Domestic Workers Deserve Equal Protections!
Statement on Gov. Newsom’s Veto of SB686 (Durazo)
October 2, 2023
The Health & Safety for All Workers bill (SB 686, Durazo), which would have ended the exclusion of domestic workers, nannies and caregivers from basic Cal OSHA workplace protections.
We are deeply disappointed and saddened by the Governor’s veto of SB 686. We expected more from this Governor. Domestic workers deserve more. Despite widespread support from the California Legislature, State and National women’s, labor, and civil rights leaders, and both employer and worker leadership in the development of SB 686, domestic workers will continue to be left unprotected in their workplaces and at risk of serious injury and illness,” said Kim Alvarenga, Director of CDWC.
We have worked tirelessly over the last four years to create a framework to bring California forward, and the Governor’s office has been unwilling to recognize the women who make up this workforce as equal to other workers. With this veto, the Governor sends a clear message that he does not value the critical work of the state’s homecare, childcare, and household workers, denying them the same rights all other workers enjoy.
We recognize that the domestic work industry is unique and requires thoughtful solutions, yet without first ending the exclusion, we cannot move forward. SB 686 was a crucial first step that would give Cal/OSHA jurisdiction in order to begin developing guidance, policies, and procedures for the new industry; any industry-specific standards would follow regular processes, taking both employer and worker stakeholders into account.
Domestic workers are the backbone of the economy. We will not back down from this fight. We are proud to stand with domestic workers, employers and leaders across this nation who understand it is long past time to act on this historic wrong. We continue the legacy of the generations of women of color before us who have fought for equality and dignity for their labor. Alongside our allies, we will continue to push for the health and safety protections our workers need to thrive, and we remain committed to finding a solution that gives California’s domestic workers the dignity and respect they deserve.
Domestic workers such as nannies, house cleaners, and homecare workers face risk of injury and illness in the workplace everyday because they lack health and safety protections.
Governor Newsom, stand on the right side of history!
It’s time to protect ALL workers.
Everyone deserves a safe workplace!
Over 2 million homes across California depend on the essential care provided by more than 300,000 domestic workers – yet they remain without health and safety protections in the workplace.
For too long, the workers we entrust to care for our loved ones and our homes have been marginalized and dehumanized by intentional exclusion from our worker protection laws. These exclusions are a remnant of our country’s ugly past and blatant discrimination against Black and women workers that continue on in our state’s labor code today.
As a result, domestic workers are regularly exposed to health and safety threats. These include exposure to toxic products, heavy lifting leading to muscle tears, sprains, back injuries and other long-term chronic conditions such as asthma, coughing, vision impairment impacts on the reproductive system, and more.
It is long past time for California to rectify this historical wrong and provide dignity and safety to hundreds of thousands of California domestic workers.
The Health and Safety for All Workers Act, SB 686 (Durazo)
SB 686 will ensure that all workers have a safe workplace!
SB 686 builds on the work of SB 321, which California domestic workers advocated for and won in 2021 and which convened an Advisory Committee of domestic workers, employers, and occupational health and safety experts with Cal/OSHA to create the first ever health and safety guidelines for the domestic work industry that were published earlier this year.
These voluntary health and safety guidelines address the occupational risks and hazards domestic workers face every day, but do not go far enough to ensure protections for workers.
SB 686 seeks to implement the policy recommendations made by the committee which includes ending the household domestic services exclusion from California labor code. This would give Cal/OSHA the authority needed to implement health and safety protections for the in-home workforce.
The Health and Safety for All Workers Act, SB 686 is supported by:
National and State Leaders
Co-Executive Director, Young Women’s Freedom Center
National Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable
Co-Executive Director, Voz: Workers Rights Education Project
President and CEO, National Employment Law Project
Kristin Rowe Finkbeiner
Executive Director/CEO & Co Founder, MomsRising
President, National Partnership for Women and Families
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
Executive Secretary – Treasurer, California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
Fatima Gross Graves
President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
Mary Kay Henry
International President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
California Democratic Party (CADEM)*
Civil Rights Leader
Executive Director, Family Values at Work
Former Mayor of Oakland
Executive Director, Hand in Hand, the Domestic Employers Network
Reverend James Lawson
Civil Rights Leader
Dina Bakst & Sherry Leiwant
Co-Founders & Co-Presidents, A Better Balance
General Secretary Treasurer, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)*
Secretary Treasurer, UNITE HERE International Union*
Executive Director, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California
Ai – jen Poo
Executive Director, Caring Across Generations
Founder & President, Justice for Migrant Women
President, National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW)
Executive Director, Jobs with Justice San Francisco
Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
President, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
California Employment Lawyers Association
California Immigrant Policy Center
Equal Rights Advocates
Domestic Worker Leaders
Chinese Progressive Association
Dolores Street Community Services
El Centro Cultural De Mexico, Santa Ana
Filipino Advocates for Justice
Filipino Community Center
Filipino Migrant Center
Institute of Popular Education of Southern California
Mujeres Unidas Y Activas
People’s Association of Workers and Immigrants East Bay
Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants South bay
Pilipino Workers Center
Pomona Economic Opportunity Center
Organized Labor & Worker Centers
California Work & Family Coalition
Clean Carwash Worker Center
Day Worker Center of Mountain View
Jobs With Justice – North bay
Jobs With Justice -San Francisco
North Bay Labor Council
San Francisco Living Wage Coalition
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles
Trabajadores Unidos Workers United
Warehouse Worker Resource Center
Community Empowerment Organizations
Bet Tzedek Legal Services
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
Caminante Cultural Foundation
First Mennonite Church of San Francisco
Motivating Our Students Through Experience
Or Shalom Jewish Community
South of Market Community Action Network
US Academy for Training and Job Placement for Immigrant Community Services Center
Visión Y Compromiso
National and State Organizations
National Women’s Political Caucus of California
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Employment Law Project
National Union of Healthcare Workers
California Legislative Women’s Caucus
California Labor Federation
Caring Across Generations
California Immigrant Policy Center
Coalition for Humane Immigrants Rights, Los Angeles
Working Partnership USA
Racial and Gender Justice Organizations
AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Black Women for Wellness
Californians for A Healthy and Green Economy
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
Grace Institute – End Child Poverty in Ca
El/La Para Trans Latinas
Showing Up for Racial Justice – Bay Area
Women’s Voices for The Earth
Health Organizations and Academic Institutions
Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
Labor Occupational Health Program, UC Berkeley
Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program, UCLA
Network Impact Sport Philanthropy
Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles Southern
Disability and Aging Justice Organizations
California Commission on Aging
Disability Rights California
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
Senior & Disability Action