In The News

Labor Movement Changing the Way it Works By: Chris Moore Posted on November 2nd, 2012 With the slow decline of traditional national unions that have been leaders in the labor movement for decades, a new breed of organization has taken up the vanguard. A group called Domestic Workers United (DWU), originally formed in Brooklyn in 2000, is organizing workers typically disenfranchised from unions like the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Rather than shrinking, they are growing at a noteworthy rate. Helen Panagiotopoulos started working with DWU in 2010. She has almost 20 years of experience as…
By JULIE WATSON and MICHAEL VIRTANEN Associated Press ALBANY, N.Y. September 28, 2012 (AP) Allison Julien worked for more than two decades as a nanny in New York, toiling 50 to 60 hours a week without overtime pay until the state enacted the nation's first bill of rights for domestic workers two years ago.Since then, the Barbados immigrant says her job has changed dramatically. She still dedicates long hours to caring for children in Brooklyn's upscale Park Slope neighborhood but she now has a written contract with the parents who hired her, guaranteeing overtime. She is also assured one day…
By SUMATHI REDDY The messages on the Bococa parent listserv come fast and furious, hundreds everyweek. Tips are traded, items offered up. Plushy skunk costume yours for $10Can I use uppababy g-luxe as my only stroller? FS: Elec breast pump (Great condition)And it's not just information and items for the kids. The list, which serves parents in the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill and environs, is a sort of ask-it-all for thousands of members.Need a dishwasher repair person? You've come to the right place. Wood floors need refinishing? Fire away. Looking for a Mac "Genius" who…
By Sarah Bufkin At 1 a.m., Patricia Aceberos drags herself out of bed to give a round of medication to her patient. Four hours later, the Fremont, Calif., caregiver is back up for the next dose, hoping that she can squeeze in just 50 more minutes of sleep before beginning a full day of cleaning, cooking and taking care of the elderly woman whom she considers "like a second mom."Aceberos works six days a week around the clock caring for a woman who suffers from dementia and a failed hip-replacement surgery that has left her unable to walk.Yet Aceberos doesn't…
By Sharon Lerner In her 22 years of working as a nanny, Jennifer Bernard has seen her share of humiliations – 60-plus-hour weeks, low pay with no overtime, last-minute schedule changes. "Sometimes they'd call at the end of the day and say 'We have to have a late dinner,'" she says. Even when Bernard had her own young son at home, she felt like she couldn't say no.But that sense of powerlessness has all but vanished since the New York Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights went into effect in 2010. When Bernard was looking for a new job six months ago,…
By ALISON BOWENThe city's nannies now have a new way to learn whether they're getting paid fairly.Domestic Workers United, a caregivers rights group, announced a hotline today with information on overtime for both nannies and employers.A 2010 state law requires parents to pay nannies overtime after 40 hours.But a study by Park Slope Parents, an online forum, found that 44 percent of Brooklyn parents do not pay time-and-a-half to their nannies after 40 hours, like the law requires. Just 16 percent reported that they pay more."The average worker's workweek is about 50 to 60 hours, and they're not getting overtime,"…
By Lore Croghan AND Tracy Connor / NEW YORK DAILY NEWSThey're wealthy, socially conscious and obsessed with their kids — but many Park Slopers aren't following the law when it comes to their nannies.So says a worker's rights group, which is singling out the Brooklyn neighborhood for a re-education campaign on the domestic workers bill of rights.The state law, which says sitters are entitled to overtime and paid days off like most other full-time employees, took effect in 2010.But Domestic Workers United points out that a survey by Park Slope Parents shows 44% of families don't pay time and a…
Richard Winsten and Deanne Braverman outline the case for the United States adopting the International Labor Organization Convention on Domestic Workers, ensuring that all domestic workers in the country would receive basic protections.
"Cari Poppins: Why So Many Brooklyn Nannies Come from the Caribbean" By Tamara Mose Brown It’s a Brooklyn cliché as persistent as cupcake shops and stroller wars — parks full of children, many white, being cared for by nannies, many not. So how did so many women from the Caribbean — particularly Grenada, Trinidad, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Guyana — end up nurturing the children of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens? Caribbean migration to New York began in the late 19th century, when as many as 30,000 found their way to New York in search of opportunity and established a…
By Ivy Suriyopas The 250-year legacy of slavery continues to permeate throughout contemporary United States. However, these days, the images we see are likely to be those of immigrants from the global South. Instead of state-sanctioned ownership and exploitation of workers inside the home or out in the fields, today’s federal government and most state regimes have largely failed to prevent the abuses and mistreatment of household employees and agricultural laborers. Often described as “modern-day slavery,” human trafficking and exploitation are pervasive in domestic worker and farm worker industries. Trafficking in these industries is highly documented. According to a survey…
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