COTATI, CALIFORNIA, 2009—Betty Johnson changes the diaper on a boy she’s caring for. More than 300,000 California housekeepers, nannies, and personal attendants provide support and care to children, seniors, and people with disabilities, putting in long hours caring for an estimated two million households. With no overtime protections, they suffer exhaustion, and 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 forty-five hours a week, with twenty-four-hour shifts being common.
SACRAMENTO 2012—AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka joins domestic workers and their children to lobby and rally at the California state capitol, urging legislators to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. He talks with Sascha Bittner, a disabled person who employs domestic workers, and a member of Hand in Hand, an organization of domestic worker employers that advocate for workers’ rights.
SACRAMENTO 2013—Domestic workers and their children rally at the California state capitol. California gave the state’s domestic workers overtime protection in the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in 2013, but the bill included a sunset provision requiring periodic renewal.
BERKELEY 2016—Honorata Nono, a Filipina domestic worker, helps Michiko Uchida 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.
SAN FRANCISCO 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 Worker Bill of Rights permanent.
SACRAMENTO 2016—Domestic workers and the disabled clients they care for demonstrate inside the California state capitol. The California Domestic Workers Coalition started fighting for the Bill of Rights seven years ago. The state Senate has passed the bill, and the state Assembly has started to consider it.
Published in the July/August 2016 issue of The Progressive Magazine.