'Brown let us down'
Latino protesters blast governor, claim state gives more protections to farm animals than farm workers
Farm workers, students, labor leaders, domestic workers and a sheep — attempting to illustrate how government cares more for animals than humans — were among those gathered in front of the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday to protest four vetoes by Gov. Jerry Brown.
On Sept. 30, Brown vetoed the Trust Act, the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights and two farm worker heat protection bills — The Humane Treatment for Farm Workers Act, which would make it a crime to not provide appropriate water or shade to workers laboring under high heat conditions, and the Farm Worker Safety Act, which would have allowed workers to enforce the state’s heat regulations by suing employers who repeatedly violate the law.
“It’s unacceptable that immigrants and Latinos in California will continue to live in fear of attacks like Arizona’s SB 1070. It’s appalling that 200,000 domestic workers will continue to work without rest or meal breaks,” said Maria Elena Durazo of the LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, in a prepared statement. “It’s outrageous when abuse of a farm animal is taken more seriously than abuse of a farm worker. Gov. Brown let us down.”
Under the federal Secure Communities program, law enforcement officials have been able to deport more than 80,000 immigrants detained over minor and non-violent offenses. The Trust Act called for limits on immigration enforcement, which would have restricted deportation proceedings to those suspected of serious offenses. Brown praised the goals of the bill, but believed the law would force police to release some immigrants possibly involved in serious crimes before being turned over to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights would force employers to provide overtime pay, as well as meal and rest breaks to childcare providers, house cleaners and caregivers.
According to the Huffington Post, a 2006-08 report by the American Community Survey, a function of the US Census Bureau, found that in California, only 20 percent of domestic workers are white, and almost 70 percent are Latina. A whopping 93 percent are women.
A 2007 study conducted by Mujeres Unidas y Activas — a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women — found that 90 percent of domestic workers in Northern California did not receive overtime pay and 11 percent earned less than the minimum wage.