“Rape on the Night Shift” Survivors to Governor Brown: Sign AB 1978 (Gonzalez)

Asm. Lorena Gonzalez Joins Immigrant Women Janitors as they Share Stories of Sexual Exploitation; Bill Will Empower Workers to Stand Up Against Abuse

Sacramento, CA – Immigrant women janitors will take their call for action against rape and sexual exploitation at work directly to Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday. Women who have survived rape and sexual harassment at work will take their stories of exploitation and abuse to Governor Brown’s office as hundreds of their colleagues and supporters hold vigil outside the Capitol.

The women and their allies are asking Governor Brown to commit to sign AB 1978 (Gonzalez), a bill that would provide important protections for workers in a low-road, low-wage industry that exploits immigrants and women economically and sexually.

WHO:

  • Immigrant women janitors who are survivors of rape and sexual harassment at work
  • Asm. Lorena Gonzalez
  • Clergy members

WHAT:
Hold a “speak out” in front of Governor Brown’s office to share their stories of rape and sexual harassment at work, ask the Governor to commit to signing AB 1978 (Gonzalez)

WHEN:
Tuesday, August 23rd
11:00 am Survivors available for interviews
11:15 am Program starts
11: 30 am Delegation of survivors goes to Gov. Brown’s office

WHERE:
State Capitol, North Steps

VISUALS:
Women dressed in white with red handprints, symbolizing their vulnerability to sexual exploitation on the job. Clergy blessing the rape and harassment survivors.

BACKGROUND

Female janitors face unique risk of sexual harassment and assault as their jobs often require working alone at night in empty buildings, an epidemic PBS Frontline profiled in “Rape on the Night Shift,” and in a report from UC Berkeley earlier this year: “Perfect Storm: How Supervisors Get Away with Sexually Harassing Workers Who Work Alone at Night.”

AB 1978, the Property Services Worker Protection Act would enhance the Department of Industrial Relations’ authority to prevent assault by requiring employer training and prevention plans, establishing a hotline for victims, and toughening enforcement for employers who leave workers at risk.

Since “Rape on the Night Shift,” Immigrant Women Rising – a movement of janitors and allies mobilized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Service Workers West (USWW) has led a new campaign to end sexual harassment and workplace sexual assault. In addition to advancing AB 1978, the movement was successful in securing protections for property service workers in new industry-wide contracts negotiated in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Orange County.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate and go to Governor Brown’s desk in the next few days.

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