End of Year Report #1

Building our Movement from New York to the National Stage

Thirty of domestic worker leaders along with the staff just returned from Las Vegas this week after three days at the National Domestic Worker Alliance Assembly, building with movement partners, creating national strategies and growing our power. As they return home this week, take a moment to learn about the work we did in 2019 and get a sneak peek into 2020.

Breaking New Ground in New Jersey

In 2019, our domestic worker organizing team expanded into New Jersey to base-build towards a state bill of rights. Many of our members, while residents of New York, are employed in New Jersey. We forged new partnerships with groups like Rutgers University, Casa Freehold, New Labor, Wind of the Spirit-WotS, and with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, to complete more than 400 surveys of domestic worker conditions, led by eight of our own members as peer surveyors.

These surveys are the base from which we are strategizing and building a campaign this year for a bill of rights. Adhikaar also held monthly meetings and training in New Jersey in 2019, engaging 25 domestic worker member leaders regularly and building a membership of more than 100 new workers. This spring, along with our partners, we will launch a domestic worker  New Jersey state campaign – stay tuned this year and join us in mobilizing to advance domestic workers’ rights and dignity beyond New York.

Adhikaar’s Anti-Trafficking CampaignBreaking New Ground in New Jerse

As an anchor organization of the National Domestic Workers Alliance Beyond Survival campaign, we expanded our advocacy with the State Department to improve their diplomatic check-in program, ensuring there are stronger enforcement and accountability mechanisms in place. Our team strengthened the leadership and support of our survivor’s group, where 23 trafficking survivors leaders work with us in workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and anti-trafficking advocacy. Our survivor leaders stepped into creating strategies and led outreach and projects for our anti-trafficking work including the development of a Domestic Worker Trafficking curriculum by our Domestic Worker Fellow, Suhana, in conjunction with Damayan Migrant Workers Association.

We strengthened the “We Rise” nanny training, conducted in collaboration with Cornell ILR and the National Domestic Workers Alliance-NY, and continued CPR training. We trained almost 200 members through these two opportunities offered in Nepali and Tibetan. We also grew the leadership and skills of nine peer educators for the nanny training, building member leaders that will co-facilitate future nanny training. We look forward to expanding these training and building new facilitators in 2020.  

Community Accountability with Employment Agencies  

The domestic worker membership engaged in a community accountability campaign with two popular employment agencies in Queens, notorious for ill practices. This mini-campaign was led by our Domestic Worker Fellow Rukmani and who co-facilitated four sessions directly with the employment agency owners. Sixty members in total attended these sessions and used the space to express their concerns, as well as engage in direct dialogue with agencies on how they could do better. This mini-campaign ended in a collective process where workers developed recommendations, and this year, they will present these recommendations to the agency directly. 

Advocating for Further Protections & Dignity in New York City

Our team testified and mobilized in New York City for Intro 330, which would include domestic workers in the NYC Human Rights Law protections. We also worked with the Public Advocate’s office and the Mayor’s office to rally for the Paid Personal Time bill and collected stories of workers in support of the legislation. We will continue to fight to ensure our workers receive paid personal time in 2020. We also worked with the Public Advocate’s office and the Mayor’s office to rally for the Paid Personal Time bill and collected stories of workers in support of the legislation. We will continue to fight to ensure our workers receive paid personal time in 2020.

Arts & Activism – Project Luz Photo Project

Led by our Trafficking Survivor Members, we partnered with artist Sol Aramendi as part of “Project Luz,” a project to empower domestic workers to show and tell their own stories through photography. Eight members and one member’s daughter participated in a multi-day photography class series and produced photos that were on display at the Queens Museum, as part of the Workers Studio – El Co-op for several weeks. 
Watch a video about Project Luz here.

Raising the Stories of Caregivers Nationwide

In February, our Domestic Worker Organizer Namrata Pradhan was featured in a New York Times Magazine story about domestic worker organizing, “Out of the Shadows.” Read the piece here.

Namrata was also interviewed in Yahoo News about her transition from being a lawyer in Nepal to working as a domestic worker in the United States. Read her interview here.

This is just a snapshot of our domestic worker organizing. Support our work moving into 2020 by donating to Adhikaar to help us sustain and grow our work. Step up your game and become a monthly donor for $25 a month for the next year and get the coveted Adhikaar sweatshirt.