You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials
Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Charlotte, NC (BlackPR.com)

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a business executive, was installed as the 2014-2018 International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA)

Read More...
Nielsen Expands Communications Leadership Team with Key Media Relations Hire

Nielsen Expands Communications Leadership Team with Key Media Relations Hire

New York (BlackPR.com)

New York (BlackPR.com) -- Nielsen today announced that Andrew McCaskill has joined Nielsen as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications. He will report to Chief Communications Officer Laura Nelson.

Read More...
Voter Suppression: It’s Mobilization Time

Voter Suppression: It’s Mobilization Time

Written by Peter Grear

With this article we will start detailing the ingredients of a revisable action plan that needs comments and revisions as we move toward the Tuesday, November 4, 2014 General Election.  

Read More...
Las Vegas Comedian James Bean's Candid Account Of His Struggle With Suicide

Las Vegas Comedian James Bean's Candid Account Of His Struggle With Suicide

WHEN THE HUMOR IS GONE

James Bean has shown insight and understanding of the darkest moments of many people’s lives as well as ideas on how one could begin to create a life worth living even out of the depths of despair.” -– Rhonda Duncombe, LMFT, LADC

Read More...
Voter Suppression: NC Black Republican Advisory Board

Voter Suppression: NC Black Republican Advisory Board

Written by Peter Grear

Educate, Organize and Mobilize: I confess that I’m amazed. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of North Carolina announced last week that they have launched theNorth Carolina Black Advisory Board (BRAB) 

Read More...
Tips for Managing Stress in Your Life

Tips for Managing Stress in Your Life

Written by State Point

Stress is not only unpleasant; it can be overwhelming, ultimately preventing you from solving the problems that caused the stress in the first place. But getting focused can help you feel happier and be more successful professionally, financially and in your relationships, say experts.

Read More...
Voter Suppression: Defeating it requires two massive efforts

Voter Suppression: Defeating it requires two massive efforts

Written by Peter Grear

For black voters, Benjamin Jealous expressed what I believe to be the critical message for black voters when he said that the best way to overcome massive voter suppression is through a massive wave of voter registration.  Thankfully, the NAACP is putting this theory into action through the Youth Organizing…

Read More...
Black Women are Taking Care of Business

Black Women are Taking Care of Business

Written by Freddie Allen

Instead of breaking the glass ceiling, Black women have increasingly started making their own. According to the Center for American Progress, an independent, nonpartisan progressive institute, Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the country.

Read More...
Voter Suppression: Is it partisan?

Voter Suppression: Is it partisan?

Written by Peter Grear

Educate, Organize and Mobilize: I’ve been doing commentaries on our Campaign to Defeat Voter Suppression since November, 2013.  Because the right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, I’ve tried to promote a non-partisan theory of voter enfranchisement. 

Read More...
Why vote? ALEC and the Doctrine of Exclusion

Why vote? ALEC and the Doctrine of Exclusion

By Peter Grear

Educate, Organize and Mobilize: Frequently, in going forward it is imperative to examine your history.  In 1638 the Maryland Colony issued a public edict encouraging the separation of the races that became the public policy of America. 

Read More...
Download Greater Diversity News Digital PDF Edition for FREE

Download Greater Diversity News Digital PDF Edition for FREE

FREE Full PDF Edition includes stories not featured on the website

The FREE Full PDF Edition includes stories not featured on the website. No paper, no hasel, read on your laptop or mobile devices. 

Read More...
Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2011 JoomlaWorks Ltd.

Home Page

Taking Care of Those Who Take Care of Us

Written by Julianne Malveaux on 02 July 2012.

Ai-Jen Poo, a powerful and passionate advocate for the rights of domestic workers, leads the National Domestic Workers Alliance.  Who are these folks?  They are the private household workers (maids) who propped up inept women in the movie, The Help. They are the home health aides who take care of our elders when they are ill or disabled, bringing them meals, bathing them, and accompanying them to medical appointments.  They are the nannies that care for children when parents are working.  In some ways, they are a backbone of our economy, and yet they often have neither voice nor money.

I was struck by the situation of domestic workers when I heard Ai-Jen at the National Council for Research on Women’s annual conference.  While some of us focus mostly on race, she is more likely to focus on class and the many ways that public policy is made from an extremely privileged perspective.  The women who stitch together a living by working two and three domestic jobs certainly don’t have the time to put their situation in context with public policy.  And those who make public policy have only limited exposure to those who have to live it.  Ai-Jen and the National Domestic Workers Alliance bridge that gap.

The organization started in 2007, and now has representation in more than 20 states.  In New York, NDWA was instrumental in the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that went into effect in November 2010.  It requires that people who work in other people’s homes for 40 hours a week or more (except for relatives and casual employees such as babysitters) must be paid the minimum wage, must receive overtime pay, vacation time, workers’ compensation and disability benefits.  One might assume that some of these benefits are already written into law, and in some ways they are.  But domestic workers are more likely to be treated as casual workers than as professionals, and if they are working full-time, they must be treated as professionals.

Listening to Ai-Jen Poo was like a blast from the past for me.  My early academic work focused on private household workers.  Although the Minimum Wage Act was passed during the Depression, private household workers and farm workers were excluded form the legislation until 1974.  Even then, the law had so many loopholes that few adhered to it.  At the same time, failure to abide by the law has tanked many a nominee for a federal appointment.  Judge Kimball Wood comes to mind as a capable jurist who was snagged by her failure to take Social Security taxes out of the wages of her full-time housekeeper.

Ai-Jen’s presentation reminded me how little has changed for private household workers.  There are employers who deduct from low wages if there is breakage in their homes.  There are others that may deduct for meals.  Without intervention, the majority of 2.5 million workers take care of our most precious assets, our children and our parents, without being paid fairly.  They cook our food, and who wants someone who feels that they are being paid unfairly to cook their food?  After all, even the private household workers in the pre-civil rights South weren’t always benign.

In California, a piece of legislation that is similar to the New York bill is being considered.  Indeed, Assembly Bill 889 passed the lower house of the California State legislature, but the California State Senate is dragging its heels.  Indeed, some have so distorted the bill that they describe it as “the babysitter law,” even though those who do not work full time are specifically excluded from the legislation.  Those who oppose the bill talk about their free market rights, but have blinders on when it comes to the rights of others.  Unfortunately, while women are the majority of private household workers, it is also women who are the majority of those who hire, and often exploit, them.

It is amazing how stuck the feminist movement has become around issues of women on the bottom.  Twenty years ago there were passionate debates about housework pass along and the many ways that the women’s movement could be mutually supportive along class lines.  Now, though a passionate woman is fighting for domestic workers, she is not often joined by those who have greater voice, more power, and the ability to make a difference.

While domestic workers today are less likely to be African American than Latino, we in the African American community need to remember that the workplace has long been oppressive to those at the bottom.  In speaking up for domestic workers, we speak up for our mothers and grandmothers, but also for ourselves, no matter what our economic status.

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer.  She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. •

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

 

GDN Link Exchange