why businesses and legislators should adopt policies that are fair to working families. I learned Georgia has one of the highest long-term unemployment rates and that in 2014 our legislature passed several bills that didn’t have low-income family’s best interests in mind.
But I also learned there are local companies like American Income Life Insurance and Alston & Bird that provide family-flexible workplace policies and believe it’s the best business model.
It was encouraging to hear from organizations like 9to5 that are working to improve the lives of working women and their families. I found it even more encouraging to hear from business leaders who are making changes in their own workplaces by providing family-flexible workplace policies.
I’m hopeful that the Regional Forum in Atlanta, as well as the other forums across the country, will build public support for some of the much needed policies changes for working women and their families.
The Regional Forum on Working Families in Atlanta kicked off several regional forums that will be hosted around the country in preparation for the White House Summit on Working Families in June.