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Sanitary conditions bill heads to Gov. Inslee’s desk

Historic legislation will make construction trades ‘more gender-inclusive’


OLYMPIA (March 7, 2024) — After many weeks of lobbying by the Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers, Ironworkers Local 86, the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council and its affiliates and signatory contractors, and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, HB 2266 ensuring sanitary conditions for construction workers who menstruate or express milk has passed the Washington State Legislature.

The House voted 78-18 on Tuesday to concur with Senate amendments on the bill, sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver), advancing HB 2266 to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for signature.

This historic legislation will provide construction workers additional resources on the job such as safe places to breastfeed and breaks to breastfeed as well as access to hand-washing stations and menstrual products. A recent newsletter from Gov. Inslee notes:

“(HB 2266 will) help by making the construction field a little more gender-inclusive. The bill prescribes slightly longer bathroom breaks so women can get through layers of clothing, defined and sanitary spaces for expressing milk, and other accommodations. Washington has one of the highest percentages of women construction workers in the nation. Improved conditions might boost that ratio even further.”

“HB 2266 represents a transformative step towards fostering inclusivity and retention in the construction industry,” said Mallorie Davies, State Regulatory and Policy Coordinator Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers. “Recognizing that jobsite culture is often a factor that drives workers away, this bill champions a paradigm shift towards a more accommodating environment for all. By implementing small, yet impactful changes such as providing access to bathrooms, on-site menstrual products at no cost to the worker, and breast pumping accommodations, we are empowering workers to be able to continue to invest in themselves and their careers, ensuring a stronger, more diverse workforce for generations to come.”

With local, state and federal legislation requirements increasing the amount of women and minority workers on construction projects, this legislation is a stepping stone to ensuring recruitment and retention of women in the industry.

“This bill sets a precedent to remove barriers and improve sanitary conditions for women working in construction,” said Stacy Martin, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers. “Also, this legislation will ensure women interested in construction as a career path that they will be protected and have the necessary resources to work on a jobsite.”

This legislation, which passed during Women in Construction Week, is the first in the nation to require menstrual products on construction sites. It also joins very few other states, like California, with similar legislation for women in construction.

“The support of the Washington Legislature and the many building and construction trades workers joining forces to pass this legislation demonstrates our state’s commitment to equity in the workplace,” said Erin Frasier, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council. “This bill creates statewide systemic change that acknowledges and respects the diverse needs and experiences of workers and creates workplaces free from indignities based on the natural processes of menstruation and lactation.”


Previously at The STAND:

Bill to guarantee sanitary jobsite conditions passes House (Feb. 13)

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