Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes California domestic workers protection bill


Ai Jen Poo and other organizers from the National Domestic Workers Alliance. 

Because ensuring meal breaks are apparently too much to ask for. AP reports:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday announced that he had vetoed legislation that would have provided overtime pay, meal breaks and other labor protections to an estimated 200,000 caregivers, nannies and house cleaners in California. [...]

Advocates said the legislation, dubbed the Domestic Workers of Bill of Rights, is necessary to protect a primarily female, immigrant workforce from abuse. They were successful in persuading New York lawmakers to pass similar legislation in 2010.

Among other things, the bill would have required that live-in workers be compensated if their rest period was interrupted during an eight-hour period and eased eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation.

The California Chamber of Commerce and other business interests opposed AB889. They argued that labor laws carve out an exception for domestic workers for a reason: providing meal breaks and uninterrupted rest periods for caretakers is impractical at best and dangerous at worst.

Needless to say, this is a huge upset for the domestic workers rights community, and for the 200,000 domestic workers in the state, the majority of them immigrant women.

In his statement, Governor Jerry Brown said the bill was a “noble endeavor,” but it “raises number of unanswered questions.”

Condescending much? I’m sorry, but protecting the basic rights of workers with ensuring simple needs such as meal breaks, overtime pay and adequate places for sleeping for live-in workers isn’t as much of a “noble endeavor” as it is a matter of basic fucking decency. And considering the fact that the domestic worker industry is rife with labor violations and abuses, this really shouldn’t have been a difficult decision to make.

Ai Jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance is calling on folks to tweet at Governor Jerry Brown with how you feel about his decision. Oh, and did we mention he also vetoed the Trust Act? Good job, guy.

Pic via.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/xcarrymyheartx/ Rachel Davis

    Whether unintentional or not , Gov. Brown is violating the most basic of human rights; he is denying these workers to be treated as human beings and not cheap, silenced labor. I hope something can be done to bring the bill back into legislature or have Gov. Brown’s veto repealed. If not on a state level, hopefully the Department of Labors and the White House Office of Management and Budget will give all domestic workers their overdue justice!