National Domestic Workers Alliance Leads the Voice for America’s 2.5 Million Domestic Workers
Domestic workers care for what we love and value most: our children, loved ones, and homes. For over a century, this growing workforce of mostly immigrant women/women of color has been excluded from the labor standards that protect most workers and is vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
In 1935 when the National Labor Relations Act was passed to give American workers the right to earn minimum wage, overtime pay and time off, Jim Crow politics excluded domestic workers and farmworkers from its protections. Today, nearly a century later, domestic work is still excluded from most basic labor protections.
The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) gives domestic workers the opportunity to come together to win dignity and respect at work. Pat, a domestic worker in New York, suffered physical abuse and was forced to work long hours with no overtime pay for more than 6 years. Maria, a domestic worker in San Francisco, who cared for an elderly woman was not allowed to leave the employers’ apartment alone for an entire year, had no days off, and was paid only $350/month. Labor law offered little protection to Pat and Maria, and alone they were powerless to challenge their abusive employers. Now both Pat and Maria have joined the NDWA and are leading the fight to win basic protections for domestic workers. Recently a New York court awarded Pat a settlement for the assaults and back wages.
“When we are willing to stick together and stand up for one another, these abuses won’t happen anymore,” explained Pat. “My victory is a huge victory for the movement.”
Not every worker’s story is like Maria’s or Pat’s, but every domestic worker is as vulnerable because domestic work is not protected under labor laws. In 2010, NDWA made history by securing the passage of the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in New York. It guarantees basic protections like overtime pay, a day off every week, and clear tracking of work hours for domestic workers across the state. The bill has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable domestic workers. Today, NDWA is organizing to pass similar legislation in California and will introduce Domestic Workers Rights Bills in 5 new states in 2013.
“For the first time our stories are being told and heard,” said Maria. “Together we are making history. We know our rights and are helping others to stand up for theirs too.”
Domestic workers rights are a global issue. NDWA works with partners across the globe to win respect for domestic workers worldwide. In 2011, we joined over 150 countries in approving the first-ever international Convention for Domestic Workers at the International Labor Organization. The treaty abolishes child labor, forced labor and discrimination, and protect domestic workers’ right to organize. Since NDWA’s founding by a handful of domestic worker organizations in 2007, our alliance has become one of the most diverse and vibrant movements in the U.S. We are over 10,000 domestic workers from 35 organizations in 12 states. Our members are every day heroines: brave women like Pat and Maria.
There is much still to be done. Too many domestic workers continue to face abuses at work. We have a long way to go, but NDWA Director, Ai-jen Poo says, “There is no stopping us. We are organizing at the speed of love!”
More About This Charity
National Domestic Workers Alliance
The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) organizes domestic workers in the United States for respect, recognition and labor standards. Through leadership development, strategic campaigns and alliance building we seek to help build a powerful movement for social and global justice.
- This Achievement raised $3,000,000.
- This Charity has helped 415,000 people throughout the past year.
- Over 200,000 domestic workers won respect, dignity and labor protections to improve conditions in their work and lives.