A certain romance colors our image of the house servant of yore. In fare from Downton Abbeyto Hollywood’s The Butler, they’re depicted as spectacles of starched traditionalism, deference and obsessive manners, even as they navigate unspoken class and racial faultlines. Though household labor has evolved from its rigid historical forms, a new chapter of the period drama for the era of globalization has emerged in New York’s rarefied diplomatic scene, with curious case of Sangeeta Richard, the domestic worker of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
|By: Michelle Chen Wednesday January 8, 2014 7:11 pm|
|By: Michelle Chen Sunday August 18, 2013 12:30 pm|
For many seniors, growing older means facing new kinds of stress—such as fragile health, a tight budget on a fixed income, or the travails of living alone.
And for the people who care for the aging, the stress can be just as severe.
|By: Michelle Chen Wednesday April 17, 2013 11:00 am|
In Argentina and Brazil, a sector of workers that has long labored invisibly is moving out of the shadows and gaining legal protections. Their counterparts in Jamaica and Uruguay are sparking a new political consciousness from the friction between tradition and globalization. Around the world, private homes are becoming labor’s latest battleground as domestic workers stake out their rights.
Despite stretching into every region of the world, domestic work has historically been excluded from conventional labor laws, regardedly merely as “women’s work.” A breakthrough came in 2011 with the passage of the groundbreaking Convention 189 on domestic workers’ rights by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN special agency for labor rights. The convention lays out principles for fair treatment at work, including the right to a fair labor contract and a safe work environment, freedom from exploitation and coercion, and legal recourse against abusive employers.
|By: RH Reality Check Tuesday March 5, 2013 10:50 am|
Congress needs to understand something important as it works to pass a new immigration law: Neither a border nor even the threat of detention can keep a determined parent from trying to reach a child who needs her care.
To ignore this fact, when we have the opportunity to create an immigration system that truly meets the needs of our families and communities, would not only be a lost opportunity for good public policymaking, but also would put countless lives at risk.
|By: RH Reality Check Sunday January 13, 2013 7:40 am|
This case had long been the concern of the international community, not only because the death penalty is inherently cruel and inhumane and should be abolished, but also because there are reasons to believe Rizana Nafeek had been forced into making a confession — which she later retracted — and that the trial against her was anything but fair.
|By: Michelle Chen Sunday July 15, 2012 4:00 pm|
After years of working a thankless job, more than 1,500 home healthcare aides in New York got some long overdue recognition this week, along with a $1 million paycheck in a landmark legal settlement.
The lawsuit involved home health aides working for a private provider of care to seniors and people with disabilities in New York City. The main allegations centered on a typical problem in the home care workforce–getting shorted on wages and overtime pay, thanks to huge gaps in labor protections. McMillan’s Home Care Agency, according to the suit, “consistently underpaid its workers and never paid overtime, despite frequently working more than 60 hours per week.”