Thank You Thursdays: Ai-Jen Poo, Domestic Workers United

Check out this cool, albeit a little old, Ms. Foundation video on Ai-Jen Poo (who I’ve blogged a bit about before) and the incredible work of Domestic Workers United.

And congrats to the Ms. Foundation on their great new site.

If anyone’s got time to write a transcript in comments, please feel free. I’m buried.

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  • cebes

    Transcript —
    Marlene Campion: Domestic workers face various problems. Problems in salary, problems in health care, long hours with no overtime. Sometimes just simple abuse.
    Marilyn Alcindor: We take care of their most prized possession. And I think that if you trust us enough to look after them, we need to be recognized, we need to be respected for what we do.
    [Protesters chanting]
    Al-Jen Poo: We are organizing for power, for people’s power, for worker’s power, women of color power, in an industry which has been really disempowered deliberately over time.
    Susan Wefald: 41 percent of domestic workers earn low wages, another 26 percent earn below the poverty line or below minimum wage.
    Poo: Even very basic labor protections that were won at the height of the labor movement like the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act, domestic workers have by name been excluded.
    Alcindor: Al-Jen goes all-out to help us in our struggle.
    Jocelyn Campbell: No matter what knowledge she has, she shares it with everyone. And she’s always creating courses that we can learn from, right now we have leadership training courses, we do political ads.
    Poo: We believe that without domestic workers, nothing else in New York city would be possible.
    Wefald: They take care of our children, they take care of our parents, they clean our homes. They should earn a living wage. THey should be able to pay their bills. They should be able to raise their own children. They should be able to have health insurance. It’s about justice.
    [Protesters chanting]
    [Musical excerpt, Aretha Franklin "Respect", continues throughout]
    Poo: Our central fight right now is for a state-wide bill of rights for domestic workers which would basically establish labor standards for the first time for all domestic workers in the state of New York.
    Priscilla Gonzalez: What we believe is that the labor protections will send a message that this is real work that needs to be protected, and these are real workers whose rights need to be defended.
    Poo: We need to be building a mass movement that is across communities, across workforces, across nationalities. And a big part of our work is about building those alliances so that the sum total of what we do is much greater.
    Campbell: Domestic work has really made me into a better fighter.
    Wefald: I think that the best leaders are those that develop the leadership of others, and that’s what Al-Jin does.
    Alcindor: She is inspiring me to continue that struggle, to continue that fight for what we want.
    Poo: The Ms. Foundation has really supported us to grow in the directions that we need to grow. And we need that kind of institutional support, support that’s gonna enable us to do what we want to do, which is change the world.

  • Courtney

    Thank you SO much Cebes!

  • cebes

    Ach, that should of course be “Ai-Jen” throughout.