A brand new documentary from the UC Davis Environmental Well being Sciences Middle (EHSC) will premiere on PBS stations starting Jan. 14. 

Dignidad: California Home Staff’ Journey for Justice” follows home staff in California as they arrange for job protections throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Viewers within the higher Sacramento space can watch the published on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 PST on KVIE. It is usually accessible for viewing on the PBS web site.

“Home staff lack nearly any protections from arbitrary and unsafe working situations. This movie highlights their battle to attain dignity, respect, and protected and humane working environments earlier than and all through the unprecedented COVID public well being disaster,” mentioned Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of public well being sciences and director of EHSC.

Hertz-Picciotto is the chief producer for the movie. Jennifer Biddle, digital strategist at EHSC, is the producer. Paige Bierma, an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, directed the documentary.

“Dignidad” is the second movie for the staff. Their earlier documentary, “Waking As much as Wildfires,” premiered on PBS in 2019. Since then, it has aired greater than 300 instances on 160 PBS stations and is at present accessible on PBS Viewfinder.

Kim Alvarenga, director of the California Home Staff Coalition, and home staff Mirna Arana and Rock Delgado are featured within the new movie.

Mirna Arana fled lethal gang violence in Guatemala and resettled in California. She began working as a cleaner, the place she skilled wage theft, and is now an activist with Mujeres Unidas y Activas. Rock Delgado, a caregiver in Los Angeles, survived a extreme bout of COVID-19 after being uncovered on the job. He’s now an activist with the Pilipino Staff Middle.

Their tales illustrate the struggles many home staff face in California. Home staff are predominantly feminine and individuals of shade. Many are new immigrants. Laboring in different folks’s houses typically contains dangers similar to unsafe working situations, exceedingly lengthy hours, wage theft and different types of abuse.

Exclusion from Cal/OSHA

The California Division of Occupational Security and Well being, generally known as Cal/OSHA, is answerable for imposing California legal guidelines and laws associated to office security. In 2020, throughout the first yr of the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Legislature handed SB 1257. The invoice was designed to increase Cal/OSHA protections to home staff.

California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the invoice. In his assertion, Newsom mentioned: “SB 1257 would prolong many employers’ obligations to non-public householders and renters, together with the responsibility to create an damage prevention plan and the requirement to conduct outside heat-trainings. Many people to whom this regulation would apply lack the experience to adjust to these laws.”

Irva Hertz-Picciotto

It was heartening that after greater than a century of getting nearly no rights as staff, home workers are actually acknowledged as needing occupational protections.”Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Home staff within the state organized in response to the veto. “Dignidad” touches on a few of the EHSC analysis findings concerning the vulnerabilities confronted by home staff throughout the pandemic. It additionally chronicles home staff’ efforts to cross a subsequent invoice launched by California Senator María Elena Durazo: the Well being and Security for All Staff Act (SB 321).

In 2021, Governor Newsom, after amending the invoice, signed SB 321 into regulation. The measure didn’t totally carry home staff below Cal/OSHA requirements. Nonetheless, it mandates the creation of an advisory committee comprised of members of the general public and consultants to develop suggestions on defending the occupational well being and security of home staff.

“It was heartening that after greater than a century of getting nearly no rights as staff, home workers are actually acknowledged as needing occupational protections. Whereas this new regulation doesn’t really assure these protections, it’s a small first step towards that objective and towards the dignity home staff deserve,” Hertz-Picciotto mentioned.



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