The New York City Council passed a bill last Wednesday increasing protections for nannies and other domestic workers in the city, the first such bill on the nation. The bill requires employers to inform domestic workers in writing about their duties, wages, and hours, and employment agencies must sign an agreement stating that they are aware of domestic workers' rights and labor laws, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Employment agencies violating the law face up to $1,000 in fines and a year in jail.
Ai-Jen Poo, an organizer with Domestic Workers United, estimates that there are 200,000 domestic workers in the city and 600,000 in the greater metropolitan area, according to the New York Times. Most of these women are immigrants who are often unaware of their rights and are scared to challenge their employers because of the fear of losing their jobs or visas, the Monitor reports. Several high-profile cases of abuse of domestic workers provided some of the impetus for this bill. Justina Dumpagnol, a Maylasian native, told the City Council of an incident with a New York family in which she was pushed down basement stairs by a child and left semiconscious until the ambulance arrived. "He locked the door behind me and I was there for a very long time," she testified, according to the Monitor.
"This is just the beginning. Next, we're going to seek to get the State Legislature to vote to improve standards for domestic workers," Poo told the Times. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has indicated he supports the measure, according to the Associated Press. Groups in other major metropolitan areas are also planning to push forward legislation on this issue, using New York as a model.
Media Resources: Christian Science Monitor 5/16/03; New York Times 5/15/03; Associated Press 5/15/03; Washington Post 5/14/03
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .