Health, Safety, Dignity (2021)

Melanie Cervantes
11″ x 17″ full color poster design and digital graphic in four languages, February, 2021

It was an honor to once again work with the California Domestic Worker’s Alliance. This poster was designed to celebrate all of the work and love that members put into advocating for the Health and Safety for All Workers Act which was unfortunately vetoed by Governor Newsom “thereby denying California’s 300,000 domestic workers the right to workplace health and safety protections, which are critical to keeping workers healthy and safe at work, especially with the increased hazards of wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

From the California Domestic Workers Coalition website:

The Health and Safety for All Workers Act

For far too long, domestic workers have been excluded from basic labor protections, including the health and safety protections of CAL/OSHA. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and recent devastating wildfires in California has exacerbated the dangers that domestic workers and day laborers face on a daily basis because they are excluded from CAL/OSHA protections and regulations. 

Right now domestic workers are right at the frontline of the COVID-19  pandemic. They work with people most vulnerable to the illness, like the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, often without adequate protective equipment or training. And they themselves don’t have a safety net to lean on in times of crisis, like affordable health care, unemployment benefits, and paid sick days.

During the wildfires that devastated California, we saw a similar phenomenon. Domestic workers and other household workers, like day laborers, were asked to stay behind to fight fires, guard homes or pets, work in smoky conditions, and clean up toxic ash, all without protective equipment. Workers were further put at risk when employers failed to warn them that the homes they work in were under mandatory evacuation. 

Domestic workers often have to make the impossible choice between working in unsafe conditions or going without any income, especially during these kinds of crises. But domestic workers face risks every day- the risk of injury,  exposure to infectious disease and household cleaning chemicals, and the very real threat of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by employers or clients, because of their often isolated and informal work environment.

End the Exclusion- Domestic Workers Deserve Health and Safety Now!

To protect the health and safety of California’s domestic workers, we are working with our allies to pass SB 1257 The Health and Safety for All Workers Act. SB 1257 would remove the historical exclusion of domestic workers, so that domestic workers can have the legal right to health and safety training and protective equipment, and be protected against retaliation when they try to protect their own health and safety at work.