Sacramento PROTEST March 19th followed by PUBLIC TESTIMONY at Cal/OSHA Standards Board Hearing
Advocates to decry years-long delay in amending California’s Bloodborne Pathogens Statutes re: condom use by adult film workers; 50 advocates to host 8am Sacramento protest at the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency followed by public testimony at the Cal/OSHA Standards Board Meeting.
SACRAMENTO (March 18, 2015) Led by public health advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), over 50 advocates—including two former adult film workers who became HIV-infected while working in the adult industry in 2013—will host a protest in Sacramento over Cal/OSHA’s five-year delay in amending and clarifying California’s Bloodborne Pathogens Statutes regarding condom use in adult film production in California to better protect workers in such films. Cal/OSHA (California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health) is the state’s health and safety regulatory and watchdog organization.
The advocates will protest Thursday, March 19th in front of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (800 Capitol Mall) from 8:00am to 9:00am followed immediately by public testimony by many of the 50 advocates and protesters at the Cal/OSHA Standards Board Meeting held at the State Resources Building Auditorium (1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814) starting at 10am.
WHAT: OSHA PROTEST: Thurs. March 19, 2015—8:00am—9:00am HIV+ former adult film workers and worker safety advocates to protest California’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency over Cal/OSHA’s years-long delay on amending California’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard to better protect adult film workers and clarify regulations on condom use in adult films.
WHERE: in front of the
California Labor & Workforce Development Agency
800 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814
Cameron Adams (Stage name: Cameron Bay) and Sofia Delgado (her stage name), both of whom became HIV-positive while working in the industry August 2013, as well as 50 worker safety advocates from the Bay Area & Los Angeles in red T shirts reading “No More Excuses!”
TO BE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY:
WHAT: OSHA PUBLIC TESTIMONY at Cal/OSHA Standards Board Mtg
WHEN: Thurs. March 19—10:00am
WHERE: State Resources Building Auditorium 1416 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Public Testimony @ OSHA Standards Board Mtg (continued)
Cal/OSHA Public Testimony (continued)
WHO: Cameron Adams (Stage name: Cameron Bay) and Sofia Delgado (stage name), who both became HIV-positive while working in the adult film industry in August, 2013
- Adam Cohen, Public Health Consultant, AHF
- Dale R. Gluth, Bay Area Regional Director, AHF
- Miki Jackson, Public Policy Consultant, AHF
- Ava Aguado, Public Health Consultant, AHF, as well as from
- 50 safer sex and workplace safety advocates from the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles
CONTACT: Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications +1.323.791.5526 mobile
To be clear, condom use in adult film production in California (one of only two states, along with New Hampshire, in which adult film production is legal) already is required under Cal/OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens statutes; however, the adult industry has largely ignored the laws on condom use over the past decades with few legal or regulatory repercussions—including a lack of effective enforcement by Cal/OSHA.
As a result, on December 17, 2009 AIDS Healthcare Foundation submitted a formal petition to the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to convene an advisory committee to amend the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (CCR Title 8 §5193). In the letter, AIDS Healthcare Foundation requested that Cal/OSHA “…clarify required protections workers in the adult film industry.”
Since then, as Cal/OSHA officials have repeatedly delayed action on the petition and pushed back the item—omitting it from meeting agendas and keeping it shrouded in a veil of bureaucratic secrecy for the past five years—at least four adult performers: Cameron Adams (2013), Joshua Rodgers (2013), Sofia Delgado (her stage name, also infected in 2013) and Derrick Burts (2010)—have become infected with HIV while working in the adult film industry.
So when advocates learned that the item was once again pushed back and omitted from the agenda from this week’s Cal/OSHA Standards Board meeting (3/19/15), they decided to mobilize and bring people from the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles to Sacramento for a workplace safety protest and to testify at the OSHA Standards Board Meeting.
In fact, the protest and public testimony set for this Thursday in Sacramento will take place almost four years to the day from a similar Cal/OSHA Standards Board Meeting held in Van Nuys (on March 17, 2011) in which OSHA officials publicly stated their intentions to introduce updated Bloodborne Pathogens regulations aimed at better protecting adult film performers. According to an AHF press statement at the time:
“During a meeting of Cal/OSHA’s (California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health) Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board in Van Nuys last Thursday (Mar. 17, 2011), Deborah Gold, MPH, CIH, a Senior Safety Engineer for Cal/OSHA, announced publicly and for the first time that OSHA officials are drafting proposed new safety amendments to the state’s Bloodborne Pathogens Statute in order to clarify and strengthen workplace safety requirements for employers and adult film performers in the adult film industry. The proposed safety amendments will then be introduced at a Cal/OSHA advisory meeting to be held in Los Angeles on June 7th; the amendments will then undergo the standard public vetting and approval process that will include community and industry input and feedback.”
