In what may be a victim of election season politics, a landmark bill dubbed “The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights,” Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 889 at the last minute on Sunday 9/30/12, stalling efforts to provide common workplace protections to workers – mostly women – who have historically labored without guarantees of overtime or meal breaks.
It needs to be pointed out that sincere efforts were made to ensure that the rights of disabled people employing their own assistants would not be harmed in the process of granting rights to domestic workers in other situations. “We worked very hard to make sure that the employers, as well as the workers and the disability rights community who ended up removing opposition, were heard in producing this bill,” Ammiano said.
“It’s long overdue for these workers to get these rights,” Ammiano said. “Almost everyone else has had them for decades. There will be new efforts to bring them protections, but we must always remember that justice delayed is justice denied.”
The bill, AB 889, was the product of months of work and negotiation, culminating with a late agreement that would have sent the matter to the Department of Industrial Relations for formulation of regulations.
California would have been the second state to enact labor protections for domestic workers. New York enacted a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010. The California bill was supported by more than 100 labor, women’s, faith and community groups including National Domestic Worker Alliance, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, CHIRLA, NAACP, AFL-CIO, and Pilipino Workers Center, and has received prominent endorsements from The New York Times and “Parks and Rec” celebrity Amy Poehler.
Click HERE for a link to the entire bill. The Governor’s veto message can be viewedHERE.