The New York Daily News had a great article recently about a pending Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and the effects economic crisis has on this mostly female, often immigrant group.
Domestic Workers Earned Rights by Albor Ruiz appeared in the Daily News this past Friday, 11/28/08.
From the article:
A few horror stories have made the news: Domestic workers – nannies, housekeepers, cooks – beaten or kept as virtual prisoners by their employers – diplomats, lawyers, business owners. Respectable people, mind you; people of means, of social standing.
“Because you work in a private house, almost anything goes,” said Marilyn Marshall of Brooklyn, a nanny from Trinidad with the air of a kindly grandmother. “They don’t think of what you do as real work or of you as a real worker.”
That is why it is so important that the long overdue Domestic Workers Bill of Rights 2009 is approved.
The financial crisis has hit domestic workers – always among the most exploited – particularly hard, which makes passage of the bill urgent.
“We hear a lot about Wall Street and Main Street,” [Ai-Jen] Poo [an organizer for Domestic Workers United] said. “But nothing about what happens to domestic workers behind closed doors. We don’t hear anything about the 25,000 jobs that have been lost.”
Worse, she added, is that these workers have little protection under state labor laws. For the 200,000 domestic workers in New York, most of them immigrant women losing their jobs – usually with no advance notice or severance pay – has been devastating.