“The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has once again delayed the vote on the proposed amendments to the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard that would better protect adult film workers on set. AHF initially submitted the proposal in December 2009, which means it has been over five years with no end in sight,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director, AIDS Healthcare Foundation Public Health Division in a statement. “The Standards Board promised the item would be the agenda in February, then March, then April—now they say the vote will take place in May. The standards board needs to lift the veil of secrecy. No more excuses! We need Cal/OSHA to stop delays and cut through the red tape before it’s too late. These California workers are entitled to the same protection as California workers in any industry!”
“In 2013, I got a job working for an adult film studio in San Francisco. Under the industry’s own protocol, I had been tested for STDs and was available for work. When I got there, I found they had hired 75 extras to be in the scene, none of whom were tested. In addition, the main performer I was working with was injured—he was cut and bleeding—and I was pressured into working with him—and working without a condom—even though I asked for a replacement partner. Soon after, I learned that another male performer I had worked with earlier had Hepatitis C. In order to make sure I was not infected with Hepatitis C, I chose to get a full panel of STD tests. That’s when I found out I was infected with HIV,” said Cameron Adams, who will be in Sacramento Thursday for the protest and public testimony. “I followed the adult film industry’s self-regulation and now I am an HIV positive woman. While it may be too late for me, it’s not too late for other performers. The adult film industry will never willingly put health and safety before profits. It’s time to put the proposed Bloodborne Pathogens standard on the calendar now!”
“At this point, we are a bit confused. The Cal/OSHA Standards Board is a board appointed by the governor, yet it doesn’t seem to have any real authority. We’ve dutifully gone every month to the meetings, and—despite the fact that OSHA officials say this needs to be done quickly—we are now five-and-a-half years into the process with nothing to show for it. This is not right,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Does the Standards Board really have no authority to require the Division to do anything? To Chairman Dave Thomas: How much longer and how many more injuries are needed to convince you to proceed? We want you to put this issue on the agenda before you adjourn this Thursday. If you really are concerned for these workers and mean what you say, you have the power to put it on the agenda now—No more excuses!’”
California Statewide Condoms in Porn ballot measure announced, November 2014
Separately, In November 2014, condom and adult film worker safety advocates also announced plans for a citizen-backed statewide ballot measure strengthening OSHA’s condom requirements for the adult film industry in November (link to full press announcement here). The advocates plant to have the measure qualified to appear on the November 2016 presidential election ballot.
“Polling for this statewide ballot measure shows that 71% of the people in the state agreed that adult film workers should be better protected by OSHA regulations. Why should lumbering, and/or secretive bureaucracies like OSHA and the Department of Industrial Relations be able to stop the will of the people?” added AHF’s Weinstein. “Meanwhile, given the years the Standards Board has refused or been unwilling or unable to act, thousands—not dozens—but thousands of people in the adult film industry have continued to come down with sexually transmitted infections, something that is still happening today.”
Catalysts for the California Statewide Law
Momentum for this statewide Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry voter ballot initiative came after California Assembly Bill 1576, (Isadore Hall, III, D-Los Angeles), a landmark bill that would have clarified and strengthened state worker safety laws requiring condoms in all adult films made statewide in California, failed to get out of the state Senate Appropriations Committee in August of last year, effectively killing the bill.
In addition, advocates grew frustrated at Cal/OSHA’s repeated bureaucratic delays and inaction over the past five years on its petition seeking to update the state’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standards. On December 17, 2009, a petition filed with Cal/OSHA to amend California Code of Regulations Title 8 § 5193 was accepted unanimously by the Standards Board. Since then, however, OSHA has delayed most hearings and/or any meaningful action on the petition—most recently, with a delay until March 2015—which was again delayed. Following are two letters:
- The original petition to OSHA dated December 17, 2009, which has NOT been acted on, and
- A letter from Nov. 3, 2014 to OSHA demanding accountability and action on the matter.
Lastly, advocates are also frustrated with the delayed implementation of Los Angeles County’s ‘Measure B’ (the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act), a similar local voter ballot measure requiring condom use in all adult films shot in Los Angeles County, which passed with overwhelming voter support—57% to 43%—in the November 2012 election in Los Angeles County (margin of victory: 1,617,866 votes in favor [56.94%] vs.1,222,681 votes against [43.04%]). However, more than two-years later, the County of Los Angeles has yet to fully implement Measure B, and a group of adult film producers has sued the County to stop implementation of the measure.