SACRAMENTO, CA — Domestic workers from all over California say they gathered at the state capitol in Sacramento to do what they do best — clean up.
In a symbolic gesture, these domestic workers swept the steps of the state Capitol — as they lobbied for bill AB 2314 — which would create and maintain a domestic work enforcement program that would educate and train employers and employees of fair wages and labor standards.
“Everyday 300,000 domestic workers, who are mostly women and mostly immigrants, experience wage theft so we swept that out of the capitol. They experience exploitation on the job. We swept that out of the capitol,” said Megan Whelan. “We also swept that sort of ignorance of our rights out of the capitol and through AB 2314 we’re doing exactly that. We’re cleaning up the domestic work industry.”
AB 2314 passed the labor committee vote later that afternoon.
Filipino domestic workers lobbied with their Latino counterparts, who say international solidarity was key to their victory.
“When we are united, we are our most strong. And when we are united there is no way we will not be defeated.”
Teresita Sattar is a domestic worker who is currently fighting a case against her employer for unpaid wages.
Sattar says she knows that she is not the only victim and that she actively tries to educate workers and employers of labor laws; however, she says AB 2314 will be more successful.
“We need to educate them. We need to let them know that they have these kinds of rights. And as well as these employers. Most of them also don’t even know. When you mention to them, they are kind of surprised,” said Teresita Sattar.
Advocates of domestic workers say they want to make it clear that they are not stigmatizing all care home owners.
“We want to make sure those that are treating workers with dignities and respect aren’t having unfair competition by other agencies who are undercutting the prices by paying workers less than minimum wage with no overtime,” said Aqui Soriano Versoza.
After passing the labor committee, the bill takes a step closer before being presented to the state assembly for a vote.