Things That Matter

AOC Is Teaming Up With Other Congresswomen To Give Domestic Workers Equal Employee Rights And We Are Here For This

After over a decade of lobbying, The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) work is on the verge of paying off. This week, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced legislation that would establish the first-ever National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

The bill would effectively include domestic workers as worthy of the same rights as other American workers–including “paid overtime, safe and healthy working conditions, meal and rest breaks, earned sick time, and freedom for workplace harassment,” according to NDWA.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal is leading the charge to ensure this bill is passed into law.

Credit: @RepJayapal / Twitter

“Did you know most domestic workers are not covered by federal anti-discrimination and sexual harassment laws? Well we’re pushing back to change that,” tweets Rep. Jayapal. “My #DomesticWorkersBillofRights will give domestic workers the protections they deserve!”

The bill would grant basic worker’s rights to 2.5 million people in the U.S.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Of those 2.5 million people, 91 percent are women, mostly women of color. Given that domestic workers aren’t required to be paid even minimum wage, and that their work doesn’t include benefits like health insurance, it’s important to make sure every worker earns a living wage. According to NDWA, 70 percent of domestic workers are paid less than $13 an hour.

The workers who do the heavy lifting in the shadows of our economy may finally be recognized as worthy of rights.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

NDWA has worked hard over the years to make it easier for domestic workers (home care workers, nannies and house cleaners). They even created a web app that would allow clients to contribute to a PTO and benefit fund for domestic workers. This bill would ensure that the government is advocating for every worker, so that domestic workers don’t have to fight so hard to advocate for themselves.

Members of the group broke off to meet with their representative.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“We had a powerful meeting with @timkaine where our members in Virginia shared stories about abuse and exploitation in the workplace,” the organization tweeted. “Every single worker deserves to work safely and with dignity. Onward to a National #DomesticWorkersBillOfRights!”

The group met with AOC, who opened up about how the bill would help “little girls like [her].”

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

“My mom was a domestic worker,” she tells the group. “As a child I grew up reading books on the staircases of other people’s homes, and doing homework on other people’s dinner tables, because my mom was pursuing domestic work so that I could go on field trips and have a future.”

For AOC, this bill is about reparations for a group of people who often go unseen in this world.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

She praised the group for their advocacy, saying, “When you all are fighting for this, you’re fighting for little girls like me. You’re putting a shirt on a little girl like me’s back. I can’t tell you the reparations it has to see people who are used to being unseen and that’s what this bill does.”

The group also live-tweeted a conversation between several domestic workers and Rep. Jayapal.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

The stories were shocking. A nanny named Thaty shared her experience, saying that “being a nanny takes so much hard work. I don’t know many people who can handle caring for 5 kids under 5 years old! But our work is still considered unskilled. We need to bring our work out of the shadows — so everyone can know what we do and how hard we work.”

Jayapal touched on something deeper than granting legal rights–this issue is about overdue respect.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

So many families rely on domestic workers to come home to a clean home, safe and cared-for children, and more. They’re often not seen as employees but rather, “the help.”

But “The Help” encounter medical issues and injuries while on the job, without any legal protections.

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

Domestic workers are not included in federal protections for workers injured while on the job. So when Sylvia shared that she never fully recovered from a bad fall on the job, and though it impedes her ability to continue to work, she just has to grimace through it.

That same Sylvia is an inspiration. She told Rep. Jayapal that her experience “meeting workers who felt too vulnerable at work to raise their own voices forced me to be brave enough to raise my own voice, for me and for them. That’s why I’m part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.”

We’re rooting for you!

Credit: @domesticworkers / Twitter

As Latinos, so many of our own moms, tías or abuelas have driven this industry that, frankly, serves as the backbone to our economy. They offer support to middle and upper-class families who have money but don’t have time, and their work supports our families. Time to give some respect.

