Careworkers Organizing Challenges, Strategies and Successes. Part I

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00-17:30
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
RC02 Economy and Society (host committee)
RC44 Labor Movements

Language: English

Immigrants from Asia, North Africa, South America and Latin America are crossing national borders to work in private homes as nannies, elderly care givers and domestics around the world, including in Thailand, China, Lebanon, Malaysia, Canada, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the USA. 
Countries employing immigrant domestic workers establish the paths of entry and working conditions. These paths include contracts and special visas, as well as having to work as an undocumented or vulnerable as a victim of human smuggling. Government policies regulate the time working outside the country and vary in their attempts to monitor conditions. Undocumented workers employed as domestics include migrants who have crossed national borders without authorization, migrants with overstayed visas, violated contract arrangements by finding another employer or working without authorization.
Limited visas and quotas for domestic workers in numerous countries block immigrant women from gaining lawful employment and many turn to the underground economy as nannies, careworkers and private household workers. Workers without authorization may experience limited movement within and across borders, which may result in long separations of family members. 
Yet, in the face of these obstacles, these workers are organizing to improve their working conditions in the global economy. How do challenges differ for workers confronted with the global hierarchies that serve to establish different forms of vulnerability and inequality? What strategies are used among and between immigrant groups away from their homeland? What forms of resistance are introduced in this new era of organizing? 
To investigate the challenges, strategies and successes of immigrant women careworkers organizing, this session draws on recent research informed by the renewed efforts presented by the 100th Session of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conference that concluded with the adoption of the Convention on Domestic Workers, which recognized the “significant contribution of domestic workers to the global economy” that is “undervalued and invisible, and is mainly carried out by women and girls, many of whom are migrants or members of disadvantaged communities.” 
While many more countries have not signed it, what impact has this international recognition had on local organizing efforts? How do communities and organizations relate to the local, national and global organizing efforts? How are the conditions and strategies similar or different in these different sites of organizing?
Session Organizers:
Mary ROMERO, Arizona State University, USA, Heidi GOTTFRIED, Wayne State University, USA and Kim VOSS, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Franca VAN HOOREN, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Mary ROMERO, Arizona State University, USA
Chances and Challenges of Migrant Care and Domestic Workers Organizing: Experiences from Germany
Kyoko SHINOZAKI, Osnabrück University, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies, Germany
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