South Florida Prepares for 1st Domestic Workers Assembly
Miami, FL – Anticipation is building for the 1st Annual Domestic Workers Assembly in South Florida, which will take place at Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus on Saturday, July 23rd.
Registration is free and can be done online or by texting “workers” to 313131
Close to 130 domestic workers have registered for the Assembly, who will converge for the first time to learn about their rights, the risks of human trafficking and participate in a campaign to advocate for a bill of rights that protects them. Women like like Carla Hansack, who know that thanks to their work, thousands of people — from professionals to working mothers like herself, can go to work every day to provide for their families. Yet there can be an ugly side to all their efforts.
“For years I was paid $350 for a 60-hour work week, much less than our state’s minimum wage. I also worked without a contract, was never paid overtime, didn’t have insurance or vacations. At any moment my employer could have refused to pay me or threaten to deport me because I’m also an undocumented immigrant,” Hansack recently wrote in the Miami Herald. “We need to learn about our rights and stand together to earn recognition and worker protection. Women in California, New York and Illinois already have won a bill of rights. We can do the same in Florida. It’s time for elected leaders to stand up and protect us like any other worker.
Actress, entrepreneur and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado will join the Assembly to support domestic workers and highlight the stigmatization they’re subject to. Local elected officials, including Florida State Senators Anitere Flores and Dwight Bullard, as well as Florida State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez and Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine., are expected to attend.
Machado, who has been an outspoken critic of presumptive Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, said that she was honored to be invited and to share the stage with such an inspiring group of women.
“We all are mothers, nannies, cooks, caregivers and workers,”said Machado. “We are the strength of every single family and the entire nation. Every woman is a queen and every job is worthy of a queen.”
ENCOURAGING LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTIONS
Florida has a large numbers of domestic workers with approximately 95,000 domestic workers living in South Florida alone. Yet despite these numbers and countless cases of human trafficking, the state is barely taking steps to address the issue. With this Assembly, South Florida hopes to join a growing number of states and local governments that have passed passed bills of rights to protect domestic workers like California, New York and Illinois. In june, the Miami-Dade County Commission proclaimed June 7th as a Day of Recognition of Domestic Workers.
Domestic work not only includes housekeeping and house cleaning, but also nannies and some care providers. However, many of the women that do these jobs are not aware about their rights and/or risks of working at someone else’s house.
“It’s about time people really pay attention to what is happening to hundreds of thousands of women behind closed doors, it’s a silent crime happening on a daily basis,” says Marcia Olivo, Executive Director for the Miami Workers Center, lead organizer of the event. “Thanks to domestic workers, we can go to work and be sucessful in life, while someone takes care of our children, cleans our homes and prepares our food. Their work should be recognized and compensated like any other.”
The Assembly is hosted by the Miami Workers Center and New Florida Majority, and co-hosted by Dreamer’s Moms. It has received the sponsorship of organizations and businesses such as National Domestic Workers Alliance, South Florida AFL-CIO, SEIU Florida, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center and Law Offices of Chavez & De Leon.
Media interested in attending or speaking to workers should contact Natalia Jaramillo at (786) 317-3524 or Maria Asunción Bilbao at (786) 470-5773