The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is in “suspense,” but our campaign to win continues!

Friday, September 09, 2011

By Gracia Lima

The California Domestic Workers Coalition has been fighting for domestic workers rights for a long time and in the last 8 months have succeeded in pushing for the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights through the California legislature. The bill, which passed the California State Assembly on June 2, would provide domestic workers with the basic rights such as overtime, meal time, rest breaks and access to kitchen facilities to be able to cook their own food.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to keep our bill in the suspense file (meaning it was held in the Appropriations Committee). But we still have broad community and political support for the movement for domestic worker rights. From now to January, when the CA legislature goes back to session we will work to push our bill forward. Our first steps are to continue our discussions with the disability rights community to address their concerns with the bill immediately, towards our vision for long-term movement building. We are determined to continue our fierce campaign to win the Bill of Rights and we are confident that we will!

We are aware that we are battling a long and deep exclusion for domestic workers. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act in 1935—the law that provides basic labor protections to most workers—domestic workers and farm workers were left out. At the time, domestic workers were overwhelmingly African American women. Southern senators refused to allow the passage of the act unless it left them out.

The bill of rights remains long overdue and as a coalition and supporters we need to continue pushing hard for the bill! In the words of domestic worker from San Diego Maria del Carmen Eseiza “Labor Protections are but the beginning of our fight for justice, dignity and respect- women’s work is important work”.

We are part of a broad and victorious movement advancing domestic workers rights, and we will continue to grow stronger and win the bill of rights in January of 2012!

For more information about the Bill or for ways to get informed visit our website or visit us at twitter @CADomesticWrker

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