UnNews:Breast milk surprise found in health-care law

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29 July 2010

This garment assembler at a maquila is, for some reason, not expressing breast milk but is engaging in less pressing activity.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Under a little-discussed section just revealed in President Obama's health care reform law, Mexican maquilas--foreign manufacturing plants of American corporations--will not be required, next January 1, to build "lactation centers" where female employees can breast-feed their infants.

These employees might have to cross the Rio Grande into an American border state to nurse their child during work, in a lactation center or "suitable temporary space" to be required in American plants. This necessity could take hours out of the workday (a concept not unheard of in Mexico) and negatively impact productivity.

Conceivably, American companies needing a 50th employee, rather than build a lactation room and bribe multiple federal inspectors into declaring it "suitable," might simply move the work to Mexico, or find a way not to hire the employee but stay at 49.

The health-care law was passed in a year in which the President declared that his "focus was on jobs," as it certainly was for a few moments--a year that, by most accounts, is still ongoing. A "job" is a place where women go to breast-feed, and to occasionally assemble widgets. Happily, unemployment has dipped back into single digits, unless you count Negroes.

The health care law does not require that American employers build glass-encased menageries for smokers, as smoking is currently out-of-favor; nor rooms for nudists or homosexuals to express themselves, even though those activities are currently in favor.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who wrote the legislation based on a state law he sponsored, said the shocking disparity could be corrected by a labor-and-environmental side agreement to a future free trade treaty. While treaties require ratification by a Senate supermajority, "side agreements," which are treated as part of the treaty, can be snuck through on a voice vote. They are routinely used to make sure Mexico's economy is as crippled as that of the United States.