Part of the Family?

Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights

  • 224 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.25 inches
  • ISBN: 978-1935439851
  • 2014-05-15


“With the pointillist prose of a journalist and the comprehensive sweep of a scholar, Sheila Bapat guides us around the movement of nannies, care providers, and household workers for recognition, dignity, and justice that is reshaping how we think of home laborers. In telling the story of their struggles from New York and California to Geneva and beyond, she not only profiles heroines for our times but shows that together we can make a better, fairer, and more inclusive future.”—Eileen Boris, Hull Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, co-author, Caring for America

“This book is a simultaneously uplifting and heart-wrenching look at the lives of domestic workers in America.  Hopefully it will open the eyes and hearts of our nation and inspire vital changes in our policy and culture.Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice and Co-Director, Caring Across Generations

“With a vigorous theoretical framework and compelling stories from workers themselves, Sheila Bapat makes the case that domestic workers should be at the center of our feminist movement. As the daughter of a former domestic worker, I am profoundly grateful for this book.”—Sarah Jaffe, Journalist

Love and compassion are at the heart of domestic labor, yet historically, domestic workers have been rendered invisible—by society and in the eyes of the law. Mostly foreign-born women, these workers have been excluded from labor protections that workers in the rest of the economy take for granted. However, in the past decade, a growing movement has emerged calling for domestic workers to share in the same rights guaranteed other workers, which is likely to lead to one of the most critical and encompassing labor battles of the twenty-first century.

Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, Caregivers and the Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights chronicles the rising political and social movement to secure labor protections for domestic workers who toil in our homes cleaning, cooking, and caring for our children and elders. Through interviews with the leaders and activists who are forging new and unlikely political alliances among workers, employers, policymakers and other social justice movements, as well as analysis of the historical underpinnings of the current fight for improved conditions and protections for domestic workers, this important and timely book will shine an overdue light on the invisible laborers who are so critical to our economy (and our families).

Sheila Bapat is an attorney and writer covering economic and gender justice. Her work has appeared in Jacobin, Salon, Reuters, Slate, Alternet, Truthout, and many other places. She holds a JD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.