NDWA centers the voice and leadership of women of color in everything we do. Our Organizing and Leadership programs were created to cultivate and train new leaders for our movement, and amplify the voices of domestic workers. As our nation’s demographics and economy continue to change, public policy gains that improve life for domestic workers, women of color and low-wage workers will be increasingly important. It is imperative our movement is lead by the true experts in this field: the domestic workers themselves.
From the Atlanta washerwoman’s strike in 1881 to the original National Domestic Workers’ Union of America in the 1960s and 70s led by Dorothy Bolden, NDWA is proud to carry on the tradition of organizing with Black women and Black communities.
We Dream In Black aims to strengthen and expand our base of Black domestic workers and amplify their historical and current contributions to the broader domestic worker movement. Building upon the work of NDWA’s Atlanta-based chapter, as well as the organizing of Afro-Caribbean workers in New York City, we now seek to further develop our organizing of Black domestic workers, support the leadership of Black members, and implement strategies that are culturally relevant and authentic to Black domestic workers. Support the We Dream In Black project.
Gig Economy organizing is working to understand, support, and improve the conditions of care workers who are finding employment in the “gig economy.” Similar to Uber and Lyft, who have become common for on-demand driving services, employers are using online platforms to find and hire house cleaners and nannies. As more workers find employment through these platforms, whether it be quick and on-demand “gigs,” jobs to supplement their income, or as a primary source of employment, NDWA wants to make sure we can understand and build power with the domestic workers that are engaging with platforms that are transforming the care work industry.
Our homecare worker organizing builds the voice and leadership of one of the fastest growing workforces in the country. By providing crucial support services, homecare workers ensure that seniors and people with disabilities can live independently in their own homes. Despite their important work, homecare workers don't make enough to feed their families; face high rates of injury on the job; and lack healthcare and paid leave. Homecare workers must be the leaders who redefine this work and make these jobs high-quality ones. We also respect and collaborate with the families and individuals who employ homecare workers, and see our struggles as deeply connected.
SOL is building a strong foundation for the domestic worker movement in the U.S. Through SOL’s innovative trainings and methodology, domestic workers are equipped with the skills to lead in the broader progressive movement – one that has historically bypassed them.
SOL is an intensive, transformative leadership development and organizational capacity-building process that has trained more than 75 domestic worker leaders and staff representing 25 NDWA affiliates, including 16 emerging domestic worker organizations. As a result, the capacity-building of our affiliates has grown dramatically. An estimated 3,000 domestic workers have joined participating groups in advocating for their human rights and the recognition of the inherent dignity in their labor.
The Dorothy Bolden Fellowship is a program inspired by Ai-jen Poo’s MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award in 2014. The MacArthur Fellowship award was a tremendous honor, recognizing the important role domestic workers and caregivers play in shaping the growing movement for equity and democracy in America. The funds from the MacArthur Fellowship are used to to support the continuous development of new leaders among domestic workers and caregivers for our movement to strengthen this work and its impact.
This fellowship seeks to nurture the largely untapped leadership potential among women working in the care sector, and the unique contributions of that leadership. By developing the strategic capacity of women most directly impacted by many of our social and economic policies, we are supporting a democratized model of leadership that will result in bolder solutions and the creation of a new, more inclusive legacy of opportunity for the 21st century.