Yesterday, the California Senate passed a bill that would guarantee domestic workers basic labor protections such as overtime pay and meal breaks. This could be a huge step for California domestic workers, allowing them to join the ranks of Hawaii and New York, where domestic workers bills are already in place. According to the National Domestic Workers Alliance:
If signed by the Governor, AB 241 would provide all domestic workers who care for California’s homes and families with some of the basic labor protections they have been denied for decades.
This move is particularly important in a state like California, which has the largest population in the country comprised largely of Latinos, many of whom are undocumented. This weighs heavily on domestic workers for whom undocumented status puts them at risk for exploitation in the workplace. As it stands, undocumented domestic workers are paid on average $2 less per hour than their documented counterparts, and are much more likely to be injured on the job or work while sick.
Unfortunately, the legislation may not become law. The last time the bill was passed by the Senate in 2012, Governor Brown vetoed it, arguing that it was too difficult to enforce. He felt that by implementing these regulations, domestic workers might see their hours cut or decreased. In other words, by asking people to treat domestic workers fairly, they might stop hiring them.
We need to tell Governor Brown that he cannot veto this bill a second time. Already, the National Domestic Workers Alliance has contingents organizing to pass similar bills in Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and Connecticut. Let California lead the way.
To help, follow the National Domestic Workers Alliance for news on how to keep the momentum up, and call the House of Representatives to urge them to listen to the 100 women risking arrest today for fair immigration reform.
How you can support the domestic workers movement
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