California Domestic Workers Coalition

Latino Rebels |

When Martha Herrera could hardly contain her excitement as she stood outside the California State Assembly in Sacramento on Wednesday.

When news broke that SB686, a bill meant to ensure safer working conditions for domestic workers, had advanced out of the Committee on Labor and Employment, she and other domestic workers nearly lifted and paraded the bill’s sponsor, Sen. María Elena Durazo (D), around out of sheer joy.

The bill was passed onto the Appropriations Committee with a unanimous vote.

“For domestic workers, we are seeing the fruits of a struggle of many years,” Herrera said.

Currently, domestic workers and day laborers are excluded from California’s workplace health and safety protections under the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

The state employs more than 300,000 domestic workers, primarily immigrant women. In 2018, three-quarters of domestic workers in California were Latino, according to the UCLA Labor Center.

The bill comes at a time when domestic workers continue to mobilize across the country for better pay, guaranteed safety protections, and workplace benefits. Just this year, President Joe Biden issued an executive order recognizing the labor rights of domestic workers at the federal level.