Late Sunday night California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and TRUST Act. The TRUST Act would have prevented a deeply flawed federal deportation program from tearing apart more California families, diverting important resources and costing the state millions of dollars.
The governor's midnight veto of the California Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights “does not shake our commitment to winning in California or building a national movement,” said the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), in a statement released Monday. The group vowed to carry on the fight for the workplace rights of the state’s 200,000 domestic service workers.
Even in the face of setbacks like this one, our movement for dignity, respect and labor protections for domestic workers grows stronger. We know that our work to make the world a more just place for domestic workers—and for all of us—is the work of a lifetime. And one governor’s poor decision will not derail us.
The bill would have given domestic workers—mostly women of color, the majority immigrants—who clean homes and take care of children, the sick and the elderly, some state-recognized rights in their efforts to curb abusive conditions. It would provide meal and rest breaks, overtime and reporting pay enjoyed by other workers and expand domestic workers' access to workers' compensation. In addition, it would guarantee eight hours of sleep for those who work around the clock and allow them to use kitchen facilities.
It was strongly backed by California’s union movement, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka traveled to California to lobby lawmakers for the bill. Trumka said at a Sacramento rally:
This bill does not create new rights, it extends the rights that almost all other workers have to domestic workers….It's not right that domestic workers should be excluded from overtime pay laws. It's time for that to end. It's not right that domestic workers are excluded from collective bargaining laws. It's time for that to end. Domestic workers' rights are civil rights. Domestic workers' rights are human rights.
The TRUST Act, which the AFL-CIO also strongly supported, would have prevented the problem of the so-called “Secure Communities” program. The program is intended to target only “those who pose a threat to public safety,” but instead the program’s become a dragnet for deporting virtually anyone caught in the program’s web. In California, 70% of immigrants fast-tracked to deportation through Secure Communities were convicted of only minor offenses, such as traffic violations.