The California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB 889), introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), offers the almost 200,000 domestic workers in California basic labor rights from which they have been excluded for decades. If signed into law, California will become only the second state in the country, after New York, to extend labor protections to domestic workers – the caregivers, housekeepers, and babysitters providing vital services to families across California.
Seventy-four years ago, American workers won the right to minimum wage, overtime pay, and at least one day of rest each week. But domestic workers were excluded from these basic protections and have spent years trying to organize to have their voices heard.
This Bill of Rights will mean real change in California, bringing nearly 200,000 domestic workers basic protections like overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, the right to collective bargaining, and adequate conditions for live-in workers. This bill, along with the law in New York, can set a precedent, becoming models not only for other states to enact similar legislation, but also for a National Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.
Without this bill, domestic workers remain vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. The Starbucks employees who make our coffee get overtime pay, but the women that cook and clean for California’s elderly, children, and homes do not. This must change, and California has the opportunity to join New York in leading the way. If you’re a California resident, please call Governor Brown’s office at 916-445-2841 and ask him to sign the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights today.
Photo from the National Domestic Workers Alliance