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WAMC New York News
Thu June 3, 2010
NY Passes Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY – For six years, domestic workers and their supporters have been fighting to get the New York State legislature to approve basic benefits and protections for this historically excluded workforce... today, they are closer than ever to realizing their dream: Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Domestic workers in New York, many immigrating from other countries, in search of the American Dream, often work as many as 16 hours a day... they receive no overtime, no vacation pay, no health insurance, and until now have been excluded from labor laws that protect workers, including protection from discrimination and the right to bargain collectively.
New York is the first state to pass legislation that provides domestic workers with basic labor protections. The Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights made it through the Senate in a 33-28 vote. State Senator Diane Savino sponsored the bill in her chamber. The Assembly passed similar legislation in June 2009. Assemblyman Keith Wright introduced the original Domestic Worker's Rights Bill and carried it in the Assembly year after year. The Assembly and Senate will now combine their different versions. Savino says that if the legislation is successful, New York's Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.