Staples co-founder Tom Stemberg is speaking out against a serious threat to economic recovery and job creation: breastfeeding moms.
Stemberg, a longtime supporter of Republican policies and candidates like Mitt Romney, complained recently that President Obama’s health care reform law hurts businesses by requiring them to provide what he dubbed “lactation chambers” for new moms who need to breastfeed at work:
Tom Stemberg, co-founder of mega-office supply chain Staples is questioning an Obamacare provision that discourages job creation by dictating employers funnel their capital into lactation chambers.
“Do you want [farming retailer] Tractor Supply to open stores or would you rather they take their capital and do what Obamacare and its 2,700 pages dictates – which is to open a lactation chamber at every single store that they have?” he asked.
“I’m big on breastfeeding; my wife breastfed,” Stenberg added. “I’m all for that. I don’t think every retail store in America should have to go to lactation chambers, which is what Obamacare foresees.
Stemberg was presumably referring to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that require employers to give lactating mothers “reasonable break time” to nurse their child, as well as “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public…” The place they provide for new moms does not have to be a dedicated room as long as it’s private and can be called into use when female employees need it.
As of early January, the Labor Department had already cited 23 companies, including Starbucks and McDonald’s stores, for violating the new protections for breastfeeding employees.