Rising Voices for a New Economy

Rising Voices for a New Economy

Photo courtesy of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Originally featured on GRITtv with Laura Flanders

Last month, thousands of activists from across the country gathered in Washington DC for the National People’s Action Conference. The conference, dubbed “Rising Voices for a New Economy” was an opportunity for activists and organizers from around the country to meet, share their stories and plan strategies for creating an economy based on economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice.

“Mentally, I’m frustrated,” Patricia Fuller, an auto worker shared. “I know I work hard every day, I’m dilligent, I’m dedicated and I deserve a decent wage for an honest day’s work.

Patricia Fuller is part of Michigan United, a campaign to raise the minimum wage in Michigan.

Although the National People’s Action (NPA) conference is an annual event, this year something special happened. On the second day of the conference, NPA Conference participants were joined by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, in an effort to create a united front for economic reform.

“Domestic work has changed in the past ten years. Families want to work you forty or fifty hours,” said Tomeka Gadson, a nanny from Atlanta Georgia. “Some of them don’t even want to pay you minimum wages.”

Recently, the National Domestic Workers Alliance has been engaged in a campaign to pass Domestic Workers Bills of Rights for individual states.

“My vision for domestic work in the future is that we will have bills passed, we will no longer be considered the nanny or “the help,” Gadson added. “It will be a professional position with rights and a more unionized organization.”

But who is going to pass those bills? If history is any judge, passing more progressive legislation like that is going to take changing politics at the local and national level. that’s where NPA’s political organizing campaign comes in and that’s what makes this such an exciting alliance. What next? Domestic workers running for office?

For more coverage from the Rising Voices for a New Economy Conference, read our article at AlterNet. For more on worker organizing, check out our interview with Ana Maria Archila. For more on domestic and care work, see our coverage of the Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights.

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