In 2000, Domestic Workers United (DWU), an organization of domestic workers across New York City, began organizing to pass the country’s first ever Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, to end the historic exclusion of domestic workers from labor and civil rights laws. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) became a key partner of DWU through the Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) campaign. JREJ members represented employers of domestic workers, and this partnership between employer and workers was a strong embodiment of the value of interdependence that runs throughout the domestic worker movement. After 10 years of organizing, in 2010, New York Governor David Patterson signed the New York Domestic Worker Bill of Rights!
After much celebrating, the campaign turned to the next steps – implementation, which included mass outreach to workers and employers.
The model of employer and worker collaboration was so successful, that Ai-jen Poo, and founder of DWU (who was also uniting domestic worker organizations around the country to form the National Domestic Workers Alliance) realized that having a national employer organization to work hand in hand with NDWA would be important, and Hand in Hand was born, with JFREJ Lead Organizer Danielle Ferris as the first Director.