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Brazilian Worker Center

Fighting for Social and Economic Justice

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CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS DAY - JUNE 16th

CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS DAY - JUNE 16th
Taking a moment to honor those who give love and care for a living

Today is International Domestic Workers day, a day to honor those workers in the unique business of caring for our most prized possessions: our children, our elderly, and our homes. They were intentionally excluded from federal labor laws in the 1930s, such as the National Labor Relations Act, which gave labor unions more power to organize, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, which eliminated child labor, established a minimum wage, and necessitated overtime pay for time worked over a 40 hour/week maximum.  They are also physically isolated from each other by nature of their work, making it harder for them to organize.  

Today domestic workers all over the world, including the United States, are engaged in a fight to understand and claim their rights. Globally, in 2011 the International Labor Organization passed a new labor convention, Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers that has already been ratified by 14 nations.  In the United States, the movement for a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights has already been active in 18 states, and already passed it into law in three.  We are excited that Massachusetts is now poised to be the fourth state with its own Domestic Worker Bill of Right this summer.  Everywhere, these new protections ensure time off; meal and rest breaks; vacation and sick days; parental leave; and protection from legal infractions like discrimination, sexual harassment, wage theft, and eviction without notice for domestic workers.

According to Sylvia Faria, a domestic worker activist in Medford, the domestic workers movement is important because it lets workers know what they are due. "The lack of knowledge oppresses us," she says. "I'm not ashamed of my job, but I'm ashamed that I don't know my rights."

Take a moment today to appreciate someone you know doing this admirable work, and look for ways to get involved in the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign in your community.

updated: 3 years ago