Lawmaker goes to bat for California cheerleader worker rights

At the start of this year we generated a series of posts highlighting new laws that took effect with the dawn of 2015. The first of the lot featured the elements of AB 1522, a measure that guarantees of paid sick leave for California workers.

Under that law, as of July 1, any employee who can claim 30 days of employment with one company in a single year will be enjoy not only the protection of their job if they should become ill, but he or she will be entitled to at least three days of paid time off.

The author of that bill was San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. Now she has put her name to another measure that seeks to broaden rights for another set of workers. The group of individuals covered by the legislation isn’t particularly large, and some readers might be surprised to learn that they are a group that needs the protection.

We’re talking about the cheerleading squads for professional sports teams. Units like the Charger Girls and the Oakland Raiders cheerleaders would be the beneficiaries.

Provisions of the proposed law would reportedly ensure that cheerleaders receive better pay. They also would be protected from such abusive practices as working for no overtime or being required to fork out significant amounts of their own money for job-related things.

Lawsuits that have been brought by a number of squads against their NFL team owners claim the cheerleaders make less than $5 an hour for all they are expected to do.

As Gonzalez puts it, “If the guy selling you the beer deserves a minimum wage, so does the woman entertaining you on the field.” She says it’s a matter of recognizing that all work is dignified and protecting the rights of workers against wage and other forms of discrimination is a worthy endeavor.

Many would surely find it hard to argue with that rationale.

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