DWU September General Meeting
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Caribbean Gallery @ Brooklyn Public Library, Flatbush Branch
22 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11226
1:30 pm to 4 pm
We have a dream that one day that all work will be valued equally.
September 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th
Once again DWU has collaborated with Public Works to perform the Musical adaptation of The Odyssey, which will be held at The Declorate Theatre in Central Park on Septemeber 4th through September 7th 2015! Theatre is for everyone! Come see DWU and other great community organizations live performance. Get your free tickets by visiting: www.publictheatre.org/theodyssey
On June 15th 2015, DWU welcomed the opportuntiy to be part of the Incubator Project as part of the Brooklyn Accelerator; Brooklyn Community Foundation's hub. Through this Incubator Project, we recieved a co-office space free of charge for one year and a stipend of $5000. This we will use towards marketing, communications, web development, fundraising as well as food and transportation costs for organizing meetings and rallies.
We are now located at1000 Dean street, suite 307Brooklyn, NY 11238
As we look onwards towards the future of our oragization; as workers lead, we continue to strive to change policies that will impact change not only for today but for future generations! We are so greatful for this opportuntiy and we thank Brooklyn Community Foundation for supporting our work.
Everyone knows that domestic work is not easy! And as the sun sets earlier and the winter rolls in, it is important to stay emotionally and physically healthy. So we say to domestic workers who spend all day taking care of other people:
Don't forget to take care of yourself too!
Here are a few tips from DWU, one easy ways to stay healthy and relaxed this winter.
- Get up during TV commercials and move around. Stretch, walk around the house, or lift dumbbells. If you don't have dumbbells, use soup cans!
- Take a rigorous walk at an indoor location like the mall or grocery store.
- Take the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator where you live or work.
- Buy some workout videos and use them.
Dealing with Stress
- Wind down at the end of a long day. For example, take a long, hot, bubble bath before starting supper.
- Try clearing your head with some silent meditation and deep breathing. Relax by candle light for 20 minutes.
- Instead of reaching for snacks, choose to call a friend or family member, read a magazine, or write in a journal.
- Eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day to stay energized, and be sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
On November 8th, three Domestic Workers United members and DWU's Outreach Coordinator, Joycelyn Gill-Campbell, met for a cross cultural exchange with a five-person delegation from Israel and Mr. Christopher King from the US Department of Education and Cultural Affairs. The objective of this exchange was to introduce the visitors to America's ethnic and cultural diversity, examine demographic trends in the US, and explore diversity in the media.
DWU members described the mission of Domestic Workers United to the visitors and shared about the different ways that DWU empowers its members to stand up and fight for their rights. They outlined DWU's outreach strategy and ongoing efforts to implement the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, including the legal services offered to members suffering abuse and exploitation.
It was a great day of sharing and learning about each other's work.
What do Domestic Workers United and Shakespeare have in common?
In September 2013, several members of Domestic Workers United performed in the Public Work's production of Shakespeare's The Tempest. The mission of Public Works is to bring New Yorkers of all backgrounds together to engage and build community around theatre and the arts. To cast the community production of The Tempest, Public Works partnered with Domestic Workers United, The DreamYard Project, The Children’s Aid Society, The Brownsville Recreation Center, and the Fortune Society. The production--which was a musical adaptation of the original Shakespeare--received rave reviews for its energy, creativity, and inclusivity from theater critics across the city.
On the afternoon of Sunday October 28, 2012, in anticipation of a storm that would make history, pounding New York City into submission by leaving unprecedented destruction from New York's Bronx to Breezy Point, Vilma Rozen, DWU Board member and elder care provider to Dee took matters into her own hands. Ninety-two year old Dee's home in Staten Island was in an evacuation zone. Despite having no family near by, Dee, however, was not alone. Vilma's caring, proactive, and take-charge nature ensured Dee's safety. "I knew there were going to be problems with Dee's apartment. Her building is so close to the water and, given she lives on the third floor, there was no chance I was going to leave her there" said Vilma.
