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.

November 29, 2011

Domestic Workers and the Occupy Movement

Domestic workers are part of the 99%. We know all too well the disparities and economic injustices caused by Wall Street’s greed and exploitation. We work in the homes of Wall Street bankers and America’s 1%, taking care of their families and most prized possessions. As our communities are rising up through the Occupy/De-Colonize movement demanding justice and direct democracy, we are standing hand-in-hand with everyone across the country and around the world during this important time of resistance. We have an opportunity to build a new economy, one that values people over profit and functions on the principle that our well-being is interconnected. Dignity and respect for all. CLICK HERE to check out the statement by local NY affiliates of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

November 28, 2011

DWU Expands Partnerships and Builds on Bill of Rights Victory with Caring Across Generations National Campaign Launch

As we neared the finish line of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign in NY, we knew as a national movement that our journey was just beginning. The struggle would need to continue to truly transform the industry in which over 2.5 million domestic workers labor everyday across the country. A bold vision would be needed to lift up the value of care in our society: a vision that would engage greater numbers of people, rooted in an understanding that we all have a stake. We are all facing similar changes, as more and more families struggle with providing long-term quality care for loved ones, and as more and more workers are pulled in to provide that vital care.

On July 12, 2012, a delegation of 20 DWU members traveled to the nation’s capital for the historic launch of the Caring Across Generations campaign, led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Jobs with Justice and many other partners. CAG offers a comprehensive solution for jobs creation, training, pathway to citizenship, fair labor standards, support for individual families to afford quality care, and an opportunity to build a movement that can uplift the soul of this nation. DWU leader Marlene Champion shared her powerful story at the first Care Congress, about her experience working as an elder caregiver and how important she knows her job to be. While in DC, DWU members also rallied beside hundreds of senior groups, disability rights groups, and various community organizations before the Senate to protect Medicaid and to demand a principled approach to the national deficit. DWU is playing an important role in the local organizing in NY to bring home this national campaign through the launch of a Care Council in partnership with ALIGN and Jewish Funds for Justice & Progressive Jewish Alliance. Read more about the Caring Across Generations campaign and Marlene’s story at http://www.caringacrossgenerations.org.

DWU Organizes NY Domestic Worker Convention: One Year after the Bill of Rights

On December 3rd, DWU is hosting the 2nd NYC Domestic Workers Convention. The convention will gather hundreds of domestic workers one year after the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to set next steps in our struggle for respect and recognition. Domestic workers will come together to network, discuss the impact of the Bill of Rights and current political and economic climate, share stories and testimony about the current work conditions on the ground, and join forces to build innovative strategies for expanding the rights and protections granted to domestic workers. The convention will also provide Know Your Rights education, training on negotiating with employers, and access to free legal support and consultation from our various partners. Former NY Governor David Paterson who signed the Bill of Rights into law in 2010 will deliver the keynote speech, pledging his ongoing support for organizing among domestic workers.

DWU Launches Domestic Worker Legal Clinic with the Urban Justice Center

In partnership with the Urban Justice Center, DWU launched a legal clinic to expand our capacity to win justice for domestic workers whose rights, including those enshrined in provisions of the newly-enacted Bill of Rights, have been violated. To date, we have supported over 60 workers to either file claims with the NY Department of Labor or negotiate directly with employers to recuperate back-wages. The legal clinic has allowed us greater capacity to support more workers to bring forward claims that help us ensure that the DoL can effectively enforce the law. Finally, the legal clinic is serving as a way for us to continue to document the ongoing vulnerabilities workers face.

DWU & JFREJ Launch the Domestic Justice Dialogue Project

Our partnership with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) has been one of the most hopeful and transformative strategies in our work for domestic worker justice. Currently, we are embarking on a new joint venture called the Domestic Justice Dialogue Project. The project brings together employers and domestic workers to dialogue about their respective experiences in the industry, build relationships and trust across differences, and work together to strengthen the movement for respect, dignity, and fair labor standards. The project has already launched conversations in at least two congregations in Brooklyn, and begun work on a community banner project with Groundswell Community Mural Project that will display information about the NY Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and lift up the value of care work in and around Park Slope, Brooklyn.

