Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rights for Domestic Workers in New York

El Diario today called on New York's legislature to give Governor David Paterson legislation to provide basic labor protections to the state's 200,000 domestic workers. See the editorial below.

Latino New York joins El Diario to finally move to protect some of society's most vulnerable and easily exploited workers. With the horror stories of greed run-a-muck on Wall Street, the harassment--and even murder--of immigrant workers, and the mistreatment of domestic workers (including enslavement), New York must quit stalling and move quickly to extend labor rights to all domestic workers. Doing so will send a loud message that New York will once again stand on the side of economic justice.

Rights for domestic workers
Derechos para trabajadoras dom├ęsticas

Today, on International Women's Day, we honor the long struggle and accomplishments towards equality and respect for women. Another milestone is within reach if New York state lawmakers push through a bill in the legislative pipeline.

For five years, domestic workers in New York have rallied for a bill of rights that would provide them with basic protections. These workers, estimated at 200,000 in New York State, are often exploited, even more so in this economic climate.

Thousands of families count on domestic workers to care for their children, elders and households. This allows professionals to perform jobs in sectors on which the city depends. Yet domestic workers are not guaranteed sick or vacation days or pay increases. They can be fired at will and without notice.

The vast majority of domestic workers are immigrant women, many from Latin America. Here, they find themselves isolated, underpaid and mistreated by employers taking advantage of the fact that their work is not protected under state and federal laws. It's abuse employers would not tolerate for themselves.

Tomorrow, the State Senate's labor committee is expected to vote on legislation that would address unfair working conditions for domestic workers. A bill long sponsored by Assemblyman Keith Wright is in the rules committee. The committees should approve these bills so they can be presented on the floor for passage.

This is the fifth year that domestic workers, represented by Domestic Workers United, have tried to get a bill approved. The legislature and Governor David Paterson should make sure this is the last year they have to advocate for overdue protections.
Related:
From Stand in Long Island Slavery Case, a Snapshot of a Hidden U.S. Problem
Albany drags feet on domestic worker bill
Domestic workers sue, organize for their rights: Long denied sick time, vacation and health care, group pressures politicians
Nanny abuse rally eyes domestic worker plight
Domestic Workers: Little Protection for the Underpaid
Break The Chain Campaign: Assisting the Enslaved in the Land of the Free
Maid to Order: Modern-day Slavery in the USA
Domestic Workers Unite