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Thursday, January 19, 2006Three cheers for Verizon Wireless! Ran across a press release this morning that really made my day. In a day and age where we're continually hearing about how big companies are screwing over their employees, it's fantastic to see a story about how a big company is working to really help their employees better their own lives.
The release came out to announce that the New Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force has selected Verizon Wireless to receive the first Breastfeeding Friendly Award of 2006. From the release:
Verizon Wireless was recognized for its innovative programs that
facilitate breastfeeding, including the availability of lactation rooms at all
major corporate facilities from coast to coast. The company currently
provides lactation rooms at eight locations throughout the Northeast, seven
throughout the South Area, four in the Midwest and four throughout the West
Area. These rooms enable breastfeeding mothers to pump during work breaks.
The lactation rooms are just one of the many benefits Verizon Wireless
offers to working mothers. Verizon Wireless's company-wide Enhanced Healthy
Babies Program, which provides incentives to employees who adopt healthy
actions during and after their pregnancy, reimburses employees for lactation
consultant services, the purchase or rental of a breast pump, and
Lamaze/Birthing classes. In addition, Verizon Wireless conducts online
Webinars featuring important information regarding pregnancy and the benefits
Now I work for about the most breastfeeding friendly company imaginable (myself) so this isn't often an issue for me, but I was really happy to see a company moving ahead of the legal requirements and offering up real support for mothers that make the choice to breastfeed.
I won't go into the benefits of breastfeeding, as almost anyone reading this blog already knows about them, but I will point out that a large portion of mothers cite returning to work as a major factor in their switch to formula. It's simply too difficult for many moms to pump while at work and many more don't realize that they can formula feed while they are at work and still nurse in the non-work hours.
"We are pleased to be recognized by the NJ Breastfeeding Task Force for
our nationwide initiative to encourage new moms to take healthy actions,"
stated Martha Delehanty, vice president of human resources, at Verizon
Wireless. "Supporting new moms is good business for both Verizon Wireless and
our many working mothers as breastfeeding provides substantial health benefits
to the mom and her child, while reducing employee absenteeism and overall
This is the type of movement that I hope we continue to see from big business. Even if you want to look at things from the greedy financial perspective, the truth is that happy, healthy employees with happy, healthy families make for better workers. That alone makes these programs worth while for most companies, but it seems that Verizon's reasons go beyond that. Their employees are full of praise as well.
"I am extremely grateful to Verizon Wireless," said Brandie Heiser, a
Verizon Wireless employee. "It was important to me to have breast milk for my
child for as long as possible and the lactation room allowed me to continue to
nurse my daughter and provide breast milk exclusively to her even though I had
returned to work."
Good job Verizon. :)