Author: Megan Whelan (Page 1 of 2)

Take action and celebrate precedent-setting victory in homecare industry

With energy and inspiration, we are proud to share that after organizing for nearly three years, caregivers together with the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) reached a precedent-setting victory in the private homecare industry and saw their rights transformed into a reality in their lives.


Earlier this month, we joined the PWC and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer to announce the settlement against Southern California homecare providers Emelyn Entino Nishi, Joe Derick Regoyal, and their companies Health Alliance Nurses Corp. and Hand Homecare Provider, Inc.. Entino Nishi and her companies were mandated to correct illegal employment practices, which included paying 24-hour homecare workers as little as $4.50 per hour with no overtime.


Will you help us amplify this important victory? Click here to sign the letter calling on other homecare agencies to do their part in upholding the dignity and rights of domestic workers across California!



“They were robbing us of our hard earned wages. This is a victory not only for me and my family, but for all caregivers. It sends a message that we should not stay silent out of fear. We must educate ourselves and ask questions. And when we stand up for our rights, we win!” – Josephine Biclar, Former caregiver with Health Alliance Nurses Corp. and member leader of the Pilipino Worker Center

This victory is just the beginning. We know that this case against Entino Nishi and her companies is not unique and that caregivers who work in private homes report frequent abuse across agencies and employers in the homecare industry.

Now, domestic workers across California are standing up against wage theft and exploitation and are taking action to make the rights that they’ve won in the Capitol become a reality in their everyday lives.

Will you help us ensure that this victory echoes throughout the homecare industry and that agencies come into compliance with the law – both to honor the dignity of caregivers and to ensure quality of care for consumers?

Domestic workers continue the fight to make rights a reality.

This past Saturday, we received word that our bill, AB 2314 (Ting) the Domestic Worker Rights Implementation Act was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. While we are disappointed that Governor Brown chose not to address the need to implement and strengthen labor protections for domestic workers, we know first hand that true change will happen by continuing to organize our communities and grow our movement. We have been building immigrant women worker leadership and power for over a decade, and we will continue to advocate until domestic workers rights and dignity are upheld in every California home.


The success we have had this campaign, moving AB 2314 through each committee and each house of the legislature, is the direct result of the political power that we have built together – brick by brick, year by year – over the past ten years of our Sacramento advocacy.

This 2018, we have made great strides in continuing to grow our political power as a Coalition and toward lifting the dignity of our industry. We have:

  • Empowered new domestic worker leaders
  • Trained first-time spokespeople to share their powerful stories and experiences
  • Built stronger alliances to labor, women’s, and long-term care advocacy groups
  • Developed a deeper understanding of our industry
  • Received overwhelming support – a standing ovation from the Assembly Labor Committee! – which brought our bill all the way to the Governor’s desk!
This year, we have built on our past success and laid a strong foundation for our continued policy advocacy at the capitol. As a coalition, we are invigorated and emboldened to come back stronger. And, we will continue to do the people to people outreach, education, and organizing that is necessary to truly make domestic worker rights a reality!

Sacramento, we will see you next year!


PS. If you did not see it on Facebook, last week we held a Week of Action in our last push toward the Governor’s desk. All over the state, domestic worker leaders took photos of themselves doing the work! To raise the visibility of the need to make domestic worker #RightsAReality. Please take a look at our album on facebook to see all of the beautiful campaign photos.


Domestic Workers create a living exhibit at the capitol; AB2314 moves on to the Senate Floor!

It has been an incredible last couple weeks! On Wednesday, August 8, more than 100 domestic workers mobilized from across California to Sacramento for the Our Work, Our Dignity Lobby Day to advocate for AB2314 (Ting), The Domestic Worker Rights Implementation Act.

Before meeting with more than two dozen of the state’s legislators throughout the day, domestic worker and employer leaders created a living exhibit with their own bodies on the first floor of the capitol. We held the exhibit for 7.5 minutes to represent the estimated 75,000 domestic workers who suffer from wage theft and are paid less than minimum wage. Click here to watch the video of domestic workers and employers taking creative action inside the capitol!

Sharing our stories with Senator Jim Bealle in support of AB2314 at the August 8 Our Work, Our Dignity Lobby Day!“I took care of an elderly woman for one year. I lived in her home and was responsible for her all day and all night. I worked with them six days a week, but the family only paid me $80 weekly. For 24-hour care, I wasn’t even earning minimum wage, let alone overtime… We need to make changes to better protect workers like me.
– Ana Miriam, Member Leader of IDEPSCA in a legislative visit with Senator Jim Beall.

On August 14, our domestic worker leaders were again in the capitol to join our sisters at the Stronger California Advocacy Day. We are proud that AB2314 was adopted as a priority for the Stronger California Advocates Network’s policy agenda to advance the economic security of California women. Together we advocated for the rights of all California women, workers, and families.

Then, on August 16, we heard the incredible news that AB 2314 passed out of Senate Appropriations!

We have taken one more step toward making domestic worker rights a reality! We know that this victory is only possible because of the leadership, creativity, and commitment from caregivers, housecleaners, nannies and domestic employers across California who have boldly united to demand dignity and the enforcement of domestic worker rights at a statewide scale.

Next stop: the Senate floor and then on to the Governor’s desk!

One Step Closer to Making Rights A Reality!

It’s been an exciting last couple of weeks!

On Wednesday, in a quick 62-13 floor vote, the California State Assembly passed AB2314, The Domestic Workers Rights Implementation Act! Domestic worker leaders from La Colectiva and Mujeres Unidas y Activas were in the capitol the morning of the vote, sharing their stories and experiences with legislators to raise the visibility of the bill and the critical need to ensure that domestic worker rights are respected in every California home.



As always throughout the campaign, it has been the courage and leadership of domestic worker leaders throughout the state that have made this victory possible. Since the Our Work, Our Dignity campaign launch in March, worker and employer leaders of the coalition have been present at in-district meetings, at local City Halls, and in the Capitol nearly every week, making our voices heard!

The stories of our leaders have demonstrated not only the conditions of frequent rights violations and the need for broad-scale education in the industry, but also the power of community organizations and their ability to empower communities to assert and defend their rights. Coalition leaders have garnered the support and commitment from dozens of legislators throughout the state and, this Wednesday, have taken us one step closer to making rights real and respected in the lives of hundreds of thousands of domestic workers in California!


¡Si Se Puede!

Victory in Assembly Labor Committee

Last week, in a strong show of support and recognition for the dignity of domestic workers, the California Assembly Labor Committee passed AB2314 (Ting) the Domestic Worker Rights Implementation Act!

Before heading to the committee hearing room, in true, lively, and beautiful California Domestic Workers Coalition fashion, our leaders symbolically swept the steps of the capitol, cleaning up and sweeping away the high rates of labor rights violations and exploitation that so many workers face in the domestic work industry.  Check out coverage of our theatrical action here.

Over 130 domestic worker leaders, employers, and supporters travelled to Sacramento to witness the vote and to bring visibility to the need for greater education and enforcement of domestic worker rights across the state.

“There are thousands of women like me in California. The majority of domestic workers are immigrant women, and many do not know their rights or are afraid of asserting their rights in the face of exploitation because we are immigrants, because we are women, because we may not speak English, and because we work a job that historically has not been valued. I came here today to be active in the implementation of my rights,” said Maria Colin of ALMAS and the Graton Day Labor Center, who represented the coalition and testified in the Labor Committee that day.

The Assembly Labor Committee listened intently to Maria and to Hand in Hand domestic employer leader Nikki Brown-Booker before expressing overwhelming support for AB2314.

“I am here, able to cast my vote today, thanks to my grandmother who was a domestic worker,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer, who was followed by more moving words of support from the Committee Chair, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and Assemblymembers Ash Kalra and Kevin McCarty. Each Assemblymember recounted their own personal connection to domestic work in their families and communities, and each expressed their desire to play a leading role in advancing the bill alongside our Champion, Assemblymember Phil Ting.

At the moment when the vote was declared, our cheers erupted from the hearing room and the overflow-areas where we watched the hearing take place. Luckily, we were able to capture some of our victorious moment in the halls of the capitol; check out the video here!

Next, AB2314 heads to the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. Onwards! ¡Adelante! Abante!

