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Bekah Mandell's picture

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They did it!  

Domestic workers and their allies in Massachusetts passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. This is fourth Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to pass in four years, following New York, California, and Hawaii. It reflects a growing recognition from workers, employers and allies that domestic work is real work and deserves real protections.

This new bill is the most comprehensive Domestic Workers Bill of Rights yet, providing clear guidelines for employers.  It provides domestic workers with the right to a written contract, just cause termination, and maternity leave.

Domestic workers were on the frontline of this win; it was their leadership, experience and stories that changed the landscape for this low-wage workforce.  Domestic workers -- overwhelmingly women of color and immigrants -- are transforming our democracy with their leadership on economic issues.

This victory was made possible because of strong partnerships between workers, employers, advocates and legislators who came together through the powerful Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers.This win is part of a wave of strong low-wage worker organizing spreading across the country. The same week that Massachusetts passed the Bill of Rights, the state also passed the highest minimum wage law in the country.

Make no mistake, low-wage workers organizing -- from Walmart workers to domestic workers to fast food workers -- are providing the solutions for a new economy that will benefit everyone.  Just as fast-food workers have been building power with other low-wage workers to win higher minimum wages in Seattle, the new law paves the way for even more comprehensive legislation in other states in the upcoming years.

This victory is even more significant in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision.  As the nation’s highest court attempts to erode the right of workers, particularly the rights of women, immigrant and low-wage workers, our movement will need to continue to develop innovative ways to come together and organize to transform our workplaces.  

Domestic workers often face isolation, working alone in their employers’ homes.  In winning these new rights, domestic workers in Massachusetts have proven that it is possible to bring workers together and organize despite enormous barriers.  Lessons from the Campaign in Massachusetts will help drive our organizing work in other states and may offer insights for others organizing low wage workers.  

The Massachusetts effort was won with domestic workers leading the campaign.  In towns across Massachusetts, domestic workers organized to pass resolutions in favor of the Bill of Rights, putting pressure on the legislature to move forward.  Domestic workers in Massachusetts spent years developing a coalition of employers, legislators, and policy leaders domestic workers who were able to come together in the legislature to push for their bill.    No matter the roadblocks, this Bill proves that when we come together and organize, we win!

Help keep this momentum going by sending a congratulatory message to the MA Coalition for Domestic Workers to say you stand with them, and domestic workers everywhere, for dignity and respect for all!  

Just click here to send your note: http://www.domesticworkers.org/send-domestic-workers-in-massachusetts-some-love


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