Informal Economy

Domestic Workers: Healing, Growing, Taking Action

As long-time union activists helping domestic workers form unions and get a voice on the job, Andrea Del Carmen Morales Pérez and Librada Maciel found themselves fighting burnout—from stress, from nonstop work and from unrecognized trauma they carried with them for decades after the abuse they experienced cleaning homes and caring for employers’ families. But… [READ MORE]

Honduran Domestic Workers Join Newly Formed Union

Domestic workers in Honduras increasingly are exercising their rights on the job in the country, where they have few labor law protections and so are especially vulnerable to abuse. More than 100 workers recently joined SINTRAHO (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadoras del Hogar), National Domestic Workers Union, which in October became the first legally registered domestic… [READ MORE]

With Unions, Informal Economy Workers Gain Rights

Taxi drivers in Ghana, tortilla vendors in Honduras and Asian domestic workers in countries across the Gulf region—all are part of the world’s informal economy, comprising 2 billion workers or 61 percent of the global workforce. Although informal economy workers create more than one-third of the world’s gross national product, most are either not covered… [READ MORE]

Landmark Agreement for Kenya’s Informal Workers

Three trade unions representing Kenya’s formal-sector workers in food, health, education and metals signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with informal worker associations in their respective sectors yesterday. The agreements formalize efforts by affiliates of the Central Organization of Trade Unions-Kenya (COTU-K) to organize workers in Kenya’s outsized and growing informal sector and make union representation… [READ MORE]

New Domestic Worker Organization in Ukraine

In Ukraine, domestic workers formed the country’s first organization for domestic workers, including childcare workers, this week. The organization’s formation is part of a growing global movement to assert the rights of this vast, mostly hidden and  primarily female workforce, as laid out in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189, Decent Work for Domestic Workers. The… [READ MORE]

Domestic Workers in Mexico Win Landmark Rights Law

Legislation requiring written contracts, paid vacation and annual bonuses for domestic workers passed Mexico’s House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The landmark law, which also prohibits employers from hiring domestic workers younger than age 15, requires employers provide at least a day-and-a-half off each… [READ MORE]

Kuwait Union Opens Doors to All Migrant Workers

The Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) this week celebrated the relaunch of a migrant worker office within its headquarters to help address legal cases related to wage theft or other forms of exploitation brought by migrant workers, including domestic workers, in the country. Two-thirds of Kuwait’s 4.5 million residents are migrant workers, including approximately 660,000… [READ MORE]

Marie Constant: Empowering Domestic Workers in Lebanon

Marie Constant has worked as a domestic worker in Lebanon since 1997. Originally from Madagascar, Constant has been fortunate to have a good employer. But most migrant domestic workers are not so lucky. “In general, domestic workers [must] work from morning until evening with no specific break time and no holidays,” she says, speaking in French… [READ MORE]

Zimbabwe: How Democracy and Unions are Intertwined

  • June 21, 2018
  • Shayna Greene

Wage theft and other forms of economic injustice are among the major factors holding Zimbabwe back from a democratic transition, says Imani Countess, Africa regional program director for the Solidarity Center. Countess spoke at a recent panel discussion in Washington, D.C., “Assessing Zimbabwe’s Election and Prospects for a Democratic Transition,” organized by the National Endowment… [READ MORE]