More than 100 domestic workers descended on the State Capitol yesterday in support of AB 889, the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, with a very special guest: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Trumka, who met a group of domestic workers in California last fall, has made their crusade for equal treatment and dignity on the job his own, traveling to California this week to support their cause.
At a press conference this morning, Trumka, California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski, Assemblymembers Tom Ammiano, V.M Perez, Bill Monning and others voiced their support for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, AB 889, a bill that extends basic protections to this often overlooked and undervalued workforce.
It’s not right that domestic workers should be excluded from overtime pay laws. It’s not right that domestic workers are excluded from collective bargaining laws. Domestic workers’ rights are civil rights. Domestic workers’ rights are human rights. We can make a future when every single worker has the fundamental right to be treated with respect, to put in a hard day’s work and be rewarded fairly for it. The AFL-CIO will stand beside you until that day comes, and beyond.
AB 889 (Ammiano, V.M. Perez) would provide the over 200,000 domestic workers in California with overtime protections, inclusion in workers’ compensation coverage and the right to meal and rest breaks – rights given to almost every other worker in California.
Author of the bill, Tom Ammiano:
Simply put, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is about doing the right thing. Ask any parent and they will tell you that domestic workers like nannies, caregivers and housekeepers do some of the hardest and most necessary work around. Not only will this bill improve the everyday lives of workers and their families, it will improve the lives of those who they care for and nurture every day. Treating people fairly is not rocket science – protecting the health, safety and well-being of domestic workers will lead to better home care, fewer mistakes from exhaustion and less worker injury.
As the world's attention focuses on the award-winning film, “The Help,” and the courageous domestic workers that are portrayed in the movie, domestic workers in California are asserting their own overdue rights to basic labor protections. AB 889 would be some of the first major reforms to the domestic-worker industry.
And the bill couldn’t have come a moment too soon for workers like Veronica Nieto, who does backbreaking work cleaning 35-40 houses per week for as a little $10 per house.
I'm so happy to see all the support we have to make real changes to improve our lives.
The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is an important step in extending worker protections labor unions in California have fought for over the years.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
All work matters and all workers deserve dignity. Domestic workers care for children, the elderly, and the disabled, enabling so many workers to go to their jobs every day knowing their loved ones are in good hands. Just as they care for our families, domestic workers have families of their own and deserve the same protections that all other workers have. This bill is simply about ensuring every worker in California is treated with respect and dignity on the job.
The bill passed in the California State Assembly and is currently being considered in the State Senate Appropriations Committee. To learn more, visit http://cadomesticworkers.org/