Moms who work at Amazon are banding together to demand a benefit that Starbucks workers already enjoy: A backup daycare benefit.
They call themselves the "Momazonians" and more than 1,800 of these women are pushing for the retail giant to help provide backup childcare when events like illnesses or school closures put parents in a tough spot.
It's a benefit that Starbucks recently began offering its employees, following the lead of tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google. It's not a common benefit though: The Associated Press reports only 9% of companies with 1,000 employees or more offered back-up child care as a benefit, according to a 2017 survey of U.S. employers by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Childcare is a huge issue for women in the workforce, and in many families mothers, not fathers, are the ones who have to rearrange their day or call out sick if a child can't go to school or daycare.
As Bloomberg reports, the Momazonians' fight for this benefit could possibly help women move up in the company "where only one woman is on an influential senior management team that reports directly to [Amazon CEO Jeff ] Bezos."
The Momazonians say they're tired of seeing coworkers quit because they can't find childcare or because they've got a job offer at a company that does offer this benefit. And some say providing a backup childcare benefit is one way companies can show employees they're valued and recognized as whole people, something former Amazon employee Kristi Coulter suggests is missing from Amazon's culture right now.
"Everyone wants to act really tough and pretend they don't have human needs," Coulter told Bloomberg. "You don't want to be the one to step forward and say 'I'm a mom with kids and I may not be as single-mindedly devoted to my career as everyone else.' They're all trying to assimilate to this male-dominated culture."
When we get right down to it, the typical American workplace (not just at Amazon) was built for men who don't have to worry about childcare, not for mothers (or fathers) who do.
But in the majority of American households, moms are working. Today's mothers are spending more time in the labor force than in previous decades, but are also spending more time on childcare. It's no surprise that working moms are more likely than working dads to say balancing work and family is difficult, according to Pew.
Motherly's own 2018 State of Motherhood survey found a full half of respondents reported making changes to their work status—like shifting from full to part-time or quitting to stay home—since becoming mothers.
Amazon does not offer backup daycare benefits, but it does offer other benefits that parents find attractive. In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon said it provides "comprehensive fertility benefits, memberships and discounts for childcare services, and flexible parental leave programs that provide birth parents up to 20 weeks of paid leave and non-birth parents up to six weeks of parental leave."
That does sound like a great benefits package, but we totally get why the Momazonians want backup childcare benefits, too. It's something for many employers, not just Amazon, to consider.