On Sunday afternoon Vilma, together with her husband Meir Rozen and coworker Nisia massiell, moved furniture in Dee's apartment away from windows and emptied the refrigerator. She then took Dee to her own apartment, where she stayed for two weeks until power, heat, and hot water was restored. Dee's family in California was understandably nervous:
"At ninety-two, Dee is very independent. But we were worried for her. We were watching the news and hearing State Island was being hit hard. We also knew Dee's home was in an evacuation zone. Without Vilma and Nisia, Dee wouldn't have been able to leave her apartment. The first floow of her building filled with over two feet of water. We are so grateful to Vilma, who was keeping us informed throughout the storm as much as she could. Speaking to Dee regularly, we knew she was content and happy. Vilma's provisions were very good. She and her husband welcomed her into their home for two weeks. She takes her work so seriously, returning to Dee's apartment several times to check on the damage and to make sure heat and hot water was restored before she returned home."
When DWU staff checked in with Vilma regarding her living conditions post storm sandy, Vilma said, "until the storm and all the problems subside, Dee will rest peacefully in my bedroom like an angel."
Domestic workers often engage in daily activities, such as running personal errands for their employers, scheduling appointments for family members, and preparing meals for their employers and their employers' guests, yet are often not able to formally incorporate these responsibilities into their work contacts and agreements. In September, DWU members participated in our Household Management 101 course, and learned how to market their managerial skills, as well as cultivate new ones to help better market themselves as professionals. Congratulations to our Fall 2012 Household Management Graduates!
DWU Household Management 101 teaches domestic workers the real-life skills needed to secure better employment. During the training members learned:
• Personal presentation: How to look and speak like a
• How to improve their interviewing techniques
• Cultivate interpersonal and communication skills
needed to negotiate for higher wages and better
• Learn how to write an excellent resume
• Know their rights as employees!
DWU member and participant Ann Marie explains why DWU's professional trainings have been vital to her own personal growth:
"DWU trainings teach us our worth as workers, and that if we're not happy with our current jobs, we can have something better. They give us the skills, the knowledge, and the certification that enables us to be able to go to an interview and say, 'look, these are my credentials,' just as you would in any other industry. I can now negotiate fully for what I think I'm worth."
At DWU we are passionate about empowering workers to stand up for their rights, as well as providing courses that can cultivate the confidence and skills needed to professionalize and facilitate positive change. Stay updated about our next workforce development trainings! Sign up for updates today!
For almost four years now, Pat Francois, DWU member and leader in the domestic workers movement, has been fighting for justice. Yesterday afternoon, the jury delivered its verdict in Pat's case against her former employers, filmmaker Matthew Mazer and sports agent Sheryl Shade, after 8 days in court and almost four years in litigation. We are thrilled to share that Pat has won her claims for unpaid wages and for the assault she suffered at the hands of Matthew Mazer.
For six years, Pat took loving care of Mazer's and Shade's child despite being grossly underpaid and mistreated. In December 2008, Mazer physically assaulted and verbally abused Pat, calling her a "stupid Black b****" and said that he hated her and hoped she would die a "horrible death." For too long, Mazer and Shade refused to be held accountable for their actions.
Through this entire ordeal, Pat worked tirelessly to win justice not only for herself but for domestic workers everywhere. She marched, rallied and lobbied in Albany to win recognition and rights for domestic workers, so that no one else would suffer the same abuse and exploitation.
Pat shared her story countless times so that lawmakers would feel the urgency of providing domestic workers with rights and protections. Thanks to Pat, her courage and that of thousands of domestic workers, New York passed the nation's first Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Finally, domestic workers, otherwise excluded from all other legislation providing labor protections, were recognized as real workers under the law.
Everyday, domestic workers like Pat start their day early in the morning to care for their employers' loved ones and keep their homes healthy and safe. Just treatment in the form of fair wages, benefits and respect is nothing less than what domestic workers deserve for the critical work they do. Pat's case stands as a reminder that the courage and strength of domestic workers will always prevail.
We thank all domestic workers, families, friends and supporters for your love and solidarity. We could not have made it through this arduous journey without you.
The struggle is far from over. Even this victory is incomplete as the full scope of Pat's suffering has not been accounted for, and other domestic workers are still facing abuse and exploitation. By standing together, we will continue winning until we bring respect once and for all.