Domestic workers in America
Domestic workers in America
In the United States of America a domestic worker is also known as a servant and most often they work and live within the household of their employers. The servants are very distinguishable from the slaves and the serfs since they receive payments for the work they do for their employers. The domestic workers have the freedom of leaving their employment at their free will. In the households which are large there are very many domestic workers who do different kinds of jobs. In America a butler is seen as the most senior domestic worker and he performs duties such as managing the other household servants as well as handling the wines.
In America the female domestic workers are known as the maids. Their household chores range from; ironing, cleaning, cooking, washing, Purchasing the household drinks and foods, caring for the children, going together with the household head for the grocery shopping as well as taking the family dogs for walks if there are any. In most instances the domestic workers in America substitute the nursing role of caring for the elderly people in different households as well as taking care of those who have disabilities.
(Anderson and Bowman 1993) The different domestic worker organizations in the United States of America The domestic workers union 2000 The domestic workers union was founded in New York by some elderly caregivers, housekeepers and some nannies from the Caribbean, Latin and the African countries. This organizations has a mission of empowering, respecting, and also subjecting the domestic workers to fair labor standards in America especially in the New York City.
This organization also aimed at helping in the building of a movement which would end the exploitation and also the oppression of the domestic workers in America. The domestic workers union further supports the domestic workers who have suffered some violations and also abuse as well as violation of their rights in their work places. They also conduct some referrals, they make a provision for a direct support with the domestic workers employees and they at times organize some public support to the organizations members.
The other domestic workers organizations in America assist in the protection of the rights and the dignity of the American domestic workers. Some of these organizations produce a contract which is standard for all the employers and the domestic workers including the employment agencies for the domestic workers. (Chow 1994) The domestic workers organizations in America offer some nanny training programs, the computer literacy programs and also some leadership training programs.
Other domestic workers organizations in America include; the domestic workers homecare centre, the united domestic workers of America, the united domestic workers of San Diego, the united domestic workers of California and the national alliance of domestic workers. How the domestic worker groups are trying to assist the domestic workers have better experiences in America These domestic worker groups break the isolation of the domestic workers who work in the domestic work industry in the United States of America.
This is because without the domestic workers in America all the activities in the major cities would stop in their tracks. On the other hand since the domestic workers especially women are devalued in most of the work aspects these worker groups seek to further educate the public so that they can respect the domestic workers and the work which they do. By educating the public on respecting the domestic workers these groups tend to uncover the racial and gender inequalities which exist in the domestic work industry and the labor market.
Similarly these domestic worker groups fight for the recognition of the domestic workers in America as real and also skilled workers in the American population. On the other hand most of the domestic workers are excluded from most of the basic protections which are afforded to the workers in America and this is inclusive of the national labor relations and other discrimination protections thus the domestic workers organizations in America work towards ensuring that such protections are enforced and that the working conditions of the domestic workers ere not solely left at the whims if the employers.
(Anderson and Bowman 1993) Similarly these organizations further seek to establish very fair and just standards which formerly recognize the domestic workforce as a real workforce with its own protections. In addition to this these domestic organizations in the united stats of America are movements which win justice for all the domestic workers in America. (Nancy 1987) This is because they address the root causes of all the injustices as well as the exploitation which are faced by the domestic workers alone since all these issues take more than the domestic workers single-handedly.
The struggles of the domestic workers in America are closely tied to the struggles of all the other American workers, the immigrants, the migrants and also the oppressed communities. The domestic workers organizations connect with each other as well as other organizations and they build a movement that is very powerful in creating the change needed in the domestic workers workforce. (Chow 1994)
The domestic worker groups are looking for ways to include the domestic workers as employees and this will further lead to better working conditions for the domestic workers and they could also be free to form the labor unions just as the other employees in the United States of America. Similarly these groups work towards achieving government Acts which have fair labor standards which set the minimum and wage rates and they also address the issue of the maximum working hours for the domestic workers.
Similarly these organizations ensure that the domestic workers are not discriminated on the basis of their color, religion, age, nationality, sex, race as well as their disability. (Chow 1994) How the domestic workers are treated Some of the domestic workers in America receive very bad and poor treatment from their employers as well as the other household members. On the other hand some domestic workers are treated well by their host families. The domestic workers who receive bad treatment from their employers have their privacy invaded.
They are also subjected to some sexual, emotional and physical abuses which in extreme cases lead to severe injury or even death. On the other hand the freedom of the domestic workers is restricted by the employees and this implies that they are at times treated as slaves who do not have a say on the decisions that are made pertaining their lives. Many of the domestic workers in America are also treated harshly by their employers as they have their personal documents confiscated especially the new immigrants such that they cannot willingly leave their employers.
