A recent national survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the University of Illinois - Chicago found that 67% of live-in domestic workers make less than their state’s mandated minimum wage and 65% are lacking any sort of health insurance. This is a largely unorganized, unregulated industry that many Americans rely on for vital help. This morning we probed into this issue with our guests Myrla Baldonado and Elisa Ringholm.
FILMS: Taylor Chain II: A Story of Collective Bargaining, The Last Pullman Car, Taylor Chain I: A Story in a Union Local, HSA Hospital Strike ‘75, UE/Wells, What’s Happening at Local 70?, Where’s I. W. Abel?, As Goes Janesville
As unions declined, so have wages for most people. The Center for American Progress found in a study that as union membership decreases, so does the so-called middle class’s share of national income. The middle class has long served as a buffer between those at the top and those at the bottom. As long as the majority of Americans were comfortable, had decent jobs and pensions, and could send their kids to school, the wealthy could stay wealthy and the poor were pretty much just ignored. And that middle class was built through decades of union agitation, not just for higher wages and health care benefits, but for the eight-hour day, for the weekend, and for safety in the workplace and some job security.