Notes from the Storm: Black Immigrant Domestic Workers in the Time of COVID-19

June 20, 2020 · by Alvarez Porter Group · Filed Under Choices, Featured, Off the Shelf · Leave a Comment

by MARC BAYARD & KIMBERLY FREEMAN BROWN

Black immigrant domestic workers are at the epicenter of three converging storms—the pandemic, the resulting economic depression, and structural racism.

Intersectional identities such as Black, immigrant, woman, and low-wage workers make these essential workers some of the most invisible and vulnerable workers in our country.

The Institute for Policy Studies’ (IPS) Black Worker Initiative, in partnership with the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s (NDWA) We Dream in Black program, conducted a survey on May 19-June 6, 2020 of Black immigrant domestic workers in three locations— with data from Massachusetts, Miami-Dade, Florida, and New York, New York— to look at the impact of COVID-19 on Black domestic workers.

Over 800 domestic workers responded to the We Dream in Black Domestic Worker Survey.

As the nation turns toward reopening in the midst of racial reckoning, the experiences of Black immigrant domestic workers show all that we must reject and all that we must build to become a safer, stronger, and more just country. We must ensure federal relief efforts reach Black domestic workers, and that they are at the center of our economic recovery efforts and plans to rebuild.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • 70 percent of the Black immigrant domestic workers surveyed have either lost their jobs (45 percent) or received reduced hours and pay (25 percent). Among the three locations surveyed, Miami-Dade has been hit hardest, with 93 percent of respondents either having been terminated (83 percent) or working fewer hours with less pay (9 percent).
  • 65 percent of respondents said that they are fearful or at risk of eviction or utility shut off in the next three months. Among the three locations surveyed, Miami-Dade workers are most vulnerable, with 90 percent of respondents reporting being at risk of eviction or having their utilities shut off.
  • 49 percent are fearful of seeking assistance or resources from the federal, state, or local government due to their immigration status.
  • 73 percent have not received personal protective equipment (PPE) from their employers.
  • 51 percent of respondents reported that they do not have medical insurance. Miami-Dade workers are worse off, with 85 percent reporting that they have no medical insurance.
  • 25 percent have experienced or live with someone who has experienced COVID-19 symptoms. Exposure to risk is lower for undocumented workers (9 percent) and higher for documented workers (32 percent). In Massachusetts, 50 percent of domestic workers report exposure.

For full report, click here or follow this URL:

https://ips-dc.org/black-immigrant-domestic-workers-covid-19/

 

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