California Domestic Workers Coalition

CalMatters |

Dozens of domestic workers laid banners on the state Capitol grounds Tuesday that spelled out the words “racist” and “injustice.” Then they cleaned them up. 

It was all part of a rally of several hundred domestic laborers to urge state lawmakers to pass more workplace protections. Aminta Morales, 46, a Guatemalan immigrant who cleans houses in San Francisco, said she worries about breathing in cleaning chemicals and hurting herself. 

  • Morales: “How long will my lungs resist the cleaning supplies? Every time I arrive at home I am prone to accidents. Once I fell on a bathtub and my back hurt a lot, but I had to keep working. What are my kids going to eat in Guatemala?”

The rally promoted a bill that state Sen. María Elena Durazo, a Los Angeles Democrat,  introduced earlier this year that would secure health training and safety equipment for workers like Morales. 

  • Durazo: “This is about how you help a household in becoming safer. There’ll be those who want to exploit that domestic worker. We saw many examples during the fires, when domestic workers were asked to come and clean without safety equipment that they needed.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed an earlier version of this bill in 2020, saying turning private households into worksites would prove onerous for renters and homeowners.

Since then, Durazo’s office has made changes to the bill. It has been placed on the suspense file, which means it will become one of hundreds of bills the Legislature will vote on Friday with little discussion.