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
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .