BY ISN STAFF | August 11, 2016
Informed by the Catholic social tradition of justice for workers, faculty and staff at the three Jesuit universities within the California Province have signed a letter in support of the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.
The bill, originally signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013, guarantees the right to overtime pay for domestic workers, providing a substantial increase in income to hundreds of thousands of domestic workers caring full time for children, the elderly and those with disabilities as personal attendants. The bill was a culmination of 4 years of collaborative advocacy work, and went into effect on January 1, 2014. However, the bill’s expiration in 2017 provides cause for ongoing advocacy and support.
The letter, coordinated by the Lane Center at the University of San Francisco, and signed by faculty and staff at USF, Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University, is informed by Catholic social tradition and discusses “overtime pay for domestic workers as a way to protect the common good, honor human dignity, and promote the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable,” and addresses both the unique nature of the relationship between domestic workers and their employers and concerns raised in opposition to the bill.
“As the context of work has changed in history, the Catholic Church has consistently maintained that the person is the center of work and work is an expression of his or her dignity’” states the letter. Sharing the words of Pope Francis in a 2013 address to Dhaka workers, “it is work-not power, not money, not culture–that gives men and women a sense of dignity,” the letter emphasizes that “the right to overtime pay is a key element of honoring and uplifting the dignity of domestic workers, their families and the thousands of families that rely on them for support and care.”
All three California Jesuit institutions of higher education have been highly engaged in the work of the Ignatian Solidarity Network since its inception in 2004. Faculty, staff, and students participate in national and regional ISN programs, all three institutions participate as institutional members, and from 2004-2011 the University of San Francisco served as ISN’s homebase.