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Inventory of the Household Workers' Rights Records, 1982 - 1985 (continuing)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Household Workers' Rights Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1982 - 1985 (continuing)
    Accession number: 1987/005
    Creator: Household Workers' Rights
    Extent: .5 cubic feet
    Repository: San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
    San Francisco, California 94132
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Household Workers' Rights Records, 1987/005, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.

    Access Points

    Industrial Welfare Commission - health
    Maupin, Joyce - housekeeping
    minimum wage
    minority women
    non-toxic cleaning
    sexual harassment


    The files of the Household Workers' Rights were placed in the Labor Archives and Research Center in January 1987 by Joyce Maupin the main staff person. The group is a Bay Area non-profit women's association.


    Household Workers' Rights was organized March 1979 by employee members of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Board # 15. In 1976, the IWC had first covered household workers with benefits such as lunch breaks, overtime pay, and reporting time pay (household worker reports to place of employment but is locked out and thus unable to work.) Because of the nature and isolation of household work, law enforcement was problematic. Household Wrokers' Rights, originally a Union WAGE project, attempted to alleviate some of the problems which were faced by the workers, mostly women and two-thirds of them minority women.
    Their first program had three points emphasizing legal rights: 1) to get employment agencies to advise workers and employers of laws; 2) to provide legal assistance to workers when necessary; and 3) to draw up contracts which could be presented at the time of hire. This contract included legal requirements of Wage Order # 15, sick leave, vacation pay and holiday pay.
    When Union WAGE disbanded in 1982, Household Workers' Rights continued on its own. In January 1984, Household Workers' Rights became a membership organization with an elected board and member participation in the decision making. At that time the group organized an employment referral service. A non-toxic environmental housecleaning service was offered, in addition to sponsoring conferences, compiling a chart in Sanish and English on alternative non-toxic clearners and conducting workshops on non-toxic cleaning. At the time of this writing (June 1987), a newsletter is being published every two months.
    In January 1986, the group divided due to financial problems and ideological differences. Only a small number of women, operating out of an office in Berkeley, continued to concern themselves with a non-toxic cleaning service, putting out the newsletter and maintaining a referral service.
    In addition to Joyce Maupin, who has done much of the organizing, fundraising and work on the newsletter, Regina Ryerson has been the group's non-toxic expert and Lucia Diaz has been responsible for Spanish outreach and translation.

    Scope and Content

    These files reflect the concerns of Household Workers' Rights. The questionnaire, modeled after a survey by the Women's Occupational Health Resource Center in New York, delves into the specific problems faced by household workers. Information includes womens' ages, their children's ages, childcare concerns, length of time household work has been performed and other jobs held. Using diagrams of the human body on which to point out health concerns, this survey inquires about job injuries, aches and skin problems. Other subjects mentioned are flu, depression, over-tiredness, medical insurance and sexual harassment. There are 170 responses to this 1982 survey; 40 of which are in Spanish.
    In the newsletters, information is given regarding household workers in other countries, alternative non-toxic cleaners, the minimum wage hearings and legal aspects relating to household workers. One issue (April 1983), contains a sample contract. In 1986, the newsletter title changed from Household Workers' Rights, to Housecleaners News, a reflection of an organizational division.
    The inactive registration forms record information for the referral service. This information includes names (which researchers are required to keep anonymous), type of work, and desired pay, additional skills such as CPR or animal care, whether the applicants speak English, whether they have transportation and how far they would travel, what pet peeves and problems they encounter in household work and whether they are aware of their rights.
    Nineteen photographs from the early 1980's have been removed and placed in the Archive's photograph collection. Subjects include: the Union WAGE ten year celebration; organizational meetings and parties; a February 1984 meeting with Debra Dadd, author of a book on non-toxic alternatives; a demonstration at Oakland City Hall; the Bay Area Labor Theatre; and a Black Repertory benefit.

    Related Collections

    Union WAGE, Labor Archives & Research Center, SFSU