salty sunday (domestic workers’ justice edition)

June 10, 2007

Salty Sunday is back after a brief hiatus. Hopefully the blogging will now resume to its somewhat-normal frequency.

This week’s Salty Sunday will be a roundup of links from last week’s successful Blog For Domestic Workers’ Justice day, which seemed to be kind of a bust by the end of the 5th but, to my delight, received a lot more writers as the week progressed.

The ever-eloquent Sylvia perused a HRW report and reports back in her Blog for DW post. A snip of her words on her personal connection with DW:

I think my respect for domestic workers comes from my history. It’s a history where I know women like me would not have had many jobs to seek, and we would have to work in someone’s home and raise someone else’s children to get by feeding our own. It’s a history where, through lots of pain and heartache, people were dragged here and raped and subordinated and beaten so someone could tend to another’s fields, clean another’s homes, shine another’s shoes, eat another’s scraps, and forget their humanity in the midst of all that work. It’s with luck that those workers’ descendants have maintained their fight to realize the value within us, the love within us, and the pride in our energies, our efforts. We’re still mired in a society that doesn’t recognize our worth unless we’re serving its flagrant abuses of power and wealth.

More beautiful personal words, more like a manifesto, over at Blackamazon. It’s hard to blockquote her words, I hate to chop them up because they can only be fully appreciated in context. Go read them, not a long piece. Carmen at All About Race writes about her mother and grandmother, who were both domestic workers.

KC connects the DW BoR in New York to California legislation that would protect DWs in that state. Sanne at New York Nannies discusses the legislation and domestic work not being valued as real work. Over at Jewschool, the fantastic Kol Ra’ash Gadol tells a story about a 19th century rabbi with a heightened sensitivity and appreciation for the hard work of his domestic worker and moves into the importance of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights (BoR). She stresses that according to Jewish law, we are all subject to the same regulations and should be treated the same, regardless of immigration status. Rebecca Honig Friedman at Jewess writes about the importance of being conscious employers of domestic workers and of recognizing domestic work as real work. JR at JWABlog expresses her personal ambivalence and discomfort in being an employer, concluding with pushing for the BoR as a key step in DWs not depending on the “benevolence of their employer” for good working conditions.

For some high-traffic DW blogging, there was some linkage over at Feministing and also a lengthy and thought-out (not to mention researched!) post at Pandagon, which sparked an interesting discussion in the comments.

A short critique of some points of the bill can be read here – though I should say that this person asks why we don’t amend labor laws so that DWs can unionize, to which I respond that the fact that DWs can’t unionize is more because of the nature of their employment than because of what some law dictates. Meaning, each domestic worker has a different employer. How could DWs actually have a union with any power if this is the case? Also, this writer seems confused by my name. Saltyfemme. Saltyfemme?

Following the Blog for DW Justice Day and the successful Town Hall meeting held this past Thursday evening, Belledame writes about Betty Friedan and the DW BoR (OK OK I wrote about Friedan and she followed up). Belle also wrote this fantastic piece about feminism and the DW legislation, bringing in the BoR text as well as text from the executive summary handed out at the Town Hall.

Added June 15th: thoughts on DW Justice from Elle, PhD.

Quick hits also came in from JSpot and Appletreeblog.

Also, not related to Blog for DW day but mentionable nonetheless, following the NY Daily News and NYTimes pieces (!!) from May 31st and June 1st, respectively, this wonderful piece written by Labor Research Association ED Jonathan Tasini appeared at HuffPo and Daily Kos. NYTimes NY-metro area blog Empire Zone discussed the proposed legislation and annoying liberal NYTimes readers respond with skepticism. Following Thursday’s Town Hall, Daniel Millstone at the Daily Gotham urges readers to join Domestic Workers United (DWU) and their allies for a march down Fifth Avenue (which occurred yesterday and was moving and inspiring, by the way).

Whew. Quite a roundup. Congrats if you’ve made it this far. Thank you to all who participated in this great blogswarm. It was really wonderful to see all this great writing about an issue I have been organizing around on the ground for the last year and a half. I look forward to continuing my work with the Shalom Bayit: Justice for Domestic Workers campaign with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ). If you’re interested, check back here for more on the progress of the campaign.


One comment

  1. This post, and the idea of having a blog for domestic workers day, are great. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk with you @ the town hall. Am hoping the campaign goes well, into the next few months- it’s good to hear more about it here…

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