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National Domestic Workers Alliance
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:38pm
Wed Jul 13, 2016

Advocates Urge Gov. Rauner To Sign Illinois Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Illinois caregivers, housecleaners and their advocates rallied at the Thompson Center Wednesday, urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

The Illinois General Assembly approved the measure during the last legislative session and sent it to the governor on June 26.

Rauner has 60 days to take action on the legislation, which would ensure that domestic workers in Illinois are paid no less than the minimum wage, receive at least one day off a week and have protections against sexual harassment.

Magdalena Zylinska is among the 35,000 estimated domestic workers in Illinois. She's a housecleaner in Chicago who organizes domestic workers with the Arise Chicago worker center.

"Since the domestic work industry is rapidly growing, and it is a very critical part of our state, I think it is a matter of urgency for this bill to pass," she said. "Also, as domestic workers, we make all other work possible. We take care of children, aging loved ones, people living with disabilities and the homes of families. We want to be recognized as real workers, and we want to be treated with respect."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:07pm
Tue Nov 17, 2015

Walmart Workers Fasting For $15 As Part Of Black Friday Protests

Walmart workers have stepped up their Black Friday protests against the mega retailer with a 15-day fast for a $15 minimum wage and full-time schedules.

Over 1,400 Walmart workers and their allies are participating in the fast, organized by the recently relaunched OUR Walmart campaign. In the run-up to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, fasters are consuming a liquids-only diet for one to 15 days to draw attention to what they consider to be low wages and hours provided to Walmart workers.

The fast began last week and will culminate with Black Friday protests on November 27 at Walmart stores nationwide, including in Chicago and other Illinois cities.

"OUR Walmart's message to Walton heirs -- whose wealth has been greater than the bottom 42 percent of all American families combined -- is clear: while Walmart employees can barely put food on the table this Thanksgiving, Walmart continues to thrive as the largest supplier of groceries in the nation, while it lines the pockets of the Walton family with corporate greed," OUR Walmart said in statement. "Anything less than $15 and full-time is not enough for Walmart workers."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:46pm
Tue Aug 26, 2014

New #WEmatter Twitter Campaign Amplifies Women's Economic Security Woes

Organizations and individuals across the country are taking to social media on Tuesday as part of a new campaign to promote policies designed to strengthen the economic security of women and families.

The launch of the social media movement coincides with Women's Equality Day, which marks the anniversary of women winning the right to vote on August 26, 1920. 

Those participating in the campaign are organizing under the hashtag "WEmatter" on Twitter and other social media outlets.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:21pm
Tue Oct 1, 2013

New Protections For Home Health Workers Paves Way For Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new regulations that would grant millions of in-home health care workers the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Under the Labor Department's new rule, which takes effect January 1, 2015, nearly 2 million workers who provide direct in-home assistance to the elderly and those with disabilities, illnesses or injuries would be entitled to the same basic labor protections most American workers already receive. 

Since 1974, direct care workers have been excluded from federal minimum wage and overtime laws after being put into a "companion services" category, which is the same as babysitters and is a group that is exempt from such protections.

Illinois, along with 14 other states, however, already extend state minimum wage and overtime protections to direct care workers, so the new rule won't have as big of an impact in the Prairie State as compared to others.

Nonetheless, Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said the new regulations are a crucial step forward in the effort to stabilize a rapidly-growing workforce comprised of mainly women, particularly women of color and immigrants.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Wed Apr 24, 2013

Domestic Workers' Bill Of Rights Expected To Go Up For Vote In Illinois Senate Thursday

A measure that would recognize the legal rights of domestic workers in Illinois is expected to go up for a vote in the state Senate Thursday.

The Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights Act, SB 1708, sponsored by State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), would require that employers of nannies, house cleaners and caregivers pay their workers no less than the  minimum wage and allow for a least one day off a week.

The measure, which has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, would also require written contracts and guarantee the right to paid time off, pay for all work hours, meal and rest periods, and an environment free from sexual harassment.

“It’s basically time to really cut some of the last remaining, obvious cords connected to slavery that we still have,” said Eric Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Union of Chicago, one of the lead organizations pushing for the bill.

PI Original
by Steven Ross Johnson
8:46pm
Tue Nov 27, 2012

Domestic Workers Face Many Hardships, Report Finds (VIDEO)

Labor rights advocates are hopeful the findings of a new report will help shed some light on what they describe as the unfair treatment many domestic workers experience on the job.