In this op-ed, Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, explains how to support and help domestic workers get the respect they deserve this International Domestic Workers Day and beyond.
June 16 is International Domestic Workers Day, and it’s a day of recognition for over 67 million domestic workers around the globe who cook, clean, provide child and elder care, and perform countless other invisible jobs for families.
Let’s be honest: Every day is International Domestic Workers Day. Every Monday when a nanny cradles a baby so the parents can start the week at their other jobs, every Tuesday when a home care worker spends time with an elderly loved one to keep them healthy in their home, every Friday when a housecleaner cleans a house after a hectic week so a family can enjoy the weekend mess-free.
Eight years ago, an unprecedented international law was passed: the International Labor Organization Convention 189 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers, which has now been ratified by 27 countries (the U.S has yet to ratify). Domestic workers from around the world organized together to achieve a historic step forward toward domestic work being recognized as work equal to any other, through establishing a framework for labor protections for their workforce.
This law is so important because domestic workers are in every country, the economy relies on them, many families depend on them, and yet they are some of the most undervalued workers in any economy.