Join our New Campaign: Our Work, Our Dignity!

Last Friday, dozens of domestic worker leaders, employers and supporters, including Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco, and LA-based Actress Julia Wackenheim, gathered in front of California State buildings in both San Francisco and Los Angeles to celebrate the launch of our new statewide campaign, “Our Work, Our Dignity: Making Rights a Reality” to ensure that the rights of immigrant women workers be respected and upheld in every California home!

In both LA and San Francisco, we were thrilled to publicly introduce Assembly Bill 2314 (Ting, D- San Francisco) that would establish a program within the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement to promote the implementation of labor standards for the domestic work industry through education and training for both domestic workers as well as employers. #SiSePuede!
Together, we have worked hard for more than a decade to win the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights for greater protections and fair wages for immigrant women workers. However, despite these protections, domestic workers still suffer from high rates of wage theft and violations like retaliation for actually asserting our rights. We also know that many employers do not understand their obligations and responsibilities for lack of resources and clarity on the law.
In the current political climate with escalated attacks on our immigrant communities, California must continue to lead the way to defend our values as a state by defending and uplifting immigrant workers through legislation like AB2314. Now is the time to make domestic worker rights real in the lives of immigrant women workers!
Join us!

We can’t wait to advance the “Our Work, Our Dignity” Campaign with you, and we want your story! Are you an employer? A worker? A person of faith? A believer in dignity for all? Share a story of why implementing the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is important to you.

Check out the stories of our domestic worker leaders Veronica, Ericka, and Lee, and click here to share your story with us today!

Gratitude, Victories, and 2018, here we come!

As 2017 comes to a close, it is with deep gratitude and inspiration that we reflect on the challenges and victories from the past year. Together with our partners from across California and throughout the U.S., domestic worker leaders organized and continued to build power. Despite fear and amidst attacks against immigrants, women, and workers, we asserted our rights and won protections for our communities.

Please see the video below of our collective 2017 victories and get ready for a new year of building immigrant women worker power and growing our movement together. We can’t wait to take on 2018 together with you.

Thank you for your dedication and for standing with us this year to Defend Dignity,

Kimberly Alvarenga,

Director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition

2017 with the California Domestic Workers Coalition!

Support a Just Recovery for Sonoma County’s Domestic Workers & Day Laborers

Hundreds of domestic workers and day laborers have been displaced from their homes and have lost their livelihoods due to the Sonoma County fires. We are in a critical moment where the organizing and leadership of immigrant workers are key to a Just Recovery.
A Just Recovery means that no one is left behind, including immigrant women workers who are the most vulnerable, with few protections and little access to relief, and who at the same time serve as the backbone for their communities.
PLEASE MAKE A DONATION of any size to the Sonoma County Just Recovery Fund. The Just Recovery Fund will grow the organizing and training capacity of existing worker organizing with ALMAS (Alianza de Mujeres Activas y Solidarias) and the Graton Day Labor Center to ensure that immigrant families, domestic workers, and reconstruction workers are not forgotten.

Sonoma County Just Recovery Fund: CLICK TO DONATE

The Sonoma County Just Recovery Fund will address immediate needs by providing critical information to domestic workers, day laborers, and other members of the worker center and immigrant community. It will support a safe gathering location and distribute life-saving equipment and training about health risks in the aftermath of a fire.
Beyond the short term, the Fund will support long-term recovery efforts and grassroots organizing to demand a just recovery where the immigrant workforce is supported instead of exploited. Just Recovery includes demanding high standards of safety and labor protections for all workers who perform recovery work, training workers to defend against labor violations, directing public attention toward immigration defense, and advocating for policies that will protect the community as it rebuilds. A Just Recovery means domestic workers and day laborers are organized and empowered to lead recovery efforts, shaping the future of their own communities.
The Sonoma County Just Recovery Fund is a collaboration between Centro Laboral de Graton, the California Domestic Workers Coalition (CDWC), and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), that will provide resources for Sonoma County’s domestic workers and day laborers and advocate for a just recovery process that does not exclude the immigrant community.
We need your support now to ensure that not only do domestic workers and day laborers in Sonoma County receive the critical resources they need in the difficult days, weeks, and months ahead but also that their voices are heard and recognized as the region rebuilds and recovers.
DONATE TODAY and tell a friend how they can also give to the Fund.
Kim Alvarenga, California Domestic Workers Coalition
& Pablo Alvarado, National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Victory for Immigrant Women Workers in California!

