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Know Your Rights
Source: PIX 11 News
Subject: Health Justice & Access
Type: Media Coverage

Domestic workers call on leaders to help

Domestic workers have been on the front lines since the beginning of the pandemic, and they’re making a plea for help.

Having been excluded from receiving any federal aid, they are now facing both a health and financial crisis that advocates say they are not equipped to tackle.

Lillian Marrero is one of them.

“What about us? I am tired and I am here because my kids need food,” Marrero said, as she wiped away tears, speaking through a translator.

For many workers like her, work has dwindled and benefits are non-existent.

“We pay taxes and need to provide for our families just like you,” she said.

Marrero and dozens of others at the Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village were on a hunger strike Thursday.

They are fasting in an effort to sway state leaders to approve a COVID-19 relief fund for undocumented workers and others excluded from federal aid.

“Their options for treatment are limited, their mental health needs are not being addressed; they are totally alone,” Teresa Thanjan of New York Immigration Coalition said at a press conference outside of the church on Thursday.

While the lack of aid has taken a financial toll, a startling new report from Make the Road New York shows the dangerous conditions workers are commonly subjected to, which has only gotten worse with COVID.

“One in three [of the workers] experience eye irritation as a consequence of using cleaning products and a lot of them have respiratory problems,” Daisy Flores, director of workers health & safety at Make The Road NY, explained.

The group’s findings come as another report has determined that as much as $3.5 billion is needed to provide enough support to workers statewide who were excluded from federal stimulus aid.

Despite the New York State Assembly and Senate approving a $2.1 billion fund to aid those excluded workers, it falls short from what’s needed. The fate of these undocumented workers who have paid taxes and currently struggling to survive, is now  in the hands of state leaders.