Sign The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB 889)
  • Petitioned Governor Jerry Brown

This petition was delivered to:

Governor Jerry Brown

Sign The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB 889)

    1. Kathleen Coll
    2. Petition by

      Kathleen Coll

      San Francisco, CA

To Governor Brown:
 
As scholars, we write urging you to sign AB889, the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Many of us research and write about domestic work or related fields of labor, race, gender and immigration studies. Some  of us are also employers of nannies, personal attendants, and housekeepers. Some of us, or our family members, once worked in the care work industry. AB889 corrects an historical legal injustice, that is, extending basic labor law protections to household workers who might have benefited from Wage Order 15, but were excluded as “personal attendants” in 1976.  
 
First and foremost, domestic work is real work. It deserves the same protections and labor standards available to all other workers. Domestic workers are not teenage babysitters but supporters of families. They serve elderly, young, and disabled people as well as clean and cook for individual families. Their exclusion from the labor law is a legacy of slavery, segregation, and discrimination against women of color, native born and immigrant.
 
Second, house cleaners, those who tend to homes, come under California labor law. The regulation of domestic workers is nothing new, but certain domestic workers- nannies and caregivers- continue to be excluded.  AB 899 fills in the gap; it will allow the Department of Industrial Relations Board to adopt regulations to implement and enforce AB 889. The agency will define employer obligations regarding overtime pay, meal and rest breaks and uninterrupted sleep by hearing from all stakeholders.
 
Third, the charge that casual employers would be harmed is preposterous since the truly casual employer is intended to be exempt from AB 889 and the bill charges the Department of Industrial Relations with creating regulations that ensure this as well.
 
Fourth, the home is not a private sphere outside of the law or apart from society. Government enters the front door of our residences through sending benefits and tax rebates, through protecting us against crimes of all sorts, including domestic violence, and by mandating food and product safety for the goods and services we use.  If government can mandate criminal checks of care workers, it certainly can mandate their decent treatment by home employers.
 
Fifth, the regulation of domestic labor is as easy and as difficult as the regulation of any small business. To the extent that employers are educated and workers organized, then labor standards become the norm. Employers--in this case private households-- are apt to live up to the norms of the community-rather than face approbation and exposure of their wrongdoing, with subsequent penalties.
 
Finally, some have argued that this law invites legal trouble and that is reason not to sign it.  To us this is a spurious claim. To begin with, this law is legal. As the Supreme Court affirmed in Evelyn Coke vs. Long Island Care at Home, legislatures have the right to change the labor law to add home care and other household workers.  Furthermore, we look to our policymakers and elected officials to author and sign legislation that push our current laws to be more just and coherent.
 
We urge you to sign this bill and lead the way to a better day for those too long left in the shadows, those whose labor in homes makes it possible for others of us to go out to work.

Signed,

 

 

 

 

Eileen Boris, UC Santa Barbara (Informational contact)

 

Kathleen Coll, Stanford (Informational contact)

 

Rina Benmayor, CSU Monterey Bay

 

Alisa Bierria, UC Berkeley

 

Kia Caldwell, UNC Chapel Hill

 

Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College

 

Deborah Cohler, San Francisco State U.

 

Andrea Davies, Stanford

 

Arlene Davila, NYU

 

Alice Echols, USC

 

Penny Eckert, Stanford

 

Chris Erikson, UCLA

 

Peter Evans, UC Berkeley

 

Estelle Freedman, Stanford

 

Susana Gallardo, San José State U.

 

Angela Garcia, Stanford

 

Barbara Harthorn, UC Santa Barbara

 

Tobias Higbie, UCLA

 

Ann Holder, Pratt Institute

 

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, USC

 

Tera Hunter, Princeton

 

Aida Hurtado, UC Santa Barbara

 

Sanford Jacoby, UCLA

 

Laura Kang, UC Irvine

 

Keyvan Kashkooli, UCLA

 

Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA

 

Lisa Levenstein, UNC Greensboro

 

Nelson Lichtenstein, UC Santa Barbara

 

George Lipsitz, UC Santa Barbara

 

Cameron Macdonald, U. of Wisconsin

 

Vanessa May, Seaton Hall U.

 

Cecilia Menjivar, Arizona State U.

 

Mike Messner, USC

 

Sonya Michel, U. of Maryland

 

Ruth Milkman, CUNY Graduate Center

 

Mireille Miller-Young, UC Santa Barbara

 

Premilla Nadasen, Queens College, CUNY

 

Laury Oaks, UC Santa Barbara

 

Alice O’Connor, UC Santa Barbara

 

Tiffany Linton Page, UC Berkeley

 

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, USC

 

Gretchen Purser, Syracuse U.

 

Mary Romero, Arizona State U.

 

Erika Bree Rosenblum, UC Berkeley

 

Vicki Ruiz, UC Irvine

 

Leila Rupp, UC Santa Barbara

 

Ivan Sag, Stanford

 

Leslie Salzinger, UC Berkeley

 

Ofer Sharone, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

Jenny Sharpe, UCLA

 

Jodi Short, UC Hastings College of Law

 

Lok Siu, UC Berkeley

 

Cinzia Solari, U. of Massachusetts, Boston

 

Barrie Thorne, UC Berkeley

 

Chris Tilly, UCLA

 

Sheila Tully, San Francisco State U.

 

Miguel Unzueta, UCLA School of Management

 

Barbara Voss, Stanford

 

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, UC Irvine

 

Barbara Winslow, Brooklyn College, CUNY

 

Noah Zatz, UCLA Law School

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Richard Winsten CORTLANDT, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      Pro bono advocate for the law enacted in New York. It is just and it works for domestic workers, their employers, and the public.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carolyn Rhodes NORFLK, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      Fairness

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Julia Mangione MENLO PARK, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      No one should be denied their basic human rights

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gwen McEvoy ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
      • about 2 years ago

      Having done research on in-home eldercare providers, I know how difficult and important this real work is.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Judy Hoover PHILADELPHIA, PA
      • about 2 years ago

      Because Domestic workers are often exploited immigrants afraid to stand up for their rights. They need support, fair pay, benefits and dignity

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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