AOC Takes to Twitter to Defend Taylor Swift Against Greedy Music Execs Trying to Keep Her From Using Her Own Music

Entertainment

AOC Takes to Twitter to Defend Taylor Swift Against Greedy Music Execs Trying to Keep Her From Using Her Own Music

@mayadejendela / Twitter

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has used her short career to be a champion of many worthy causes. Before she even entered the political arena, she visited embattled communities like Standing Rock and Flint, Michigan in order to learn more about the environmental crises taking place. She’s since turned that environmentalism into support for the Green New Deal, a legislation that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. AOC has also been a vocal opponent of the Trump administration’s border wall and their oppressive take on immigration. On top of these important causes, the representative from New York is a great advocate for women’s rights. 

It’s with this advocacy in mind that AOC took to Twitter on Friday evening to tweet her support for Taylor Swift during the artist’s latest professional battle. 

Twitter / @taylorswift13

The defense comes from a Thursday evening tweet from Swift. In the tweet, the musician shares that, though she is being named “Artist of the Decade” by the American Music Awards, there’s a damper to her happy news. According to Swift, issues with Big Machine Records’ music executives were keeping her from being able to have access to all of the songs previous to her latest album, “Lover.” 

The two execs, Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun, own the masters to Swift’s earlier works and, as such, can control whether or not to she’s allowed to use them. According to the deal she signed with Republic Records and Universal Music Group in 2018, Swift is not allowed to re-record her earlier songs until 2020. It’s important to note that neither of these men had anything to do with the creation of these songs.

“I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show,” the tweet read. “Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that they would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”

Additionally, Swift explained that she had an upcoming documentary about her life in the works with Netflix. 

Twitter / @THR

Just like with the American Music Awards, the musician shared that the executives were again refusing to allow her to use old clips of her performances or any new renditions of these old songs. The note went on to request that fans let Braun and Borchetta know that they’re Team Taylor all the way.

Borchetta reportedly told Swift’s team that she could in fact use these earlier songs on two conditions. One, the musician would loose the right to re-record these songs for the year of 2020. The second condition was that Swift had to stop publicly discussing Braun and Borchetta. 

This is when AOC got into the mix with her response to Swift’s tweet. 

Twitter / @AOC

A longstanding opponent of major corporations, the representative likened the situation with Swift’s music rights to private equity groups. AOC responded to the music controversy with a call to action demanding that the music executives be “reigned in.”

“Private equity groups’ predatory practices actively hurt millions of Americans,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Their leveraged buyouts have destroyed the lives of retail workers across the country, scrapping 1+ million jobs. Now, they’re holding Taylor Swift’s own music hostage.”

If you’re thinking that AOC’s support is proof that she’s a closet Swiftie, it’s actually much deeper than that.

Twitter / @AOC

Since AOC is a champion for middle and low income America, it might seem unexpected for her to back Swift who is a multimillionaire. However, the musician’s problem is one that the representative has been fighting against. As Ocasio-Cortez explained on Twitter, millions of Americans have been impacted by private equality firms. These firms buy businesses and liquidate them in order to squeeze out all of the profitability they can without concern for their employees. This results in employees being laid off, having to make due with reduced pay and/or hours and losing benefits like insurance and severance packages. 

By relating the two problems together, AOC was able to make a series of tweets about an important policy go viral and reach a huge audience. In fact, her initial tweet in response to Swift earned nearly 80K likes and almost 15K retweets. 

Whether it was thanks to Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s attention or the public pressure, this story now has a satisfying ending. 

Twitter / @THR

The music execs at Swift’s former record label and Dick Clark Productions, producer of the American Music Awards, have come to an agreement. In the press release issued by Big Machine Records, details of the agreement were laid out so all of the label’s artists are cleared for performance. 

No word yet if AOC will be tuning into Swift’s American Music Award appearance but hopefully she knows that she helped to make that performance a reality. 

Indigenous People In Guatemala Marched On Their Capitol In Support Of Evo Morales

Things That Matter

Indigenous People In Guatemala Marched On Their Capitol In Support Of Evo Morales

evoespueblo / Twitter

South America’s poorest country, Bolivia, is in the midst of a political crisis, and Guatemala’s indigenous people are marching in solidarity with ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. After the Guatemalan government joined the United States in recognizing extreme right self-appointed Jeanine Anez as the interim president of Bolivia, Guatemala’s indigenous people expressed their outrage in an organized protest. Hundreds of indigenous people marched in Guatemala’s capital Thursday to protest the change of government, which they view as a coup d’etat of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. With a “Brother Evo, Guatemala is with you” banner in hand, the protesters marched toward a heavily guarded US embassy. The next day, Morales announced that he won’t be “taking part in new elections.”

