Shahbano Aliani, M. Bala, Shahensha Begum, Rekha Devi, Rokeya Mollah, Rokeya Begum, Organizers
Shahbano Aliani, M. Bala, Shahensha Begum, Rekha Devi, Rokeya Mollah, and Rokeya Begum are activists with Workers’ Awaaz, a membership organization dedicated to organizing domestic and other low wage South Asian workers. Workers’ Awaaz emerged in 1997 with the goal of creating awareness about the inhumane conditions that South Asian domestic workers face, and to organize and train them to engage in the struggle to make systemic changes.
Most South Asian domestic workers are employed as live-ins working long hours, six to seven days a week, receive wages well below legal minimums, and are often isolated from other community members, to reach these workers, Workers’ Awaaz places informational ads in newspapers, set up tables at community events and in shopping areas where they speak with women workers directly. Workers’ Awaaz seeks to obtain gains for the individual worker as well as raise public awareness about abusive conditions in the domestic service industry. The group organizes campaigns to secure minimum wage, overtime pay, worker’s compensation benefits and other basic workers right. The organization has initiated several lawsuits against employers on behalf of domestic workers charging violations of federal and state minimum and overtime wage laws, and has organized protest demonstrations against abusive employers.