On the other hand the domestic workers have their working hours and also wages violated especially the live in domestic workers. The issues that the domestic workers have to deal with Most of the domestic workers in America work under very exploitive and harsh conditions and they have very many issues which they have to deal with. For instance the domestic workers are barred from organizing into unions collectively. It is however very important to note that the domestic workers form a very significant part of the American economy yet they are not protected by the labor laws of the federal state as the other employees are protected.
In addition to this the domestic workers are faced with very unique barriers of organization since they have difficulties in doing negotiations with the employers as they each are in isolation in their employers households. (Nancy 1987) Most of the domestic workers stay for significant periods with the same employers in the same industry. They are a very stable workforce and they further endure various working conditions which further violate their rights as workers as well as human beings. The domestic workers deal with a lot of issues and they are inclusive of the following;
? Wages Statistics show that half of the domestic workers in America earn very low wages. Most of them make their wages below the minimum wages. On the other hand some of the domestic workers work overtime most of whom do not receive their overtime pays for the overtime hours in which they have worked. In America the domestic workers are the key providers in their families and some of them provide for their home countries but on the other hand they face very severe financial hardships as they work in the domestic labor force.
? Abuse Similarly the American domestic workers experience a lot of abuse from their employers or even the other household members. The abuse which comes from their employers could be inform of physical or even verbal abuse and this makes then feel very insecure and uncomfortable on the other hand some of the domestic workers who face various kinds of abuse identify their immigration status and racism as the main factors which contribute to the actions of their employers. (Chow 1994)
The domestic workers also experience some sexual abuse and harassments by their employers but since the employees fear their employers then they are reluctant to report such abuses to the public as well as the concerned authorities. Thus the domestic workers cannot gat any form of assistance from the humanitarian groups, the governmental agencies or even the non-governmental groups. ? Lack of health insurance Most of the domestic workers in America do not receive the health insurance or health cover from their employers.
Similarly in America most of the domestic worker cannot afford decent medical care which is necessary for themselves and also their other family members. On the other hand it is only less than half of the domestic workers who get basic benefits from their employers such as sick off and other regular pay rises. (Anderson and Bowman 1993) ? Stress Most of the domestic workers in America are faced with the issue of stress in the households where they work. The employers cause a lot of stress to the domestic workers by requiring them to do multiple jobs.
Sometimes the employers also require them to perform duties which are not in their job descriptions in any way. On the other hand some of the employers require their domestic workers to work for other people other than themselves. All such requirements cause a lot of stress to the domestic workers and this could even have adverse effects on their health conditions. The domestic workers experience a lot of labor exploitation and abuse than the other female workers in America and this mainly applies to the migrant domestic workers.
Most of the domestic workers are isolated from their families, friends as well as the other employees. In some instances some domestic workers cannot effectively communicate with their employers and this has further led to physical or even verbal abuse. Some domestic workers are abused by their employers but they still remain for the fear that they could loose their jobs and thus they would not be able to support their families. In some extreme case the domestic workers have been severely injured and they have also been killed b their employers. (Chow 1994)
Since the domestic workers have their limited choices made by their employers, the employers set the employments terms and conditions regarding their accommodations, pay, meals, contacts, off days and also their mode of payments. The employers tend to control the lives of the domestic workers in most of the aspects. Most of the domestic workers have irregular and very long working hours and they also have some irregular and low payments for their salaries. The domestic workers in America also receive accommodation and meals which are below the standards since this is determined by their employers.
Some employers withhold the pay of the domestic workers and they at times fail to pay them as agreed. The domestic workers are also faced with the issue of lack of communication and movement. The employers put some restrictions which limit the domestic workers and they isolated from the outside world. Most of the domestic workers are not allowed to leave the employers houses as well as meet with other people and they are also restricted from inviting friends into their houses.
Another major concern for the domestic workers in America especially the immigrants are their possession of the legal identification documents. Some of the employers confiscate the documents which belong to the domestic workers thus they are not able to register or even acquire a work permit. (Chow 1994) The measures which are being taken to rectify these situations In order to rectify the situations which are faced by the domestic workers the following measures have been taken. 1. Implementation of the domestic workers bill of rights.
This bill was amended so that it could address various issues concerning the domestic workers in America. The issues which are addressed in this bill of rights included the exclusion of the domestic workers from the most basic labor protections and it also provides a further recognition for the domestic workers workforce as real workforce. Similarly in the bill of rights there was an establishment of specified protections which addressed the vulnerability and the isolation of the domestic workers to the mistreatment and also abuse from their employers. 2.
Instigation of the domestic workers policies which further prevent the recruitment fees which are exorbitant for the domestic workers as well as the debt payment systems which are very exploitive for the domestic workers in the United States of America. Such policies also cover the issue of trafficking domestic workers to the United States of America. 3. In rectifying these situations the domestic work is included as a part of the formal sector of employment. This will make it more recognizable and the domestic labor will fully be protected under the labor laws.
