Saturday, November 14, 2009

Domestic workers march in the Mission

Hundreds of women in town for the National Domestic Workers Alliance regional conference took to the streets in the Mission district on Friday. The NDWA has come a ways since its launch.

Today's effort even had an attractive printed poster.

And considerable diversity among participating organizations.

The chanting was spirited.

Got to start your protesters while they are young

But the purpose was serious, despite the good humor. Immigrant women who work in other people's homes are subject to many forms of exploitation and abuse. Some employers refuse to allow sick days or pay for overtime; often wages are less than the minimum wage. For practical purposes these women have few enforceable legal protections. So some are getting together to support and protect each other. A speaker from the AFL-CIO offered verbal support, but these workers are outside the reach of the labor movement -- they are banding together to learn to demand their rights and negotiate for themselves. More power to them!


Tina said...

thank you so much for the information. are they still forbidden to unionize? are they still fighting for a"Domestic Worker Bill of Rights?"

janinsanfran said...

In answer to Tina's question: workers in the US acquired the "right to organize" through the National Labor Relations Act in the 1930s. One of the compromises embodied in that law -- in order to overcome right wing and Southern objections -- was that it didn't cover farm workers and domestic workers. That is, it didn't cover people who in those days were mostly Black or Mexican immigrants.

Sounds like the current health care reform fight (in the sense of just passing something and hoping to extend it to everyone later -- oops) doesn't it?

Anyway the fight for a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights is now a state by state thing. I think New York has something like this. One was passed in CA, but Gov. Arnold vetoed it. The fight goes on ...

libhom said...

Does this mean that unions are legally forbidden to organize domestic workers or that they don't have any mechanism for government recognition of these unions?

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