CALIFORNIA DOMESTIC WORKERS WANT THEIR RIGHTS MADE PERMANENT
Photoessay by David Bacon
The Progressive Magazine, July/August 2016
COTATI, CA - 2009
Betty Johnson changes the diaper on a boy she's caring for. Over 300,000 California housekeepers, nannies and personal attendants provide support and care to seniors and people with disabilities, putting in long hours caring for an estimated two million households. With no overtime protections, they suffer exhaustion, damage to their health and that of their clients, and can't earn enough to pay their own bills. In a recent survey, 76 percent of domestic workers still reported working more than 45 hours a week, with 24 hour shifts being common.
SACRAMENTO, CA 2012
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka joined domestic workers and their children to lobby and rally at the California state capitol, to urge legislators to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. He talked with Sascha Bittner, a disabled person who employs domestic workers, and a member of Hand in Hand, an organization of domestic worker employers that advocates for workers' rights.
SACRAMENTO, CA 2013
Domestic workers and their children marched and rallied on the steps of the California state capitol building. California did pass the Bill of Rights three years ago, which finally gave overtime protection to the state's domestic workers. But the Bill had a flaw - the Governor insisted that it had to come up for reapproval after three years or it would disappear.
BERKELEY, CA 2016
Honorata Nono (67), a Filipina domestic worker, helps Michiko Uchida (94) in her home in Berkeley. "Honorata is very important to me," Uchida says. "She's funny, she wakes me up, she helps me exercise, makes breakfast and lunch, cleans the house and makes my bed. What a difference in my life she makes!" Nono belongs to Filipino Advocates for Justice. "Caregiving is overlooked and undervalued," she says. "We take care of the most vulnerable people who need constant care. The people under our care also deserve love, respect and dignity. The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights means economic justice and permanent dignity for us all!"
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 2016
Maria Reyes, an activist with Mujeres Unidas y Activas (United and Active Women) urges the State of California to pass SB 1015, finally making the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights permanent.
SACRAMENTO, CA 2016
Domestic workers and the disabled clients they care for demonstrate inside the California state capital as the state Senate begins debate on SB 1015. The California Domestic Workers Coalition started fighting for the bill of rights seven years ago, and is determined that workers' overtime rights will become permanent. The State Senate has passed SB 1015, and the State Assembly has started to consider it.