On March 28, 2011, Allison Julien, a nanny who has been an active member of Domestic Workers United for nine years, spoke on a panel at the White House celebrating Women's History Month and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. During the discussion, facilitated by Secretary of Labor, HIlda Solis, and Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett, Allison was one of four women who shared their stories of organizing labor in their workplaces. She spoke about the role of women in labor organization, the monumental passing of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, and the future of collective bargaining for new labor laws in the United States.
Speaking on behalf of the 2.5 million domestic workers in this country, Allison said, "We're not trying to get rich doing this job. All we're asking for is basic labor protections. We're human beings and we want to be treated like human beings. We want to be recognized like real workers. we want to be protected like real workers. The work we do matters. . . . We're opening the doors, pulling back the shutters and showing you the faces behind the work. We're showing you that we're the ones who make all other work possible."
During her participation in the panel, Allison Julien addressed the American public with a message of hope and a call to action. She acknowledged that domestic work has a history of secrecy and undervaluation, noting, "We work in the shadows of slavery. If we do not tell our stories, nobody will tell our stories." And, listing the triumphs of Domestic Workers United as well as the parallel efforts to win rights for domestic workers that are currently taking place across the country, Allison left her audience with the empowering and uniting message: "We've got a whole lot of states in this country that we've got to conquer, and we've got labor laws to change!"
- 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.