The case for domestic workers rights

Domestic workers do the work that make all other work possible. They are the nannies that take care of children, and the house keepers that keep homes clean while their owners are working. They are often working for less than $13 and hour and without benefits like health insurance or social security payments. 95% of these workers are women according to the National Domestic Workers Alliance site.

Ai-jen Poo is trying to change that. She is the director for The National Domestic Workers Alliance, an organization that works for the respect, recognition and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers. “The future really needs the leadership of women…”, Poo says in the video explaining the organization and their work. “Domestic workers…[are] caring for our children, our aging loved ones, our homes…the most precious elements of our lives”.

The MacArthur Foundation agreed, and awarded Poo a Genius grant for her work with The National Domestic Workers Alliance in 2014. The grant will allow for the Alliance to continue to shed light on the plight of domestic workers, whose work is often hidden from public view. Much of this kind of work was done by family members in the past, and never afforded the protections of labor laws. That means that domestic workers are not only working for little pay, but with no sick time or vacation. No protection against discrimination or harassment. No retirement plan or health insurance plan.

Poo has stated that the biggest change that she is hoping to make is respect and recognition for the value of this work. “We as a country need more care than we ever have before”, says Poo. “Yet, this work is so undervalued in society. It is almost taken for granted or invisible”.


Video via Mashable, 18 September 2015

Photo: Filipino Domestic Worker via ILO in Asia and the Pacific[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]