As the end of 2011 draws near, we want to celebrate our accomplishments with you. For domestic workers, 2011 has been a year full of inspiring acts of courage and compassion, and historic victories.
These accomplishments would not have been possible without you, our members, friends, and supporters — the NDWA Family. People often describe domestic workers as “part of the family.” Thank you for being a part of our family and for treating us as part of yours. Organizing with love, we are building a powerful movement together.
Our country is at a crossroads: either we continue on a path toward deepening crisis or we seize the opportunity to create a more just, sustainable economy that works for everyone. NDWA has responded to this moment by working to expand protections for women workers, putting forth a solution for real job creation, standing up for our rights and the safety net, and building transformative partnerships.
An International Victory
In June, the United Nations’ International Labour Organization adopted the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers — an historic treaty that establishes global labor standards for an estimated 100 million domestic workers internationally. Juana Flores, a domestic worker in California and an official member of the US delegation to the ILO, said, "With this convention the world is recognizing, for the first time, that domestic workers are workers like any other and deserve the same treatment."
Towards a California Bill of Rights
This year, California moved towards joining New York State in passing legislation to protect the rights of domestic workers. With the leadership of the California Domestic Workers Coalition, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights passed the state Assembly and through the Labor Committee of the Senate. With the release of the Hollywood film, “The Help,” groups around the country were able to bring attention to the experiences of domestic workers today, and the need for labor protections, including the Bill of Rights.
Our video, “Meet Today's Help,” has been watched almost 8,000 times!
Launching a Visionary Campaign
In July, we joined with over a dozen partner groups to launch Caring Across Generations, a movement to bring millions of Americans together to address both the jobs crisis and the care crisis we will face as our nation ages. We propose to create millions of quality care jobs, with the right to organize, training and career ladders, a path to citizenship for immigrant care workers and support for families and individuals to afford the care and support services they need. Our first Care Congress brought together over 700 domestic workers, direct care workers, people with disabilities, women, seniors, youth, people of faith and more. We have since taken a leading role in protecting what we have, standing up against attempts to cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, while continuing to push for policies to create what we need. On December 15, President Obama announced the first major milestone in this campaign, a proposed regulation to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to over 1 million home care workers.
Movements Coming Together
Responding to the wave of anti-immigrant legislation in states such as Arizona, Georgia and Alabama, NDWA brought together women's and immigrant rights organizations to launch We Belong Together, an initiative to shine a light on the human rights abuses facing immigrant women and children. In September we brought a delegation of women leaders to Georgia to hear stories of how HB 87 was affecting women and families. In November we launched the "A Wish for the Holidays" campaign to deliver over 5,000 hand-written letters from children to Congress and President Obama with one simple message: keep families together. On December 8th, dozens of children traveled to Washington DC to share their stories with members of Congress.
One of 5,000 letters from children
Building our Power
The National Domestic Workers Alliance now has 35 member organizations in 19 cities and 11 states. In order to support the rapid growth of our local organizing, we launched the SOL — Strategy, Organizing, and Leadership — Capacity Building Program. This two-year effort is working intensively to support 80 key domestic worker leaders and organizers from among our affiliates, all of whom are committed to strengthening our national movement and their own leadership locally.
As we celebrate the end of another year with family and friends, we want to thank you. This year, thousands of you sent emails, posted on Facebook, signed postcards, made phone calls, attended Care Congresses, and helped children write letters — thousands of acts of love. You truly are our family.
Next year marks our fifth anniversary. Please consider deepening your support in 2012, beginning with making a financial contribution to the National Domestic Workers Alliance. This is an historic moment for our movement and the nation; help us rise to the challenge.
Ai-jen Poo, Director
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Thank you to Margo Steiner for the phrase "Moving at the Speed of Love"
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