Coming to this country with dreams of a better life, some 300,000 domestic workers labor as caregivers, nannies and house cleaners in 2 million homes across California. Unlike most other workers, however, they’re not protected by OSHA health and safety guidelines, an exclusion that dates back to slavery and New Deal legislation when most domestic workers were Black.
Dignidad tells the story of today’s domestic workers who are risking it all to support their families while fighting for their rights on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through grit, activism and unbending solidarity, these mostly female and largely undocumented workers show how change can happen, even when the odds are stacked against them.
Led by Kim Alvarenga, the daughter of a Salvadoran domestic worker in San Francisco, the California Domestic Workers Coalition joins Senator MarÃa Elena Durazo (D, Los Angeles) and others to secure legislation that would bring domestics under OSHA guidelines for the first time in our nation’s history. Although these women workers face no formal opposition in the state legislature, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom becomes their most formidable foe.
About the director
Paige Bierma is an Emmy-winning independent documentary filmmaker and journalist based in San Francisco, California. This is her second film collaboration with UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center. She believes a documentary’s success is measured by its ability to help bring about change in public policy, or at least in people’s hearts.