Ai-Jen Poo: National Bill of Rights for Domestic Workers

Ashoka Fellow
United States, North America
Fellow Since 2012
My work: Creating a vibrant and innovative 21st Century labor movement for domestic workers that values their dignity.

Citation

This profile was prepared when Ai-jen Poo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Ai-jen has identified the emerging prominence and significance of a care economy. The care economy is a unique part of the larger economy because it operates in Americans’ homes and involves intimate, care-based relationships between employer and employee. Through her work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance and its new arm Caring Across Generations, Ai-jen is making this ubiquitous but invisible workforce both visible and valued. Ai-jen is creating a vibrant and innovative 21st century labor movement for care workers that understands the realities of today’s historical, economic, and demographic contexts, that allies employers and employees together, and that creates dignified jobs while caring for Americans young and old.

Ai-jen is innovating on several fronts. First, she is organizing and gaining labor protections for one of the largest remaining excluded groups of workers in our economy. Second, she is leveraging the “care crisis” emerging as America ages to connect those workers with high-quality home care jobs with America’s elderly and disabled with high-quality home care. Third, she is changing hearts and minds about this demographic and the work that they do, creating unlikely allies in a distinctly new kind of labor movement.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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