4. There is an establishment of employment contracts which are standard for all the domestic workers in America. This helps in the protection of the domestic workers rights and responsibilities. The contract also includes a definition of the employee’s responsibilities which should be categorized under the domestic work. It also defines the payment rates as well as the working conditions under which the domestic workers should be subjected and it also defines the working hours and the day offs.
The contract also considers the domestic workers who are immigrants in the United States of America. (Nancy 1987) 5. Another measure which is being taken in order to rectify the situation off the domestic workers in America is the setting of the public awareness campaigns. These campaigns are based on the laws and regulations regarding the domestic workers in America. Through these campaigns the public is enlightened on the penalties which are entitled to the employers who commit any kind of abuse to the domestic workers.
On the other hand the campaigns pay a lot of attention to the issues of the racial and gender migrations and this is inclusive of the living and also the working conditions of the domestic workers. The domestic workers through the campaigns are enlightened on their rights and the rights of their employers. 6. Another important measure which is being taken in addressing the situation of the domestic workers in America is the publicizing of the complaint mechanisms and other hot line services which are accessible to the domestic workers.
This would be very helpful especially for the domestic workers in America who have been experiencing all kinds of problems with their employers. Similarly this would provide a better coordination between the employers, the domestic workers and the labor inspectors as well as the immigration officers and the police. (Anderson and Bowman 1993) 7. On the other hand there is development of systematic mechanisms and also training for various labor agencies especially for the non governmental organizations in all the levels.
This further ensures that all these parties have a very clear understanding of all the issues which are related to the needs and the rights of the domestic workers. Similarly they will be able to apply the suitable responses whenever the domestic workers are abuses in any way or when their rights are infringed by their employers. The trainings would help the participating parties to counsel, shelter or even refer the domestic workers for health care treatments. 8. There is also the provision of mechanisms for the domestic workers who are immigrants to the United States of America.
These mechanisms call for justice if the immigrant domestic workers receive bad treatment from their employers. Similarly they ensure that the immigrant domestic workers are not exploited, cheated, persecuted and they also do not suffer from any form of abuse from their recruiters, employers and other concerned authorities. In such mechanisms there is a requirement for knowledgeable interpreters. 9. Another measure which is being taken in rectifying the situation of the domestic workers is the increase of the number of the labor inspectors in America.
Their authority is also being revised so that they can be able to carry out investigations on the working conditions which apply to the informal work places such as the households. On the other hand such inspection is also undertaken on a regular basis in the households which the domestic workers work. (Chow 1994) 10. There is also the development of a positive public perception on the domestic workers especially those who have emigrated from other countries to the United States of America. This would allow the public to appreciate the value of the work which is done by the domestic workers in the country.
This is creatively done through the country’s mass media especially in the soap operas whereby the domestic workers are displayed as people who play a significant role in the American economy and the whole country at large. This has further helped in counteracting the image of the domestic workers and especially the women who have very low social economic status as well as those with low education levels. 11. In the United States of America there is a regularization process for the domestic workers who are immigrants and this only grants them the right to work.
Thus these domestic workers can travel to other districts but only in the company of their employers. 12. There are measures which are looking into establishing some informal and also self help organizations for the domestic workers. This would give the domestic workers an opportunity to interact as well as share their personal experiences with the other domestic workers. 13. So as to improve the situation of the domestic workers in America the government has developed some programs for the immigrant workers and this is inclusive of a pre-departure orientation which is mandatory for the domestic worker and it looks into the heath issues.
The issues of the domestic workers rights and responsibilities are also addressed in the orientation. The government acts to protect the human right of the immigrant and also the local domestic workers in America. There is also an establishment of some follow-up programs whereby the employees provide the necessary information on their rights over the domestic workers under the labor laws. This would ensure that both the employees and the employers have a transparency which exists between them and thus any forms of abuses are highly avoided. (Nancy 1987) Conclusion
In the United States of America the domestic workers remain to be a very significant part of the country’s secondary labor markets. However there have been very major changes in the ethnicity and the geographical origins of the domestic workers in America. On the other hand the domestic workers have been experiencing some very harsh working conditions from their employees whereby their privacy is infringed upon as well as their rights as workers and human beings. However there are some measures which have been taken to address the situation of the domestic workers in America.
These include the implementation of the domestic workers bill of rights and other policies and programs which help in protecting the rights of the domestic workers in America. Reference: Anderson, C. And Bowman, M. (1993): The Vanishing Servant and the Contemporary Status System of the American South. American Journal of Sociology Chow, E. (1994): Asian American Women at Work, Survival, Resistance, and Coping. Women of Color in U. S. Society. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Nancy F. (1987): Introduction, New Immigrants and Changing Patterns in New York City. The New Immigrants in New York; (Ed. ) New York: Columbia University Press.