Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rod Blagojevich: Workers' Best Governor?

When my daughter got her first job as a wage slave last summer, she was upset that she only got two 15 minute breaks in here 8-hour work-night. "Isn't there a law that says I get more?"

"Honey," I told her. "The law doesn't even give you that much." And the next half-hour was taken up with a little American history lesson about the "folks that brought you the weekend."

Well, thanks to Governor Rod Blagojevich, the state legislature, and UNITE-HERE, hotel attendants in Illinois have finally entered the 20th century with not one, but two paid 15-minute rest breaks per day. Last week, Blagoyevich signed the "Humane Treatment of Hotel Room Attendants Act."
Thousands of women who clean hotel rooms will benefit from a new law passed by the Illinois General Assembly this spring.

The law requires hotels to give two, paid 15-minute rest breaks per day. Room attendants - overwhelmingly female - have been struggling with increased workloads as hotels upgrade their bedding and amenities.

The signing ceremony [featured] room attendants representing their co-workers, who come from Chicago and all over the globe - Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa - to provide for their families.
Blagoyevich is getting a name as workers' best friend. Less than two weeks ago he signed a series of bills aimed at addressing the nursing shortage partly by making nurses jobs safer, including bills protecting nurses from workplace violence and eliminating mandatory overtime.