CDWC 2017 Policy Priorities
This 2017, in a political moment in which working-class immigrant communities are facing attacks and scapegoating across the country, we must rise above the fear, unite to protect and assert our rights and advance an agenda that defends the dignity and well being of our families. The 2017 Defending Dignity Platform prioritizes new legislation that specifically impacts immigrant working women who represent the majority of domestic workers across the state. The California Domestic Worker Coalition has adopted positions on the following bills to uplift the voices of domestic workers on these issues that most impact them and their communities.
Support: SB 54 (Senate Pro Tem De León) ~ California Values Act
In California, communities are uniting to defend themselves and their families from the policies that target and criminalize immigrants and from ongoing mass deportations and separation of families. SB 54 (De León), 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. Furthermore, under SB 54, California state agencies, public schools, health facilities, and courthouses would adopt policies that would limit assistance with immigration enforcement to the largest extent possible.
Support: SB6 (Hueso) ~ Due Process for All
Currently in immigration proceedings in the State of California, there is no recognized, government-funded right to legal counsel for immigrants, and as a result, 68% of immigrants go unrepresented. At the same time, those detainees who do receive legal counsel are more than five times more likely to succeed in challenging their deportation. SB 6 (Hueso) would create a state funded program to provide access to qualified legal counsel for immigrants facing deportation or removal proceedings. SB 54 & SB 6 are needed in order to allow domestic workers to live and work with dignity, to assure access to fair legal representation, and to empower domestic workers to exercise their labor rights without constant fear of deportation.
Oppose: SB482 (Stone) ~ Unpaid Hours for 24-hr Caregivers
SB 482 creates a sleep exclusion of up to eight hours from hours worked for a domestic worker who is a live-in or 24-hour shift worker. This bill would roll back protections that domestic workers have had since 1976 to be paid for all hours worked. By creating a sleep exclusion, SB 482 would repeal this long-standing protection and would undermine permanent overtime protections (SB 1015 – Leyva) approved by both the legislature and Governor Brown in 2016. It would undermine the recognition of domestic work as legitimate work and condone a situation where workers are not compensated for time they are under the control of the employer and therefore not able to be with their loved ones, attend to their own needs and live their lives.
Support: SB 258 (Lara) ~ Cleaning Product Right to Know Act
Every day, thousands of housecleaners are exposed to harsh chemicals and known carcinogens as they clean the homes of their employers, putting their health at risk. SB 258 (Lara) would require companies that produce household and commercial cleaning products to disclose the chemical ingredients on the product packaging and include graphic pictograms that signal the ingredients’ associated health risks, accessible in different languages.
Support: AB206 (Gonzalez-Fletcher) ~ Workers Compensation Reform
Currently, workers compensation excludes workers, such as housecleaners and day laborers, who have worked less than 52 hours in the home of a given employer. This bill would remove the hour requirement so ALL workers, regardless of number of hours, would be covered for workers compensation.
Support: AB 450 (Chiu) ~ Protecting Immigrant Workers from Raids & Expanding Power of CA Labor Commissioner
Led by the California Labor Federation, AB 450 (Chiu) extends protections to immigrant workers & requires that the California Labor Commissioner be notified of an ICE raid. It further allows the labor commissioner to protect workers in current claims process from immigration proceedings. The bill unifies worker & immigrant rights and could provide more security and safety at the job. AB 450 will give domestic workers the reassurance that they need in order to exercise their labor rights without fear of collusion between employers and federal immigration officials and support them to continue advocating to improve their working conditions and defend their dignity as workers.
Support: SB 562 (Lara & Atkins) ~ Californians for a Healthy California Act
When enacted, the Healthy California Act will guarantee that every resident of California, regardless of income or immigration status, receive comprehensive healthcare services. SB 562 will assure access to vital healthcare services for thousands of domestic workers and their families. Furthermore, the Healthy California Act provides a path toward universal long-term supports and services, which is critical in assuring that all Californians have the support they need to live independently and with dignity. As both frontline providers of in-home support and future consumers of care, domestic workers are deeply invested in the expansion of long-term supports and services.
Ongoing Policy Initiatives and Progress
Support at Home Program
Tens of thousands of San Francisco seniors and people with disabilities need home care to live safely and independently in their homes. In 2016, the Northern California Care Council – a long-term care stakeholder alliance of which the California Domestic Workers Coalition is an active leader – helped to establish the SF Support at Home Program. This pilot program subsidizes the cost of home care for seniors and adults with disabilities in San Francisco who do not qualify for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) or who pay a share of cost. SF Support at Home is a visionary solution to the affordability challenges presented by private in-home support, allowing middle-income seniors and adults with disabilities to afford vital services that they need while providing dignified working conditions and a living wage to their attendants.
2016 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Enforcement
On Monday, September 12, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB1015: The 2016 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights! Over 300,000 domestic workers in California now have permanent overtime protections. History has been made. This victory comes as the result of nearly a decade of advocacy in the California legislature and organizing workers from across the state to the Capitol to uphold the dignity of domestic work within state law. Domestic worker leaders have been at the forefront of every step of the way– from leading a march in Sacramento to testifying in front of a policy committee. Thanks to the leadership of domestic workers and to the commitment of allies and supporters from across the state, we have achieved permanent recognition to an industry that was once in the shadows. We did it! ¡Si Se Pudo! In 2017, domestic workers will launch a statewide Bill of Rights Enforcement Campaign to support broad-scale domestic worker and employer education and robust enforcement of labor protections through community-based campaigns, collaboration with labor agencies, and leadership development and training of domestic workers.