Earlier this week New York state passed the first domestic workers labor rights bill in the nation, extending rights already granted to other laborers in the Fair Laborers Act to nannies, caregivers, and other home-care providers. Now, advocates hope New York’s passage of the bill will give other states a needed nudge to get behind domestic workers in their locale. As of now, only California seems close enough to get in line.
Jill Shenker, national organizer of the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance says that a “resolution is being worked on that will include some of the concepts” that are in the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
In 2006, a similar bill was passed through both legislative bodies in California but was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now another resolution is in the works and due out in 2011, when it seems more likely to become law once Schwarzenegger’s term-limits expire.
The new resolution passed committee in June and is now headed to the Assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) told the San Francisco Weekly earlier this week, “I don’t think [passing the bill] will be a problem,” adding, “New York is ahead of us and I really hope we can catch up to them…I like what I’m hearing and it’s all on the table.”
Shenker said that in other states like Colorado, some initiatives are under consideration, but for the most part they are in the earliest stages and it’s too soon to tell how much support they’ll have.
Until then, Shenker says the National Domestic Workers Alliance will be busy drumming up support among lawmakers in all states about the bill. Although most of the group members and founders of the alliance are from New York and California, there are several others scattered across the country, including CASA de Maryland, Colectivo Tejiendo Suenos in Chicago, and Centro Humanitario in Denver.
Advocates hope that a such a regionally diverse contingent will help push similar resolutions nationwide.