Before Morales rose to the presidency, he was a campesino activist, representing indigenous traditions and customs under attack by the US government. “We are repudiating the discriminatory and racist coup d’etat that took place in Bolivia,” said Mauro Vay, march organizer and head of Guatemala’s Rural Development Committee. 

Protesters proudly waved the wiphala flags, an indigenous symbol of solidarity.

CREDIT: @UKREDREVOLUTION / TWITTER

This man held an image that told the story of a thousand words. As a child, Evo Morales’ family were subsistence farmers, which allowed him to enjoy a basic education. He later moved to grow coca, the raw plant used to make cocaine. During the U.S.’ “War on Drugs,” coca farmers were under attack. Morales rose to defend the campesinos from what he called an imperialist violation of indigenous culture. His protests may have led to several arrests, but his notoriety grew to elect him to Congress as the leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party. 

In Paraguay, Bolivian ex-patriates went up against the police to rehang the wiphala flag at the Bolivian embassy.

CREDIT: @WILL_J_COSTA / TWITTER

Several indigenous residents of Paraguay arrived at the Bolivian embassy to hang the Wiphala flag, which was reportedly taken down. They faced police resistance but eventually succeeded. The next day, the flag was removed. 

In 2005, Morales ran against former President Carlos Mesa and won, becoming the first indigenous president of Bolivia. 

CREDIT: @BRETGUSTAFSON / TWITTER

Then, it gets murky. By the time his first term was over, MAS rewrote their constitution to lift the one-term limit on presidents. Morales ran for a second term and won. Even though he claimed he wouldn’t run for a third term, Morales claimed the first term didn’t count because it was completed under the old constitution.  So he ran again and won for the third time. In October 2019, Morales ran for his fourth term, and won by a small margin, prompting a recount.

Just 24 hours into the recount, Morales ordered the recount to an end and declared himself president over his opponent, former president Mesa. the Organization of American States (OAS) conducted an audit that flagged the election as possibly fraudulent.

The OAS is not in the service of the people of Latin America, less so the social movements. The OAS is at the service of the North American empire,” Morales later said. Still, protests erupted across the country.

In a quickly developing government coup, military chiefs removed Morales.

CREDIT: @FAFASCHMITT / TWITTER

On Nov. 10, General Williams Kaliman, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, decided, along with other military chiefs, that Morales should step down. Morales tweeted, “I denounce to the world and the Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he is instructed to execute an illegal arrest warrant against me; likewise, violent groups assaulted my home. A coup destroys the rule of law.” He added, “After looting and trying to set fire to my house in Villa Victoria, vandalism groups of the Mesa and Camacho coup docked my home in the Magisterio neighborhood of Cochabamba. I am very grateful to my neighbors, who stopped those raids. A coup destroys peace.”

Mexico offered him asylum and sent a plane to escort Morales to Mexico City.

CREDIT: @EVOESPUEBLO / TWITTER

“This was my first night after leaving the presidency, forced by the coup of Mesa and Camacho with the help of the Police. There I remembered my times as a leader. Very grateful to my brothers from the federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba for providing security and care,” Morales tweeted. Right-wing Christian opponent, Luis Fernando Camacho, also called “Bolivia’s Bolsonaro,” led violent protests against Morales and his Indigenous supporters, burning Bolivia’s Indigenous Wiphala flag. 

Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Argentina have maintained that his removal from office was a coup. The United States, led by a right-wing president, has recognized Bolivia’s interim right-wing president as valid.

Morales announced Friday that he won’t run for president in the reelection “for the sake of democracy.”

CREDIT: @VERSOBOOKS / TWITTER

Morales resigned Sunday after protests left four people dead. “For the sake of democracy, if they don’t want me to take part, I have no problem not taking part in new elections,” Morales told Reuters while remaining in asylum. “I just wonder why there is so much fear of Evo,” he offered.

READ: A US-Backed Opposition Leader Has Declared Herself President Of Bolivia Amid Outrage At Her Comments About Indigenous Bolivians