Domestic Worker Justice
Domestic workers, the vast majority of whom are low income women of color and immigrant women, are employed in unregulated, unprotected workplaces that are often excluded from federal, state, and local labor protections. This means basic workplace protections such as minimum wage standards, overtime protections, and freedom from sexual harassment can sometimes exclude nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers working in private homes. These challenges are compounded by racism, gender discrimination, immigration status, language barriers, and poverty. As a result, NDWA-PA members report widespread wage theft, sexual harassment and assault, dangerous working conditions, lack of benefits such as health insurance, and other workplace abuses.
Across Pennsylvania, there are over 28,000 domestic workers, 91% of whom are women. In the Philadelphia area, there are over 16,000 domestic workers, 84% of whom are women with an annual salary of $10,100, according to a study conducted on PDWA's behalf by University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Pilar Gonalons-Pons.
Together, we are building a more just world – a world where domestic work, the work that makes all other work possible, will be fully valued and protected. Domestic workers care for those we love most – our children, our elders, our families. They care for our most personal, precious possessions – our homes. They are skilled and caring professionals, but for many years, they have labored in the shadows. The historical underpinnings of the domestic economy, rooted in gendered and racial divisions of labor, have long kept this work devalued and excluded from many of the basic protections guaranteed by local, state, and federal labor laws. These workers deserve respect, dignity and basic labor protections. Together, we can achieve the recognition, respect, and dignity that domestic workers deserve.
Domestic worker leaders at the National Domestic Workers Alliance 2018 National Convening.