GBLS and partners’ efforts lead to passage of Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
On July 2, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law Senate 2132, A Bill Establishing the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. This is a huge victory for Massachusetts domestic workers, who are now afforded basic labor protections. The signing was an emotional one for the many domestic workers who were there with their children and in some cases, with the children they care for. This achievement is due to the campaign efforts of GBLS Employment Law Unit Lead Attorney Monica Halas on behalf of her client, Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers (MCDW), and campaign cofounders Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center and GBLS Board Member, Monique Nguyen, Executive Director of Matahari, Magalis Troncoso, Executive Director of the Dominican Development Center and GBLS Board Member, Heloisa Galvao, Executive Director of the Brazilian Women’s Group, and campaign coordinator Lydia Edwards (who will be joining GBLS as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in fall 2014). The bill was championed by lead sponsors Senator Anthony Petruccelli and Representative Michael Moran, co-sponsored by over 80 other legislators, and endorsed by over 75 organizations including disability rights organizations, employers, labor, community groups, legal organizations and faith-based groups. Please click here to read the related July 3, 2014 Boston Globe article that quotes Monica Halas and Lydia Edwards. For more information on the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, please click here to read the fact sheet. The remarks of three of the dozens of nannies and housecleaners who came to witness the bill signing, follow. “Thanks to the Governor and all the people who supported this bill, we have rights in place to turn to when those rights are violated.” “This Bill will make it far easier for nannies and families to have a clear understanding of the job duties and hours and wages and will make even talking about having a written agreement possible. It will give employees the power to stand up for their own self-worth. It puts our fast growing industry on the map as an important profession people can be proud of. In the end, it provides the dignity and respect that everyone deserves.” “I am proud to be here today on the behalf of all the housecleaners and domestic workers in Massachusetts who have suffered in silence since the 1930s. Today that silence ends. Over the past few years, we as workers, our allies and employers have worked hard to pass the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. Our work has paid off. This law gives guidance and assurance that the jobs we perform every day are protected and recognized by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I have worked for over 28 years here as a housecleaner and suffered many hardships. I have been slapped, assaulted, forced to work while sick and injured and worked without receiving pay. But working on this bill has restored my dignity. Now I know my rights.” Massachusetts domestic workers along with Monica Halas, Natalicia Tracy, and other members of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers rejoice after the bill signing at the State House.
Massachusetts domestic workers along with Monica Halas, Natalicia Tracy, and other members of the Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers rejoice after the bill signing at the State House.