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Domestic Workers Finally Get Their Rights

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Image: James ParksCaregivers, nannies and housekeepers are celebrating across New York State today. Yesterday morning, New York Gov. David Paterson (D) signed into law the first-ever law in the nation that upholds domestic workers’ rights.  Domestic Workers United (DWU) estimates there are 200,000 domestic workers in New York City alone. Most are female immigrant workers.

The new law provides guaranteed sick days, overtime pay, a day of rest, protection from discrimination, and notice before termination. This groundbreaking victory is a result of a six-year campaign led by DWU and supported by a broad coalition of labor and community organizations, including Jobs with Justice.

“Today we correct an historic injustice by granting those who care for the elderly, raise our children and clean our homes the same essential rights to which all workers should be entitled,” Paterson said.

I am grateful to the sponsors for their extraordinary efforts to enact this landmark bill, and most of all to those domestic workers who dreamed, planned, organized and then fought for many years, until they were able to see an injustice undone.

Click here and here to read more about the domestic workers’ struggle for justice.

This article was originally posted on AFL-CIO NOW Blog.

About the Author: James Parks had his first encounter with unions at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He is a journalist by trade, and worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections. Author photo by Joe Kekeris


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