- Founded in 2000, Domestic Workers United [DWU] is an organization of Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York, organizing for power, respect, fair labor standards and to help build a movement to end exploitation and oppression for all. DWU is a proud founding member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. DWU and its partners brought their power to bear in 2010 when the nation's first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was passed in New York.
June 9, 2009
DOMESTIC WORKERS Take Albany AGAIN!
It's 6am and the first members of Domestic Workers United are arriving at Union Square in front of Barnes and Nobles. By 6:30 a sizable crew has amassed, and our two huge buses are pulling up. Everyone is exhausted, this much is clear, but above all the group is energized, buzzing, excited and nervous about the weight the day carries.
Around the 15 or so domestic workers that have gathered from Domestic Workers United and Adhikar, there are also about 30 or so supporters from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Urban Justice Center, Picture the Homeless, CWA 1104, Make the Road New York, and Long Island Jobs with Justice. But the group just wasn't complete until the awesome ladies from Unity Housecleaners and a crew 11 strong from Hatian Women for Hatian Refugees finally arrived at the scene.
With our overall group about 60 strong, we flooded "the well" at the center of the New York State Legislative office, and for 5 hours we heard the moving testimony of domestic workers and their daughters, employers, and supporters. We were also honored to be joined by Senators Diane Savino and Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Keith Wright, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, and our lobbyist Richard Winsten, all of whom reconfirmed their firm support for the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights!
Throughout the day, 8 teams met with key Senators and Assemblymembers to secure new votes, and so far at least one Senator signed-on to the Bill on the spot!! During the day, a group of domestic workers from Hatian Women for Hatian Refugees delivered to Governor Patterson the banner that hundreds of people signed at the Harlem Community Dinner.
We ended the day with a powerful march around the square, and chanted in unison until the buses finally came by to pick us up and bring us home to New York.
Though the day was a success, on our way out of Albany we heard the startling news that Senators Monserrate and Espada, two democrats, had switched to the republican party, officially swinging the Senate to a republican majority. Because of this, there is a new Senate Majority Leader, Senator Dean Skelos. Although Monserrate and Espada both support the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, it is still unclear how the political shift in the Senate will impact our Bill. In addition, Speaker Silver is still waivering in his support for the Bill.
FOR THIS REASON, it is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL for us to KEEP GETTING LOUDER AND LOUDER!! At the end of this week, we will be having both a 24 hour vigil, and a Children's March that will end in Silver's district. WE MUST SHOW UP IN DROVES to convince Silver that WE NEED THIS BILL OF RIGHTS, not next year, not next week, not even tomorrow, but RIGHT NOW!
This is really it folks! So please, do whatever you can, whatever you have to do, to come out and support domestic workers win the rights they have long deserved. Check out the events at right, and let us know what you can commit to!
As always, with much love and respect from everyone at DWU!!