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Showered with wishes for paid parental leave

McKeown’s baby shower at PS 143 was well-attended.

McKeown’s baby shower at PS 143 was well-attended.

The shower at Harvest Collegiate HS in Manhattan takes the cake.

The shower at Harvest Collegiate HS in Manhattan takes the cake.

When the UFT launched its fight for paid parental leave in November, more than 6,000 members joined the campaign. In December, chapter leaders and engaged members organized “baby showers” in their schools to educate fellow members about parental leave issues and share stories about how the DOE’s lack of paid parental leave has affected them. At PS 143 in Corona, Queens, nearly 70 members of the school’s staff came to a shower organized by Chapter Leader Martin McKeown and members of his consultation committee, some of whom donated decorations from their own baby showers. McKeown asked members to fill out cards explaining why they supported paid parental leave. “That’s what was really powerful and sparked conversations,” said McKeown. “People ended up with negative days in their CAR and that causes financial problems. For some of them it took five, 10 years to pay back. That’s the main problem: that they never seem to catch up.” McKeown also shared a union fact sheet to educate members about the issue. “It really engaged members and opened people’s minds,” he said.

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