SEIU-approved: Seattle council to vote on new rights for nannies, house cleaners & gardeners


teresa mosqueda

Sponsor of the bill council member Teresa Mosqueda (center)/Twitter photo

This sounds like a way to give illegal aliens more rights in the sanctuary city of Seattle. As a house cleaner notes in the article, she’s looking for support to “come out of the shadows.”

Also, how in the world is a nanny going to take a 30 minute break after five hours? Does one of the parents have to leave work and go home so the nanny gets 30 minutes off? What if the parents are unable to leave work to provide the nanny that break? What if the parents are out of town on business? Do they need to hire another nanny for that 30 minute break? What person is going to want to come into a job to work for just 30 minutes?

Another liberal policy that wasn’t completely thought out.

From Seattle TimesThe Seattle City Council plans to vote Monday to guarantee minimum wages, rest breaks and other rights for domestic workers, including nannies and house cleaners.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s legislationwhich also would create an appointed board to oversee the industry, cleared her labor-rights committee last week. “All work has dignity, and all workers deserve respect,” the council member said.

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Eight states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting domestic workers, but Seattle would be the first city in the country to do the same, according to the council.

The new regulations would apply to anyone working in a private home as a nanny, house cleaner, home-care worker, gardener, cook or household manager — except casual workers, those working for family or paid with public money.

The Office of Labor Standards would oversee and enforce the regulations.

The legislation grew from a campaign by a group of domestic workers for better pay, conditions and benefits. Casa Latina, an immigrant-worker-rights organization, and Working Washington, a union-backed advocacy organization, supported the effort.

Many domestic workers are women, immigrants and people of color, and some are underpaid and mistreated. Decades ago, they were excluded from national labor laws that protected other workers and gave them the right to unionize.

Proponents say the regulations would improve the lives of domestic workers. They say the board would educate workers and bosses, allow them to solve problems together and give workers a collective voice. Because many domestic workers work alone in private homes and are barred from unionizing, they can struggle to advocate for their interests.

“We’re here looking for support to come out of the shadows,” house cleaner Dolores Mendez said before the committee vote, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter.

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Labor groups could represent workers on the board, giving them new clout in an industry from which unions have been shut out. Home-health and nursing-home workers union SEIU 775 is a backer of the legislation and estimates there are 33,000 domestic workers in Seattle, including 8,000 nannies and 7,000 house cleaners.

Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a news release last week pledging to help complete the legislation.

“I have met with domestic workers and heard how important these protections are for them and their families,” she said in the release. “They work tirelessly in jobs that can be very tough. They deserve these rights and protections.”

First, the legislation would extend minimum-wage requirements to domestic workers who are independent contractors and to those who live in the homes where they work. Domestic workers classified as employees already are supposed to be covered by minimum-wage requirements, and the legislation would reinforce that.

The legislation also would bar domestic workers from being made to work more than five consecutive hours for the same boss without a 30-minute break and would prohibit bosses from taking away personal documents such as passports and immigration visas, a practice that can be used to inappropriately control domestic workers.

Read the whole story here.



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