Domestic Workers Suffer Abuses Illegal in Most of Labor Force

First-Of-Its-Kind Survey Reveals Myriad Subpar Working Conditions, Provides Policy Recommendations for Reforming Care Sector

Home Economics offers a way out of this shameful situation, a clear course of action toward a society in which everyone’s work is respected and valued.”

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

Pop quiz: What do nannies, caregivers, and housecleaners have in common?
NDWA, DataCenter, and the University of Illinois release a new report on domestic work (PDF).

a. They are all considered domestic workers
b. They are excluded from coverage by labor laws
c. 23% of them are paid below minimum wage
d. All of the above

The answer to this question and many more can be found in the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) new, groundbreaking report:  Home Economics: The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Work (PDF). The report details the realities domestic workers face.

For the past two years, DataCenter has directly supported hundreds of domestic worker women to document their experiences. DataCenter helped ensure domestic workers were involved in every step of the research process. Domestic workers crafted and administered the survey, analyzed the results, and made recommendations based on their own experiences.

“DataCenter offered us expertise in research while respecting the leadership, vision and social justice values of our membership. Together we were able to produce research that surpassed our own expectations.”

Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

As director of the New York City based organization Domestic Workers United (DWU) in 2003, Ai-jen Poo approached DataCenter to help conduct a city-wide survey project. The survey played an indispensable role in DWU winning the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in New York City – the first of its kind in the country.

Ai-jen went on to become the director of the nation-wide alliance NDWA in hopes of replicating the success in New York City on the national level. After witnessing the rigor DataCenter brought to the DWU project, Ai-jen approached DataCenter again – but this time, she wanted help producing the first-ever national report on domestic work by domestic workers.

The report represents the voices of over 2,000 domestic workers from across the country. As a result of this project, domestic workers are now organized like never before and stand empowered behind this comprehensive report. Want to know how you can support domestic workers in their quest for nation-wide labor protections? Read the full report here!