Support Labor Protections for Domestic Workers

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Target: U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis

Goal: Implement labor protections for domestic workers in America

Domestic workers in America are in a desperate situation. They earn very low wages and receive no retirement or health benefits because they are not entitled to basic labor protections. A recent report that surveyed 2,000 domestic workers in 14 American cities found that almost a quarter of domestic workers (this includes nannies, caregivers, and home health workers) make less than the minimum wage in the states they work. The same study also found that nearly half are paid less than the sufficient wages required to adequately support their families.

Most domestic workers are female and more than half are people of color. White workers get paid more ($2.13 higher, on average) than Latina, Black, and Asian workers. Regardless, wages are extremely low across the industry. Seventy percent of domestic workers are paid less than $13 an hour, and this situation is even worse for undocumented workers. The low wages of this work is compounded by the lack of benefits workers receive. Most domestic workers live without health insurance, few pay into Social Security, and a majority of workers work under verbal agreements that do not guarantee benefits or protections.

This miserable situation is such because domestic workers are excluded from standard labor protections. The National Labor Relations Act does not cover domestic work and as a result they are not ensured the right to organize, form unions, or otherwise bargain for better wages and benefits. This results in frequent wage theft and unpaid overtime work. Some states have attempted to expand rights for domestic workers but many have failed. For example, New York recently passed a law granting basic rights to domestic workers while California vetoed a potential Domestic Workers Bill of Rights on the grounds that it “went too far.”

Domestic workers should not have to face exploitation and unfair work conditions. They deserve labor protections and guaranteed contractual agreements. Tell the U.S. Labor Secretary to make domestic worker rights a national priority.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Hilda Solis,

Domestic workers in America are in trouble. They make extremely low wages and generally receive no benefits. Seventy percent of domestic workers in the U.S. are paid less than $13 an hour. Nearly half of the domestic workers surveyed for a recent report are unable to adequately support their families on the wages they earn. Most do not pay into Social Security, do not have health insurance, and work under verbal agreements that exclude the possibility of benefits.

The solution to this problem is labor protections for the nannies, caregivers, and home health workers of America. These domestic workers deserve legislation that would ensure them fair hours, equal pay, benefits, and a standard wage. As the Secretary of Labor, you have a responsibility to address this problem. Domestic workers should not have to endure wage theft, unpaid overtime, and other exploitative working conditions. Please use your power to support the implementation of labor protections for domestic workers in the U.S.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: indybay.org

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71 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
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