Loopholes in labor law allow agriculture to be the only industry where children can legally work virtually unlimited hours beginning at age 12. As a child farm worker herself, activist Norma Flores López is fighting for labor protections in agriculture—especially for children and women.
Domestic workers, organizers and activists have been working with members of Congress to mend the precarity of domestic work. On July 29, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) reintroduced the historic Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, first introduced by Jayapal and then-Senator Kamala Harris in 2019.
Feminists are calling President Biden’s proposed $400 billion investment in caregiving “a great deposit” but “not nearly enough.” Programs Biden’s plan is proposing to invest in—such as community-based care—have been underfunded for decades
During the pandemic, lockdown policies in Lebanon have made migrant workers even more vulnerable to exploitation.
The system protects abusive employers who may choose to not pay wages and offer vacations, and above all, to refuse paying for COVID-19 treatment.
If we do not build out our care infrastructure and open up physical infrastructure jobs to women, we will exclude half of our work force from the opportunities that will shape our economic future, potentially exacerbating and permanently extending the “she-cession” of 2020.
The American Jobs Plan devotes billions of dollars towards transportation, clean energy and innovation. But—as is too often the case—the “controversial” funding is the provision that will help women recover from the disproportionate harm they faced during the pandemic.
“This past year has been devastating for domestic workers across the country,” writes Lily Tomlin, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian. “This month, domestic workers are demanding an end to the exclusion from health and safety laws through the Health and Safety for All Workers Act, introduced by California state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo. The governor vetoed the bill last year, but this year, he has an opportunity to do right by our most essential workers.”
Domestic workers often endure horrific abuses that go unchecked. Many are brought to the U.S. by employers promising a better life, only to find themselves subjected to forced labor, denied wages, and threatened with deportation.
“All I want as a domestic worker is recognition. Domestic work is seen as a lowly job but it’s a decent job and it’s vital to society. We should not be ignored. We are important.”
Dismissed as “women’s work”—that is, not “really” work—taking care of children, attending to housework, and/or caring for the sick and elderly is both socially and economically invisible labor. It carries little prestige and, for those who do it for a living, very little pay. Yet, as pandemic life and the shrinking economy remind us, it is crucial, demanding labor. Without it, our economy does not function at the household nor at the national level.
A recent survey of more than 20,000 Spanish-speaking domestic workers conducted by the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) has revealed a rapid and sustained loss of jobs and income that’s resulted in widespread housing and food insecurity.
“These jobs will be a large share of the jobs for future but the lowest paid with little to no access to a safety net,” said Ai-Jen Poo, president of the NDWA. “We need to raise wages and offer benefits to this workforce.”