PASS the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights AB889 and End LEP

For Immediate Release
18 July 2011

Reference:

Jun Cruz, NAFCON Public Info Officer
415.333.6267 / info@filipinocc.org

PASS the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights AB889 and End LEP – NAFCON

The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) welcomes the approval of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB889) by the California Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations and is resolved to work for its eventual passage into law.

According to Prof. Peter Chua, author of “Ating Kalagayan: The Social and Economic Profile of U.S. Filipinos” there are over 114,000 Filipino domestic workers and caregivers living in this country, many who reside in California.

Katie Joaquin, NAFCON worker organizer, explains why the passage of the bill is so important, “The domestic worker and caregiver industry is rife with abuse because there are no protections, these workers often receive less than minimum wage and continue to be excluded from the most fundamental labor laws that other California workers enjoy.”

The bill which now awaits approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee, seeks to extend labor protections to live in caregivers, house cleaners, and baby sitters who until now are not afforded the most basic rights under the law.

“Some make as little as $50 per a day, working 24 hours doing very strenuous tasks including cleaning, lifting, cooking knowing someone’s life rests in your hands. Yet you’re not able to make enough money to support your needs and the needs of your family back home,” said Joaquin.

NAFCON encourages Filipino Domestic workers to join and form workers organizations that will fight for their rights and welfare including advocating for AB889. However NAFCON believes passing the bill should be connected to a larger effort.

Ultimately, NAFCON seeks to address the problems of poverty, landlessness and joblessness in the Philippines, causing 4,000 Filipinos to leave everyday. NAFCON believes the first step is to urge the Philippine government to prioritize development of its own economy instead of continuing its Labor Export Program (LEP).

Bernadette Herrera, NAFCON Nor-Cal Regional Spokesperson explains, “Halos ipagbili ng LEP ang ating mga kababayan sa mga mangangalakal sa labas ng Pilipinas sa hangad ng gubyerno na makatanggap ng malaking padala o remitans ng ating mga kababayang nag-abroad. Sa gitna ng matinding kahirapan at kawalan ng trabaho sa Pilipinas,sapilitan at sistematikong itinutulak ng LEP ang mga manggagawang Pilipino na mangibang-bansa.” [The LEP practically sells our people to businesses outside the Philippines in our government’s desire to receive increased remittances from these exported Filipino workers. Amidst the condition of serious, massive poverty in the Philippines, LEP forcibly and systematically pushes the Filipino workers into massive migration.]###

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