Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

UUSC Awards National Domestic Workers Alliance with Human Rights Innovation Fellowship Grant

PRESS RELEASE
Contact(s):
Kyle Moler, M+R P: 202-478-6173 E: kmoler@mrss.com; Paul Twitchell, UUSC Communications Director, work: 617-301-4355

BOSTON – The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) today announced a $25,000 grant to The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), the leading voice for dignity and fairness for domestic workers in the United States. NDWA is the second organization to receive a grant from UUSC’s Human Rights Innovation Fellowship which was launched last year.

The grant was awarded to NDWA to support the launch of its “National Home Care Workers Hotline,” which will serve as a resource for workers who assist the elderly and persons with disabilities and illness. The hotline will provide “know your rights” information and provide workers education, tools, and training for self-advocacy.

In a historic moment last year, after nearly 40 years of exclusion from basic labor protections, the Department of Labor expanded its reading of applicable regulations to provide basic labor protections to the country’s 2 million home care workers. Yet many home care workers are unaware of this new set of protections or need legal guidance and referral on issues like wage theft.  The aim of this project is to better educate, protect, and inform workers of their rights and direct those workers with claims to appropriate legal resources.

Home care work is critical to the economy.  It is the second fastest growing occupation in the country and is projected to be the second largest occupational group in the country by 2022.[i] However, average annual earnings are just over $17,000, with a median hourly wage of $9.38.[1] Home care workers are overwhelmingly women and disproportionately women of color and immigrants.

“At a time when workers’ rights – especially those of immigrants – are increasingly under threat, we were eager to support NDWA’s innovative new program,” said Amber Moulton, researcher in UUSC’s Programs, Advocacy, and Action Department. “NDWA’s hotline will help to educate workers about their rights while also providing them with legal services when they are violated, and eventually serve as a model for a national program.”

In close collaboration with partners and affiliates on the ground, NDWA will launch pilot projects in New Mexico and Georgia, two states with large and growing home care worker populations, with aspirations to expand to other states in the future in collaboration with nearly 60 affiliate partners across the country.

“Home care workers work hard to ensure the independence of our families and communities. It’s only fair that they be valued as workers with rights that must be upheld so they can care for their own families,” said Elly Kugler, federal policy director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “We were honored to receive this visionary grant from UUSC to support the launch of our hotline, which we believe will fill a void that’s been allowed to persist for far too long.”

UUSC’s Human Rights Innovation Fellowship awards competitive grants on an annual basis to partner organizations developing innovative solutions to address issues related to justice and human rights.

 

About National Domestic Workers Alliance

 

The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. Founded in 2007, NDWA works for the respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers. It has won state domestic workers’ bill of rights in five states including New York, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Oregon and recently partnered with Care.com to create fair and just standards in the private care sector. NDWA is powered by 53 affiliate organizations—plus its first local chapter in Atlanta—of over 15,000 nannies, housekeepers, and home care workers in 37 cities and 18 states.


[1] PHI, Occupational Projections for Direct-Care Workers 2012-2022 (2014), http://phinational.org/sites/phinational.org/files/phi-factsheet14update-12052014.pdf