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In the past three years, the US economy has revealed an undeniable truth: it runs on care work. This labor, done mostly by women of color, is often made invisible: performed quietly and cheaply by those at the margins of society, who work hard without good pay or protections.
How can workers in the sector come together to organize—and counter this tendency of the nation’s economy to devalue care work that is intrinsic to our survival?
To explore these questions, this webinar brings together three leaders in the care economy to discuss these matters at the level of local, state, and national policy and practice. These panelists are:
- Adria Powell, president, and CEO of the Cooperative Home Care Associates. Based in the Bronx, New York, CHCA, which employs 1,800 people, is the nation’s largest worker cooperative.
- Jenn Stowe, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, an advocacy network that works for respect, recognition, and rights for more than 2.2 million nannies, housecleaners, and home care workers nationwide.
- Mary Wilder, board president and worker-owner of Shine Nurture Center Cooperative, a Cincinnati-based childcare business that converted to worker ownership and became part of the Co-op Cincy worker co-op network in 2022.
In the webinar conversation, panelists address a wide range of questions, including the following:
- What is the “care economy”? What is its scale? What are the leading factors behind the sector’s rapid growth?
- What are some ways that advocacy already has begun to increase the value of care work? Where have there been “wins?” What has been achieved?
- What are policy priorities going forward?
- How do operations change when a business becomes a worker co-op?
- How can worker cooperatives grow in scale in the care sector?
- What roles do labor unions play in the care economy now? What roles could they play?
- How are movements working to building narratives that elevate the value of care work?
- What steps can nonprofits and philanthropy take to support care workers?
Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (now Co-op Cincy), Strategies Toward Wage Equity in Early Childhood, Cincinnati, OH: Co-op Cincy, September 17, 2018.
Paraprofessional Health Institute, Caring for the Future: The Power and Potential of America’s Direct Care Workforce, Bronx, NY: PHI, 2021.
Ai-jen Poo, Adria Powell, Dennis Hogan, Dulari Tahbildar and Ellen Vera, “The State of the Care Economy: Community Leaders Weigh in,” NPQ, Sept. 14, 2022.
Pop Culture Collaborative, “From The Help to Roma; How the National Domestic Workers Alliance Is Transforming Pop Culture,” New York, Pop Culture Collab, 2019.