FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct 3, 2023
Contact: Daniela Perez, [email protected]
Sacramento, California – The National Domestic Workers Alliance released the following statement in response to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to veto SB 686. This bill would extend California OSHA protections to domestic workers across California.
“Today, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) expresses our profound disappointment in Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of SB686, a crucial bill that aimed to extend California OSHA (CAL/OSHA) protections to domestic workers statewide. The Governor’s rationale, citing the unique nature of private households, echoes his previous veto of SB1257, maintaining the exclusion of domestic workers from essential California Division of Occupational Safety and Health protections. Despite strong backing from key stakeholders including the California Legislature, employers, women’s, labor, and civil rights leaders who contributed to SB 686’s development, domestic workers will remain vulnerable and without workplace protections.
After SB 1257’s veto, Governor Newsom signed SB 321 into law. This legislation established an advisory committee of domestic workers, employers, and other key stakeholders to develop comprehensive guidelines and policy recommendations to Cal/OSHA, offering a clear path to ensuring health and safety for workers, while recognizing the specific nature of the home as the workplace. SB 686 aimed to grant Cal/OSHA jurisdiction to develop industry-specific guidance and standards, a crucial first step towards comprehensive solutions.
Despite our diligent efforts to provide the roadmap and policy guidelines, Governor Newsom vetoed this legislation.
Domestic workers care for our homes, our aging and disabled loved ones and our children. They are the foundation of the modern economy, and yet their work and their vulnerabilities at work, remain underappreciated and unaddressed. Throughout the devastating California wildfires, domestic workers kept families and homes safe, often working through dangerous, hazardous conditions. Some were not informed when their workplaces were within evacuation zones. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these vulnerabilities, as they often risked their own health and safety to ensure that of the people in their care.
One in every 50 workers in California is a domestic worker (EPI). This is why health and safety for domestic workers must take its place in California’s proud legacy in championing labor rights and fairness. It is time for California and the rest of the nation to ensure domestic workers receive the rights and protections they deserve. We continue to organize and bring our concerns to the forefront of the national agenda. And we will do so until this workforce is respected and protected in California and across the country.”