House cleaners, caretakers and nannies gather for first domestic workers’ conference in Houston

Style Magazine Newswire | 11/5/2018, 2:34 p.m.
Faith and Justice Worker Center is hosting a domestic workers’ conference in Houston, calling nannies, caretakers, and house cleaners to ...

HOUSTON, TX, November 1, 2018 -- Faith and Justice Worker Center is hosting a domestic workers’ conference in Houston, calling nannies, caretakers, and house cleaners to join in a historic gathering.

There are approximately 3.4 million domestic workers in Texas, according to a 2017 report by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and they face unique obstacles and labor abuses in their workplace. Theft of wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, and a lack of benefits or job security in the event of illness or injury are common problems for domestic workers.

“Domestic work makes all other work possible. If it wasn’t for domestic workers caring for our children, grandparents, and homes, we couldn’t do any other work,” said Marianela Acuña Arreaza, executive director for Faith and Justice Worker Center. “However, when you’re working in a private home, you are isolated and unprotected, without coworkers or HR. With this conference, we are opening a space where domestic workers can honor and support each other.”

The Houston Domestic Worker Conference will include a panel of domestic workers, including a board member from Faith and Justice Worker Center, a labor trafficking survivor, and a feminist immigrant rights activist. The gathering will create an opportunity to start a local association of domestic workers and lay groundwork to support neighborhood-based organizing for larger policy change in the future.

The conference will also provide attendees with information on how to report labor trafficking anonymously and what to do if they suspect someone is being trafficked. Labor trafficking is rampant in domestic work, and Houston ranks among the top US cities for trafficking. Texas has an estimated 234,000 workers in trafficking situations.

Since the beginning of the year, Faith and Justice Worker Center has aided local law enforcement in rescues of three labor trafficking victims and is facilitating an ongoing survivor support group. In 2011, the Worker Center founded a peer-support network of domestic workers called La Colmena (The Beehive) in which members have become leaders in advocating for workers’ dignity and justice in Houston.

What: First Houston Domestic Worker Conference

When: Saturday, November 10, 9AM

Where: Dominican Sisters of Houston, 6501 Almeda Rd, Houston, TX 77021

Who: Domestic workers: nannies, house cleaners, caretakers of the elderly and folks with disabilities, and other low-wage workers within the home.