By Lisa Bendoff
Before I begin discussing the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights (IL DWBR), in the spirit of full disclosure, I must make the following confession: I am just a simple E pluribus unum kind of gal living in a crazy mixed up Bellum omnium contra omnes sorta world. That’s right, I believe in “from the many, one” (coalitions and allyship) over this ugly “war of all against all” that is currently being waged – particularly against those trying to earn a wage. A minimum wage. A living wage.
Disclosure disclosed. Confession confessed. I begin.
It is not every day one is approached with the invitation to become a better human being. When James Povijua, the Campaign Director for the IL Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights came and spoke before JCore, I was extended that very invitation. He began with a brief history of the long fight for domestic workers’ rights in the United states (the struggle stretching back to FDR) and the specific fight here in Illinois. He spoke of the hard, difficult work already achieved by the Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition and the efforts remaining.
What I did not know at the time was that in addition to inviting me to be a better human being, James was also inviting me and the other members of JCore to take several trips down to the state capital. But that was just fine. My unum was all fired up, ready to get on a PluriBus and go down to Springfield to lobby on behalf of the Illinois Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights!
These were good trips to Springfield not only for the successful lobbying that was done on behalf of the IL DWBR – and we were successful – but for the way the members of the different coalitions came to know one another. We came to know each other by our given names and not only our coalition names. We came to know each other and I hope trust one another.
Passage of the IL DWBR is serious. It will determine whether existing laws will be amended to include Domestic Workers. The passage will mean respect, dignity, and humanity. The Illinois Minimum Wage Law. Respect. The Illinois One Day Rest in Seven. Dignity. The Illinois Human Rights Act which provides recourse for sexual harassment in the workplace (often someone’s home). Humanity. How do we exclude Domestic Workers from these basic rights? How can we in the Jewish community allow this? Read the rest of this entry »