History & Mission

We have a dream, that one day, all work will be valued equally...

HISTORY & MISSION

Domestic Workers United [DWU] is an organization of Caribbean, Latina and African nannies, housekeepers, and elderly caregivers in New York, organizing for power, respect, fair labor standards and to help build a movement to end exploitation and oppression for all.

Domestic Workers United was founded in 2000 by members of Women Workers Project of CAAAV, a Filipina domestic workers organization, in collaboration with Andolan Organizing South Asian Workers, a South Asian domestic workers group. Staff and members of CAAAV's Women Workers Project began outreach to domestic workers from the Caribbean and Latin America in 1999, after having done two years of advocacy for individual domestic workers who were underpaid or abused by their employers. Members felt the need to build power as an entire workforce, particularly for those who were not being organized, and establish fair labor standards for the industry. Through a series of monthly meetings organized by CAAAV and Andolan in Brooklyn, hundreds of domestic workers, predominately from the Caribbean, organized to form DWU.   Since its founding in 2000, DWU has been organizing workers from the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America. DWU collaborates with other domestic worker organizations in New York, across the US and internationally to build the power of the domestic workforce as a whole. At the first US Social Forum in 2007, DWU became a founding member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). In 2010, DWU represented NDWA as a founding member of the International Domestic Workers Network.  

In 2003, DWU and the NY Domestic Workers Justice Coalition launched the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign. After six and a half years of organizing, building a base of over 4000 workers and a broad coalition including employers, unions, clergy and various community organizations, we brought our power to bear with the passage of the nation’s first comprehensive legislation extending basic rights and protections to domestic workers. The New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was signed into law on August 31, 2010. DWU is now leading the implementation of the historic law through outreach, education, and enforcement and also helping to support similar Bill of Rights campaigns across the country.

As a membership-based organization, DWU is open to any domestic worker who is committed to our mission and goals to organize for power, respect, fair labor standards, and to build a movement for social change.

 

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