Today’s News & Commentary
Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that domestic workers must be included in the country’s social security system, which also provides publicly funded healthcare and free, government-run daycare. There are over two million domestic workers in Mexico. These workers often earn around $400/month, which is less than one-third of the nation’s average per capita income. In its decision, the Mexican Supreme Court stated that the exclusion of domestic workers from social security results in discrimination, especially given that nine out of ten domestic workers are women. Marcelina Bautista, a domestic worker union leader, praised this ruling and emphasized that domestic workers are still fighting for “contracts, shorter workdays and better wages.” Bautista also also said that the new film Roma, which tells the story of an Indigenous domestic worker in Mexico City, has helped push the issue of domestic workers’ rights to the forefront of the national conversation.
Planned Parenthood workers at clinics around the country have accused the organization of discriminating against pregnant employees by declining to hire or promote pregnant job candidates and/or denying pregnant workers rest breaks and other medically necessary accommodations. Workers have also accused Planned Parenthood of retaliating against employees for taking (unpaid) maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Most Planned Parenthood offices/clinics do not provide paid parental leave; the organization is currently “conducting a review” to determine the costs of providing this benefit. Planned Parenthood leaders cite the organization’s precarious finances — conservative lawmakers consistently work to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding — to explain their lack of paid parental leave.
Natalie Shure writes in In These Times about divisions in the New York labor movement over the New York Health Act, a state-level single-payer healthcare bill. Shure explains, “while unions comprised of nurses and healthcare workers have numbered among single payer’s most dedicated backers, many other [unions] maintain relative neutrality.” Several NYC municipal unions have raised concerns about the NYHA, while several more conservative unions — including the State Building & Construction Trades Council and the Firefighters Association — outright oppose the bill. Shure explains that in the 1940s, unions advocated strongly for universal healthcare, but they later de-emphasized this policy goal after successfully securing members’ healthcare through private union contracts. Nevertheless, unions played a major role in organizing for Medicare’s passage in 1965.
The Houston Chronicle wrote a feature story on the Fe y Justicia Worker Center. Through its esquinas (corners) program, the Center meets with day laborers at sites across the city where these workers gather to pick up jobs. The Worker Center volunteers provide workers with food, water, and safety supplies. Volunteers also educate workers on their rights and on resources available to them in case of wage theft, workplace injury, or other workplace violations. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, day laborers were particularly at risk of exposure to mold and other environmental hazards.