This has been the Year of the Nanny in California politics. There was Meg Whitman's undocumented nanny who accused her of not paying her enough, which was perhaps the death knell to Whitman's gubernatorial campaign (okay, technically, that was last year). Then there was Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's secret lover, who was also his housekeeper and the mother of their love child.
While these gossipy news bits have provided us reporters with endless material for bad composite art, the nanny issue that will actually have the most lasting consequences is the Domestic Worker's Bill of Rights, AB 889.
The bill would give in-house workers like housekeepers and, yes, nannies,
basic labor protections like overtime pay, guaranteed sleeping time, and
five-day workweeks, as well as meal and rest breaks.
The bill passed the Assembly in June by 49 to 28, and is set to be heard in
the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 15. New York state was the first to pass such a bill last year.
To urge the passage of the bill, coauthor Assemblyman Tom
Ammiano (D-San Francisco) showed up in his hometown on Wednesday morning outside the Westfield Centre downtown, joining domestic workers who were urging the state Senate to pass the bill.
Ammiano -- by far the city's intentionally funniest politician -- opened
with this zinger: "I'm the only person in the city not
running for mayor." He was joined by housekeepers from the Mission
District's Women's Collective, La Colectiva, the workers advertising in those classy Fairy Godmother ads in BART.
They chose the location today given the opening at the mall's movie theater of The Help,
a movie that shows the struggles of black female housekeepers in Mississippi during the civil rights era. At that time, housekeepers were left out of basic
labor protections of the National Labor Relations Act.
But as Whitman's nanny proved once again last year, though the race of domestic workers has changed, not much else has.
Photos by Francisco Barradas