SEPTEMBER BITS & PIECES
COLORADO LAW NOW GIVES EQUAL PROTECTION TO DOMESTIC WORKERS
A new Colorado law, enacted in August, extends to domestic workers in the state the same protections enjoyed by other workers. They had previously been excluded from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. Colorado thus joins a few other states that have brought equal benefits as other workers under the federal law.
Domestic workers include people who care for children, tend gardens and clean other people’s homes, among other jobs. The law says that these workers are “employees,” the same as if they worked in a factory or office and can file complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division against employers for things like cheating them on salaries, discrimination and harassment.
These workers have been underpaid and unprotected by labor laws throughout most of the United States. Colorado had previously passed legislation establishing a minimum wage and overtime requirements for them. The new law extends their rights to those of regular salaried employees.
APOLOGIZE STARBUCKS AND PAY BACK
In a major ruling Aug. 25 the NLRB ordered Starbucks to repay all benefits illegally denied to workers at hundreds of its stores that voted for a union. It also ruled that Starbucks issue a written apology to the affected workers for the harm it caused and that CEO Howard Schultz record a video admitting to these illegal actions.
More Perfect Union, 8/25
UNION DRIVES ALSO HITTING SOUTH
Southern states, long a haven for non-union shops, are not escaping current union activity. For a description of organizing at Dollar General stores and other locations and how workers in these states are learning the benefits of union organizing, click on the link below.
MICHIGAN STORE BECOMES FIRST CHIPOTLE RESTAURANT TO VOTE UNION
In Lansing, Mich., a Chipotle facility became the first in the Mexican grill’s chain to vote union. The restaurant chain operates 3,000 facilities in the US. The union drive is backed by the 1.2 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The workers are demanding higher pay and improved schedules.
BILL IN CONGRESS PUSHES FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS
Across the country, domestic workers have been among the most exploited. These workers, both employees and independent contractors, provide services in private homes as nannies, house cleaners, home care workers, cooks, and other jobs. A large majority of them are women of color. Their median hourly wage is $12/hour, barely enough to live on, no less to support others in their household.
In the past few years, a number of cities like Seattle have taken measures to protect the rights of domestic workers. In July, Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards awarded over $71,000 in back pay, interest, and civil penalties to a live-in domestic worker who had been robbed of her rightful pay by an employer who failed to pay the city’s minimum wage and overtime pay.
Now, a bill in Congress, originally introduced in 2019 by then Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cal.) along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and reintroduced in 2021 by Gillibrand and Jayapal and Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-New Mex.) sets up a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. which codifies their workplace benefits and rights and increases the tools to enforce the law. In July the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the legislation that exposed the conditions facing these workers.