Around the Institute

Getting the Recipe Right for Domestic Workers and Employers

February 4, 2013

In the sixth installation of the Aspen Institute’s Reinventing Low-Wage series: Ideas That Can Work for Employees, Employers and the Economy, a panel of experts convened to speak about Home Economics: A Discussion about the Unregulated World of Domestic Work. The Women’s Foundation of California President and CEO Judy Patrick, Arizona State University Professor of Justice Studies and Social Inquiry Mary Romero, National Domestic Workers Alliance organizer and former domestic worker Barbara Young and National Domestic Workers Alliance Director Ai-Jen Poo explored both the progress made and abuses still found in the arena of the domestic professions.

One of the US’s fastest growing industries, these jobs play an integral role in many of America’s households, though its workers often face striking challenges in wage allocation and working conditions. Poo explained “as much as it is a Wild West for workers, it can feel that way for employers.” Believing that employers want to “do the right thing,” in the clip below, she offers the harsh reality facing many in this workforce. 

Citing successful advocacy work done in New York and inroads made in California, Poo sees a future where “healthy homes and good workforces go hand in hand.” She offered the resource for those looking to adopt standards for both domestic employers and employees. 

This series is presented by the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program. Watch the full discussion and more from this series.