Vilverta Etienne

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I worked as a household worker for about 5 years but because of health issues I had to stop working. I like doing household work because I know how to do it, and it is a daily task for me, either at a clients home or my own. I do not like that I was not being paid well enough for the amount of work I was actually doing. My workload constantly increased and I was not being compensated properly. I was unable to negotiate my wages because whenever I asked my requests were brushed to the side. I started off doing household work but then was also tasked with caring for children in the home even though I was not comfortable taking on such a responsibility.

This type of work needs to move from the background and brought to light so that household workers can have laws that protect them. They need to be recognized in the workforce and have fair treatment. One thing I have done to bring change is speak to my friends about the domestic worker groups in Miami and have brought some of them to the meetings to bring awareness to our situation. We talk about fighting for justice, dignity, acknowledgement, and respect for domestic workers.

I would like folks to have more information about household work and to collaborate on solutions. Collaboration takes a lot of time to do well, to build trust and understand each other’s perspectives; find everyone's strengths to identify what each can contribute; keep each other informed and make joint decision while overcoming conflicts.

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