Today, after months of local organizing, mobilizing statewide actions to Sacramento, and sharing the heartbreaking testimonies of family separation and fear in order to speak real truth to power, immigrant working class families have made history: Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 54 the California Values Act and AB 450 the Immigrant Worker Protection Act into law! These landmark policies are victories for the people of California, ensuring sanctuary and protection from retaliation and mass deportations.

The California Domestic Worker Coalition celebrates the passage of these two bills on our 2017 Defending Dignity Platform, and we are honored to lift up the experiences and stories of immigrant working women who represent the majority of domestic workers across the state.

In this political moment in which working-class immigrant communities are facing ongoing attacks, we rise above the fear and unite to protect and assert our rights. Together, we advance the dignity and well being of immigrant workers and their families.

We applaud California for enacting policies that will lead the rest of the country in defending the dignity of immigrant workers!

More about the bills:

SB 54 (Senate Pro Tem De Leon): The California Values Act ensures that State and local law enforcement agencies, school police, and security departments do not engage with nor provide resources to support immigration enforcement processes. For more information about SB 54 protections click here.

AB 450 (Chiu): The Immigrant Worker Protection Act protects workers from disruptive workplace raids by immigration enforcement. It requires a warrant and subpoena for ICE and further empowers the labor commissioner to protect workers in current claims processes from immigration proceedings.

Domestic Workers Defend their Dignity at Lobby Day in State Capitol

On Monday, domestic worker leaders from across the state brought our power, our voice, and our unity to Sacramento. In a political moment in which low-wage immigrant communities face attacks across the country, domestic workers from Los Angeles to the Bay Area gathered in the Capitol to collectively raise their voices to assert their rights and defend their dignity.


Domestic worker leaders shared stories and testimonies to advance the California Domestic Workers Coalition’s #DefendDignity 2017 Legislative Platform which endorses priority state legislation that directly impacts domestic workers as women, as workers, as mothers, and as immigrants. Our #DefendDignity Lobby Day focused on lifting up two priority bills for California’s domestic workers: SB258 The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act and SB54 The California Values ActTo see the full 2017 legislative platform, click here.

SB258 – The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act

Lobby teams of domestic workers met with members of the California Assembly to urge them to vote in support of SB258 (Lara): The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act. SB258 would require cleaning product manufacturers that produce both household and commercial cleaning products to disclose the list of chemical ingredients on its packaging and online.

Domestic workers experience disproportionate exposure to the toxic chemicals found in typical household cleaning products, an experience that is compounded by ongoing exclusion from protections under OSHA and other health and safety laws. Domestic worker leaders shared powerful testimony about the impacts of working with toxic cleaning products for prolonged periods of time and how they have suffered from respiratory illness, skin rashes, and fear for long term health problems as severe as cancer. Domestic workers are entitled to know the ingredients and health risks associated with the products they use to do their work each day. SB 258 is crucial for those who clean homes to advocate for their own health and to protect the health of millions of families and households that depend on them.

SB54 – The California Values Act

The heightened fear of deportation and family separation is damaging to the fabric of the immigrant community, disproportionately impacting domestic workers who are majority immigrant women and serve as primary breadwinners for their families. The current climate of escalated immigration enforcement compromises the ability of domestic workers to feel confident and empowered in exercising their rights to basic labor rights such as minimum wage and overtime protections. Moreover, the entanglement of local law enforcement agencies and immigration enforcement also has a tremendous cost to public safety. Immigrants, especially immigrant women, often fear approaching police when they are victims of and witnesses to crimes including domestic violence and other forms of violence against women and children.

The message in the Capitol rang clear: In California, domestic workers are uniting to defend themselves and their families from policies that criminalize immigrants and from the threat of ongoing mass deportations and separation of families. SB54 (De Leon), The California Values Act, would ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies, school police, and security departments do not engage with nor provide resources to support immigration enforcement processes.

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