ARE THE RICH ABUSING DOMESTIC WORKERS IN THE U.S.?

According to their website, “The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women.” The organization is powered by 48 affiliate organizations—plus our first local chapter in Atlanta—of over 20,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for the elderly in 36 cities and 16 states.

Significant concerns about nannies, housekeepers and caregivers have arisen over the past couple of decades because many are underpaid, overworked and mentally and physically abused. Such people are particularly susceptible to abuse because much of their work is completed under cover of darkness within the private homes of the wealthy. There is often an implied or foreshadowed expectation on the part of the employer that what happens there stays there. With the assistance of NDWA, much of that is changing. For example, a recent law in Oregon has codified specific rules about domestic workers.

Meanwhile, in California, a domestic worker, Julieta Dela Cruz Yang, has sued her employers for sexual harassment and wage theft. Yang accuses Cameron Poetzscher, and his wife, Varsha Rao of these misdeeds. Cameron is the head of corporate development at Uber. Varsha is the head of global operations at Airbnb. The 45-year-old single mother of three is from the Philippines and previously worked for the couple in Singapore. She says that she was paid a flat fee for five hours per day, even though her daily hours totaled much more than that. She alleges that Poetzscher asked her to rub lotion on his back, and once asked by him if she was interested in pleasuring him with “handwork.” The Poetzschers’ deny the allegations. There are about 2.5 million domestic workers in the country.

 

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