Inneshia first heard about the paid family leave insurance (PFLI) campaign in New York at an 1199 SEIU conference for home health aides. When an organizer asked people to share their stories, Inneshia described what happened after the birth of her second child in 2012. Her employer failed to send in the paperwork for Inneshia to access temporary disability insurance; she had to go back to work two weeks after delivery to pay the bills. Her union rep told her she needed to take time to heal. Inneshia experienced depression and sought therapy. In addition to healing, she needed time to bond with her infant – just what the New York Paid Family Leave Insurance campaign was fighting for.
Inneshia went on to become an 1199 delegate, trained to fight for others’ rights on the job. She began collecting post cards in support of the PFLI campaign. At first she says she was reluctant to share her story publicly. “But I realized I needed to tell it so other women would not have to go through what I did,” she says, “so they can have a baby without financial hardship and have time to bond.” Inneshia spoke at a Lead on Leave event with Valerie Jarrett and then at other campaign press events.
“I was extremely nervous the first few times,” she says, “but it got a little easier each time. I gained a lot of confidence.” Recently the union hired her as a home care organizer.