GABRIELA USA and Migrante SF-NorCal Urge Governor Brown to Pass A.B. 241 While Upholding Migrant Workers Rights at Global Gathering

September 13, 2013

Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,
Mario de Mira, Organizer, Migrante SF-Northern California,

This week, A.B. 241, also known as the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, passed in the state Senate and is now sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for a signature to pass or deny it. A.B. 241 initially included other worker rights, such as meal breaks, sick days, workers’ compensation and adequate sleeping conditions for live-in workers. The Senate version passed on to the governor this week strictly focuses on overtime pay. “Any worker should have basic rights when working a job, despite legal status. Without these protections, domestic workers have been vulnerable to exploitation, and the state system has done nothing to hold employers accountable,” says Valerie Francisco, GABRIELA USA’s Chairperson. Despite the many compromises that have been made on the bill, GABRIELA USA and Migrante SF-Northern California are strongly urging Governor Brown to pass the bill now, but will not cease to continue fighting for workers rights.

Filipinos, like other migrant populations, struggle to meet their basic needs to survive, including affordable housing, jobs, health care, services and other basic human rights. Migrant workers leave their home countries every day to find dignifiable work, so they can support their families in the U.S. and in their home countries, only to find themselves struggling again to meet basic needs. These workers are often vulnerable to exploitation, wage theft, and abuse, particularly for live-in caregivers, where very few laws, if any, offer protections. “We believe that having basic protections will be positive for Filipino caregivers. The passage of this bill and our continued fight for our rights will show what is possible when people are united and organized,” says Rowena Viray, a caregiver and a member of Migrante SF-Northern California.

The global economy thrives off of the backs of migrant workers, and yet they are offered very few protections in the host country. Employers are not held accountable to standard employment laws and policies to ensure basic human rights are met. The Philippines, like other developing countries around the world, force their people to migrate through the Labor Export Program, sanctioned by the Philippine Government.  Live-in caregivers and workers are left to fight for their own rights and protections, as demonstrated in the A.B. 241 struggle.

While demanding justice for workers in California, this October 1-4, GABRIELA USA and Migrante will be convening a conference with migrant workers from around the world at the International Assembly for Migrants and Refugees 4 (IAMR4) to counter the high-level dialogues happening concurrently within the United Nations, where migrants voices are being left out.

In response to migrants’ rights being trampled on by government corruption and global imperialist trade policies, the IAMR4 will also mobilize to protest the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, where policies are discussed to increase remittances. “The global economy is an exploitative business led and profited by the global 1%, and migrants are generating the revenue for it. We need to organize to demand an end to this large-scale abuse!” says Tina Shauf, GABRIELA USA’s Vice Chair of Campaigns. The IAMR4 is organized for and by migrants who are at the forefront of speaking out against injustice towards migrants worldwide.

PASS A.B. 241 NOW!