Domestic workers fight for fair pay

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid

The message is simple, according to officials at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid - if you cannot or are unwilling to pay a domestic worker at least the established minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, do not hire one.

TRGLA partnered up Thursday with domestic workers who've had enough and won't endure any more abuse from their employers.

"We don TMt believe there will be less jobs by paying what the law demands at all, Fuerza del Valley Coordinator Hector Guzman said. (People TMs) homes have to be cleaned and their kids have to be taken care of and fed."

Marcy Valencia came to the U.S. from Ecuador to earn money and help her sister with cancer treatment expenses.

She is speaking out about the mistreatment she endured for nine months as a domestic worker.

Valencia claims that when she demanded to get paid for months of work, her employer threw her belongings out on the street and threatened to call immigration.

"We get paid $120 a week to wash clothes, cook, iron, take care of kids, and even bathe the dogs. Is that just? Valencia said. We came to this country to earn a living and support our families, not to be humiliated."

Kathleen Greisbach, a paralegal with TRGLA said the purpose of the Domestic Rights Campaign is to empower and educate domestic workers and their employers about legal payment and treatment.

Some of the most common complaints include underpaid workers, workers being held at homes against their will and who endure sexual abuse.

She hopes those not doing so already, will start paying their domestic workers minimum wage.

"It's difficult because of course it's a new thing for a lot of people, Greisbach said. I think it's a lack of education, so I hope (people) do adjust."

Valencia said she is not afraid to work hard for her money, but she just wants to be paid what she deserves and to be treated humanely.

"The Hispanic community needs to learn to be more united, because some think that just because they have papers to be here, they want to crush and belittle those who don TMt, Valencia said. They treat us like rats and that's not right!

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