As a movement-building organization, DWU always seeks opportunities to build alliances and strategic partnerships, because we believe that by connecting our struggles to those of others, we are building a stronger movement to end oppression and exploitation for all.
Caring Across Generations
Led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Jobs with Justice and many other partners, the Caring Across Generations campaign 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 change the way we care across the nation. 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 Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. Read more about the Caring Across Generations campaign at http://www.caringacrossgenerations.org and sign up for action alerts.
If you are in the New York area, attend the NY Care Congress on June 3rd. For information, click here.
United Workers Congress
The members of the United Workers Congress are national networks of organizations that represent a base of workers that are either by law or by practice excluded from the right to organize in the United States. Together we are working with unions to strengthen the labor movement and the right to organize for all workers. The UWC is positioned to help the broader workers movement pivot from defense to offense—revitalizing a passion for the workers' right to organize and building a movement for rights at work to combat the republican "right-to-work" attack on worker organizing. We commit to think bigger and bolder about organizing workers in this country and around the world. Click here to learn more about the United Workers Congress.
In 2010, New York domestic workers won a historic victory with the passage of the nation’s first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, setting minimum standards in the domestic work industry. The law guarantees privately employed nannies, housekeepers, and elder caregivers with at least a day of rest per week, at least three days of rest per year after the first year of employment, overtime at the regular rate of pay for live-in workers, sets a day’s work at 8 hours, minimum wage coverage for companions of the sick and elderly, and protection from discrimination and harassment. With the Bill of Rights in force, DWU’s work has turned to outreach, education and enforcement around these basic rights and protections. DWU is also building power to raise industry standards so that workers can enjoy fair wages, benefits, and job security. Below are a list of our current campaigns:
New Day, New Standard: Know Your Rights
We launched a mass, multi-media Know Your Rights campaign to educate domestic workers about their rights under the newly passed Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In addition to distribution of printed materials, DWU set up an extensive Know Your Rights website for workers, employers, and advocates. There are also pre-recorded audio clips – accessible via the web site and a telephone hotline – designed to sound like a call-in talk show to provide a fun and engaging way of disseminating information about domestic worker rights. In our effort to educate the broader public, large-scale banners depicting positive images of domestic workers and the value of care work will debut in the Spring and travel throughout key neighborhoods in NY. DWU thanks its partners: Urban Justice Center, National Employment Law Project, People’s Production House, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Groundswell Mural Project.
Department of Labor
DWU is working closely with the New York State Department of Labor (DoL) to enforce the newly enacted Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Through coordinated outreach and education, we are ensuring that information is widely accessible to workers and employers. With support from the Urban Justice Center, we are also supporting workers to take their claims to the DoL when their rights have been violated. We are further pushing for vigilant enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions and increased focus on collections once an order to comply has been issued. Thanks to our monitoring of the new law’s implementation, the DoL is prioritizing domestic worker cases in an effort to strengthen its application.
The Road to Collective Bargaining
Having established minimum standards, we are now poised to build upon the victory by adapting a non-traditional collective bargaining structure for the domestic work industry. DWU is facilitating neighborhood-based dialogues between workers and employers to identify shared interests, build common understanding and mutual respect. We are organizing to set up Domestic Work Justice Zones and negotiate area-specific agreements on wages, benefits and terms of employment. In partnership with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association, Park Slope Parents Association, and various congregations and community partners, we are transforming the domestic work industry around a vision that uplifts families and caregivers alike and simultaneously paving the way for a new labor movement.
Justice for Exploited Workers
We organize locally to win justice for individual workers who have survived wage theft and other forms of abuse at the workplace. Their cases raise awareness and maintain momentum around our issues in the broader public and media.
Join us in seeking justice for DWU member Pat Francois who was physically assaulted by her employer, Matthew Mazer in 2008. Sign the petition today!
Paid Sick Days
DWU is a proud member of the New York State Paid Family Leave Coalition. Together, we are working to pass paid sick days legislation in New York City. Working families, of which domestic workers are a part, cannot afford to lose a day’s pay or risk loss of their job to care for themselves and their families. It is important to adapt family-responsive policies like Paid Sick Days before the work-family conflicts experienced by an escalating number of Americans reach crisis level. New York City can and should pass a law requiring employers to provide paid sick time for their employees.
Domestic Workers United organizes nannies, housekeepers, and elder care providers to bring dignity and respect to the work that makes all other work possible. We passed the nation's first Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in 2010, reversing centuries of labor law exclusion. And, we're just getting started!
Timeline of DWU's Historic Achievements:
DWU offers job skills training courses to equip domestic workers with the skills they need to navigate a competitive and precarious job market.
- Nanny Training Program: This four week intensive program covers basic nanny skills such as CPR and first aid, discipline, child psychology, pediatrics, and workplace injury prevention. The course provides important skills to build your confidence on the job. All sessions are mandatory, and pre-registration is necessary. The course runs annually. There is a fee for the course, and members receive discounted rates.
Next Nanny Training Program -- 2014 Schedule TBA
- Household Management Course: This weekend-long intensive course teaches practical skills needed to find and retain viable employment and increase workers’ ability to earn higher wages. The course covers important topics such as successful negotiation, effective interviewing techniques, and how to increase your household work skills and secure a great job!
Next Household Management Course -- 2014 Schedule TBA
Case Advocacy & Legal Clinic
DWU members can receive free legal assistance and referrals through our Domestic Workers Legal Clinic, in partnership with the Urban Justice Center. Members receive immigration advice and organizational support. Domestic workers who join DWU as members and who have been unjustly treated, exploited, abused, injured, or taken advantage of in the workplace, can sign up at the office or at a general meeting to meet with a peer in-take specialist.
Leadership Training Program
DWU offers skills building trainings and political education classes for members to learn more about the causes of domestic work exploitation, the history of domestic workers in the United States, and possibilities for changing our futures through organizing and movement-building. We offer a four-week intensive Introductory and Advanced Level Leadership Training Program that cover topics such as basic political economy and globalization and trainings such as meeting facilitation, public speaking and campaign development.
Unemployed Workers Support
Members who are unemployed can sign up to receive support during these difficult times, including creating and updating resumes, searching and posting job announcements on the Internet, and receiving referrals to social services. Members who actively participate in the organization and are signed up on the Unemployed Workers List may also get referred for domestic work employment opportunities that DWU receives on occasion.