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California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced legislation that would create a bill of rights for domestic workers. The bill recently received major support from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. The way law currently stands, domestic workers in California are exempt from overtime laws and excluded from the right to bargain collectively.
AB 889 (Ammiano), the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, 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 – givens for almost every other worker in California.
Assemblymember Ammiano, author of the bill, said "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."
"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," said California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski.
If the bill has success in California, maybe it can help bring a spotlight on the way domestic workers are discriminated against in other states as well.