The Safe and Just Cleaners Project has an action-oriented research approach.
Therefore, our team is committed to supporting policy and educational initiatives that reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals found on cleaning and disinfecting products while working towards improving household cleaners working conditions and their lives at large.
Here you will find the current campaigns that household cleaners are working on.
Public Health Education Initiatives
Our team is currently working on a public health education campaign. We aim to improve work practices to reduce exposures for workers, while supporting institutional capacity building and policy change.
This educational campaign includes a series of workshops and activities focused on building awareness about environmental toxins, reducing exposure to harmful household cleaning chemicals, and striving for transformation in workplaces and personal health and well-being, as household cleaners and women.
Activities will consist of learning about the history of domestic worker organizing, what to look for in cleaning and disinfecting product labels, leadership skills and self-care. Some of these workshops are facilitated by partner organizations as Women Voices for the Earth, Children’s Environmental Health Network, and collaborations with Make the Road New York committees.
This educational campaign is supported by the Cancer Free Economy Network and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Current policy initiatives
Our study also aims to support policy change to improve the health and well-being of household cleaners.
Our study provides compelling data to support two current legislative campaigns: #FundExcludedWorkers and #Coverage4All. These proposed New York State programs and initiatives would improve household cleaners’ lives and others in New York State by addressing the disproportionate economic and health impacts from COVID-19. [See links above to campaign websites]
The #Coverage4All campaign is advocating for health coverage for COVID conditions, an essential need for household cleaners given our study findings that 49% of them lack any health coverage. Being uninsured is linked to higher rates of chronic disease, as individuals without coverage are more likely to avoid seeking necessary medical care for fear of the associated costs.
Our study also found that household cleaners experienced musculoskeletal pain as well as skin, respiratory, and mental health problems. Access to healthcare should not be a privilege but a right for all.
#Coverage4All is currently advocating for New York State to allocate $13 million to create a temporary state-funded Essential Plan bill (A1585/S2549) for New Yorkers who are excluded from eligibility for coverage because of their immigration status, starting with those most directly affected by the pandemic, like household cleaners.
The #FundExcludedWorkers legislative initiative demands New York state legislators to tax the wealthy and urgently create an emergency fund to provide unemployment insurance and pandemic assistance to workers, regardless of immigration status or self-employment status.
The immigrant Latinx household cleaners who participated in our study are less likely to be eligible for state unemployment benefits due to immigration status and informal domestic work history. The drastic recent job loss in this workforce has left many unable to pay their rent or feed themselves and their families, despite providing frontline services cleaning people’s homes. The #FundExcludedWorkers Coalition, driven by 200 community organizations, highly recommend urgently pass the “Worker bailout fund,” bill (S4543) to create a $3.5 billion emergency relief fund for excluded workers, like the cleaners in this study.
Visit the Make the Road New York Facebook page for updates about local actions.
We look forward to connecting with you!
Contact us to learn more about upcoming meetings. Your information is private, and only the staff of the three partner organizations of the Safe and Just Cleaners project will have access to it.