Seattle to fund domestic workers’ rights awareness campaign

Seattle was the first country in the US to pass a bill of rights for domestic workers. Four years later, the city is taking steps to raise awareness of the law.

SEATTLE — Domestic workers like nannies, house cleaners, gardeners and cooks were the focus of Seattle legislation in 2018. The city was the first in the United States to pass a Bill of Rights for domestic workers.

Now, four years later, the city is announcing funding to raise awareness of the law.

In the past seven years, the City of Seattle has resolved nearly a thousand cases in which employers have agreed to pay wages owed to their workers totaling more than $24 million. This was partly because of working at the Office of Labor Standards, where Steve Marchese is the director.

“We’re actually closing the first case, the first settlement involving domestic workers,” Marchese said.

Marchese plans to provide more details on this settlement next month.

This week, the Office of Labor Standards announced a one-time grant available to Seattle-area organizations that can do the outreach and help domestic workers understand their rights. The $250,000 for organizing community domestic workers will be used for up to eight projects. Non-profit organizations and grassroots groups that have tax sponsorship with a non-profit organization can apply for funding.

Cariño Barragán, Co-Executive Director of Education and Community Organizing, sees a need for funding at Casa Latina.

“The majority of workers still do not know what their rights are. Because the conditions under which they work are right. It’s isolated. It’s very easy, one-on-one,” said Barragán.

The Bill of Rights for domestic workers includes minimum wages, rest breaks and meal breaks.

“About 33,000 is the estimate of workers affected by this type of legislation,” Barragán said.

Now the focus is on making sure all these workers know their rights.

“Because we know things are going on, but they’re not being reported. So we want to make sure people know what to ask for, what to expect,” Marchese said.

Working Washington Executive Director Danielle Alvarado released this statement on funding:

Domestic workers are extremely isolated at work, which can lead to frequent violations of their rights – and we know that domestic workers of color are particularly vulnerable to these labor rights violations. Because of this, workers of color called on the City Council to provide this additional funding, which will allow community-based organizations to conduct wide-ranging Know Your Rights campaigns and serve as a trusted bridge between workers of color and the government. The money reflects the city leadership’s deep commitment to ensuring that our city’s most marginalized workers are truly protected by our nation-leading labor standards. With these resources, we are ready to scale up our outreach to domestic workers.”

The Office of Labor Standards is accepting applications for funding until 5:00 p.m. PDT on Monday, July 11.

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Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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