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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
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People Gather to Show Support for Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

People gathered in Downtown LA Thursday to support a bill that would grant more rights to domestic workers.

Domestic workers and labor activists held a "Domestic Workers Parade" at the State Building in Downtown LA to celebrate and express their support for AB-241, or the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

According to Aquilina Versoza, the Executive Director of the Fillipino Workers Center which is one one the leading organizations in the California Domestic Workers Coalition, says that AB 241 will bring more equality for domestic workers.

"Here in California, the (California Domestic Workers) Bill of Rights would provide overtime protections for all domestic workers, meals and rest breaks, workers compensation, and for live in domestic workers, it would also include uninterrupted sleep and the right to kitchen access to cook their own food."

Amelia Baranchea supports the bill because she experienced injustices as a domestic worker. She worked for a family for 24-hours a day taking care of a Alzheimer patient for three years.

"This is when I experienced racism, no break period, no overtime fee and no work compensation," she said.

"We also have to have understanding, kindness and patience just like caregivers are taking care of their employers just like part of their own family," Baranchea added.

Helen Katz employs domestic workers and is in support of this bill.

"I think its a shame on us this is not somebody else's fight this is our fight...We're talking about we invite into our homes to take care of our most needy family members and loved ones... They all deserve the kind of rights that all other laborers have," she said.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano drafted AB 241, which was introduced back in February.

"He (Assemblyman Ammiano) feels that it is important that they have the same kind of working protections that other workers do," said Carlos Alcala, communication director for Assemblyman Ammiano.

AB 241 is the second domestic workers bill that has passed through the California legislature. AB 889 was introduced in February 2011 and passed through the assembly and the senate, but was vetoed by Governor Brown. Alcala says that a bill goes through a number of changes in the legislative process.

"The current version is very similar to what was passed last year," he said.

But organizations, like the California Association for Health Services at Home, oppose the bill. Jody Sherman, president of the AAATLC, a home healthcare staffing service, said her clients can't afford to pay more for home healthcare.

"Our clients have absorbed a good portion of (rising healthcare costs) already," Sherman said, "but there's a limit to what they can pay."

The current bill has already passed through one of the steps before reaching Governor Brown's desk. The Labor and Employment Committee in Sacramento approved the bill 5 to 2 Wednesday. The bill will then go to the Assembly Propriations Committee for approval. If approved it will move through the Full Assembly, the Senate Labor Committee, the Senate Assembly and then the full Senate.

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