02 June 2010

Victory for Domestic Workers!

Yesterday, at long last, New York took a giant step toward becoming the first state in the nation to pass a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights!

The bill, which would guarantee domestic workers basic workplace rights like paid vacation and sick days, overtime pay, and at least one day off per week, was passed by the New York State Senate by a vote of 33-28. Though the legislation still has to be reconciled with an earlier version that was passed by the Assembly last year, and then signed into law by Governor Paterson, yesterday's vote in the bill's favor was a historic achievement, setting the stage for the passage of similar bills in states like California and Colorado.

Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), described yesterday's debate at the statehouse in these terms:
On the floor, the debate was a moral one --  will we as a state take measures to end the exclusions that we know are wrong, or will we make excuses for the status quo that leaves out 200,000 working women of color? After 6 years of organizing by domestic workers together with unions, employers, clergy and community organizations, the New York State Senate stood on the right side of history.
It's an amazing achievement for Ms. Foundation grantees NDWA and Domestic Workers United, and the thousands of domestic workers they represent in New York -- and nationwide. The work's not yet over -- in the next month there will will be much to do to ensure that the bills are indeed reconciled and then set on Governor Paterson's desk -- but this is a victory worth cheering about.

As Ai-jen Poo put it: "Here's to the leadership of domestic workers and the undeniable power of organizing!" We couldn't say it any better.

Photo: by Elizabeth Rappaport. (detail) Domestic Workers United March, New York City, October 2008.

1 comment:

  1. Great Achievement and Congratulations to all Domestic Workers from the Domestic Workers' rights campaigner in Nepal.

    This is a step towards the dream to come real that one day all works will be equally valued and we, the domestic workers and our work, is valued now.

    We hope the vibes of this achievement would influence the International Labor Conference in Geneva for the decision to come up with ILO convention on Domestic Work.

    In Solidarity

    Milan Dharel
    Executive Director
    CWISH, Nepal