DWU Implements a Multi-Media Know Your Rights Campaign

In January, we launched a Know Your Rights campaign to educate domestic workers about their rights under the newly passed Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In addition to doing Know Your Rights outreach and education in the parks and on the streets of NYC, DWU has launched a new multi-media Know Your Rights website. The website features extensive resources for domestic workers as well as employers, with thanks to the National Employment Law Project and the Urban Justice Center. DWU also partnered with People’s Production House to develop an interactive Frequently Asked Questions component to the website. Through audio clips and comic book style illustrations, the program outlines answers to some of domestic workers’ most common concerns. The audio clips were recorded by DWU members in English and in Spanish and are also accessible through a telephone hotline. The recordings are designed to sound like a call-in talk show to provide a fun and engaging way of disseminating information that will be invaluable toward standard setting in the domestic work industry. You can check out the new Domestic Workers Bill of Rights website at http://www.knowyourrightsny.org.

DWU Launches Mass Organizing Campaign with Innovative Ambassador Program

Since the passage of the NY State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, DWU has been hard at work to expand our capacity to organize more workers and build greater power. This spring, we launched our Ambassadors Program – an innovative strategy to organize workers on their “shop floor”, in the neighborhoods where they live and work. The Ambassadors serve as the primary contacts for domestic workers in their respective neighborhoods, and are equipped to provide them with information, report abuses, and lay the groundwork for collective standard setting with area employers. During the pilot period, DWU successfully trained over 20 DWU member leaders as Ambassadors who have since been based in four key areas of NYC: Tribeca, Upper West Side, and the Upper East Side in Manhattan as well as Park Slope, Brooklyn. Ambassadors are actively organizing domestic workers in these neighborhoods by providing a consistent presence and conducting frequent Know Your Rights outreach. To date, our membership increased by 1,500, bringing us to 6,500 strong. We will be expanding the program over the next year to provide for domestic workers what shop stewards have historically done for trade union members. For more information about DWU’s Ambassador program. CLICK HERE to watch a short video made for the International Labor Organization's proceedings in June 2011 before adopting the first-ever Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, setting global standards for the domestic work industry around the world.

November 15, 2011

We need Interpreters & Equipment for Domestic Workers NY Convention

Seeking Experienced Volunteer Interpreters
We are checking in with you if you know folks who have experience doing simultaneous interpreting e.g. familiarity with equipment and have an understanding of supporting multilingual space. We are seeking 25 onsite volunteer interpreters and mostly Spanish and English for the weekend of December 2-December 5th, 2011 for Domestic Workers United. We plan to bring together approximately 300 domestic workers to the following 2 events: “A New Day, A New Standard/ New York Domestic Workers Convention” and "Domestic Workers United General Membership Assembly”. For more information about these events and our organization please visit our website, http://domesticworkersunited.org/shownews/98.

We are requesting that all volunteer interpreters attend an orientation on Tuesday November 29th from 6:30pm-8:30pm.

To volunteer please contact Sam Schoer at sam@domesticworkersunited.org or at 212-481-5747
Borrowing Equipment
We are looking to borrow interpreting equipment from ally organization. We need a total of 300 sets so please let me know if we can borrow all or a portion of your equipment for the weekend of December 2-December 5th, 2011 for Domestic Workers United. We plan to bring together approximately 300 domestic workers to the following 2 events: “A New Day, A New Standard/ New York Domestic Workers Convention” and "Domestic Workers United General Membership Assembly”. For more information about these events and our organization please visit our website, http://domesticworkersunited.org/shownews/98.

We will pick up and drop off equipment in a timely manner. If your equipment is not available and you know of other groups who have equipment please send me their information or forward our request. Please contact me if you have any questions at tplservices@yahoo.com or at 917-325-4696.

A New Day, A New Standard

Open to ALL domestic workers

Join hundreds of nannies, housekeepers & elderly caregivers to build our power for greater rights & respect!

December 3, 2011


New York Academy of Medicine - 2nd Floor Hall

Corner of 103rd Street and 5th Avenue (Manhattan)

Convention Highlights:

Free legal consultations (on employment, immigration, taxes)

Workers' Rights Workshops

Negotiation Tools & Techniques

Guest Speakers

Door Prizes

Then, on Sunday


December 4, 2011


DWU members gather to celebrate our 2011 achievements and decide on important organizational matters for 2012 beyond.