Catholic Labor Network testimony on DC Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Legislation

Dear Chairperson Silverman and members of the Committee,

My name is Clayton Sinyai and I am here today to testify today in support of B24-712, the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022.

I testify as Executive Director of the Catholic Labor Network. My organization brings together Catholic union activists with Catholic clergy, religious and lay social ministry leaders to promote worker justice. We are a national organization but are based here in Washington DC at Georgetown University and have many members in the District of Columbia.

We understand that there are more than 9,000 domestic workers in the District of Columbia – maids, nannies and home health care workers who serve in the homes of District residents. Many are recent immigrants. Unlike most workers, domestic workers do not have the right to organize in labor unions to fight for better wages and working conditions. Their workplace safety is not protected by OSHA. They frequently face sexual harassment and wage theft.

This bill would begin to address the challenges domestic workers face in the workplace. This bill would ensure that domestic workers are protected from discrimination and sexual harassment under DC’s human rights law and that they are protected from unsafe working conditions under the District’s occupational safety and health laws. It would also guarantee domestic workers a written employment contract, reducing the incidence of wage theft and exploitation.

Scripture tells us in Matthew 25 that we will be judged according to how we have treated the least privileged of our brothers and sisters. Consequently the Catholic Labor Network urges the DC Council to adopt the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act of 2022.