This woman is amazing.
Christine Yvette Lewis appeared on The Colbert Show last night to promote the work of an organization called Domestic Workers United, which she describes as “a movement that organizes workers to assert their rights in the workplace.” Domestic Workers includes women who work in the homes as elderly care givers, nannies, and housekeepers slash house cleaners.
Domestic workers need this organization because they work in isolation, comprising what she calls “an invisible workforce.” Also, domestic workers do not receive the same rights that other types of workers take for granted, such as paid vacation days.
Lewis also reminds us of the historical reason why domestic workers lack the rights that other types of workers take for granted. During the New Deal, the only way to get the Southern legislators on board was to ensure that farm workers and domestic workers were excluded from the benefits of FDR’s new legislation. The reason for this was simple and obvious: the vast majority of African-American men were employed in some sort of agricultural labor while the vast majority of African-American women were employed in some sort of domestic labor. This legislation has obviously had a major detrimental effect on immigrants and people of color in general. As a result, these categories of workers are still “vindictively excluded” from this country’s labor laws. (If you are interested in learning more about this, you can check out Ira Katznelson’s book When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth Century America.
<td style=’padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;’ colspan=’2′Christine Yvette Lewis
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