My name is Luz Amelia Arevalo, I am a professional domestic worker in Los Angeles California.
Because of economic necessity, my own family -- my own grandchildren -- are far away. I care for the children of my employers, and I grow to love them as I do my own grandchildren.
There are many women like me, whose work makes it possible for so many families to thrive in California.
But we do the work we do without basic labor protections and certainly without paid sick days.
Over the years, I have been sick and hurt and had to work anyway. As a domestic worker, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. If we had paid sick days, we could rest and worry less about not getting paid.
Working while I’m sick or hurt puts the children I care for at risk. When I go to work sick, I get the children I care for sick.
Once, I fell while getting ready to walk the dog at work -- the dog was eager to go and he pulled on the leash so hard that I crashed down onto the garage floor and hit my face on the concrete.
I was in incredible pain. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get up. When I came back from the emergency room, I got right back to work. My employer didn’t give me any time to recover. My face was a mess -- it scared the children. They were very worried for me. It hurt me to see them so scared and worried.
But I kept working even though I was in so much pain and was worried about the children, because if you don’t work, you don’t get paid and I needed to get paid.
Having paid sick days would have helped me get the rest I needed.
As domestic workers, we need paid sick days. As domestic workers, we are people. We are women. We are parents. We are workers.
We contribute to the economy of this great country and we deserve respect. We deserve to be out of the shadows and treated as workers with dignity, respect and labor protections.
That’s why my colleagues and I support paid sick days and that’s why we are organizing to win a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in California.
With a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights the law will finally recognize that we are part of the workforce and that we do important work. Having a Bill of Rights will make it so that domestic workers like me will feel as though we exist -- that we are not invisible.
Will you help my colleagues and me come out of the shadows and sign a petition in support of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights?