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Documenting Housecleaner's Work Experiences

Students at Duke University in Durham, NC spent a semester shadowing housecleaners from Latin American countries and co-document the experience of the workers through photographs. Through collages, the students now make public the worker's experiences from Dec 2014 to Feb 2015 in the gallery of one of the university's libraries.

 

Read the full story in the university's school paper: http://today.duke.edu/2015/01/house-cleaners

 

Documenting Housecleaner's Work Experiences
10 Jan 2015 - 9:37am

Students at Duke University in Durham, NC spent a semester shadowing housecleaners from Latin American countries and co-document the experience of the workers through photographs. Through collages, the students now make public the worker's experiences from Dec 2014 to Feb 2015 in the gallery of one of the university's libraries.

 

Read the full story in the university's school paper: http://today.duke.edu/2015/01/house-cleaners

 

Visit the project's blogsite, including a virtual tour of the resulting exhbition, here: http://thehousecleanerproject.org/

 

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Photograph from TheHousecleanerProject.org blogsite.

We Can Do It!

The current job description for a package handler at the Carson warehouse I am currently employed in states that a worker must be able to lift fifty pounds comfortably. Additional requirements, after a period of training and evaluation, include loading rates of approximately 450 boxes per hour and unloading rates of roughly 1,000 packages per hour. All packages should be stacked using a crisscross method so that smooth T’s form on the face of each wall.

We Can Do It!
27 Dec 2014 - 4:04pm

The current job description for a package handler at the Carson warehouse I am currently employed in states that a worker must be able to lift fifty pounds comfortably. Additional requirements, after a period of training and evaluation, include loading rates of approximately 450 boxes per hour and unloading rates of roughly 1,000 packages per hour. All packages should be stacked using a crisscross method so that smooth T’s form on the face of each wall. Thin and flat boxes, light packages and tube packages can be slipped into the remaining nooks so that every space of the approximately 50 foot container is used.

 

The duties I performed during my first six months of employment in this warehouse are the same I used to send day laborers from IDEPSCA’S Downtown Community Job Center to casually perform when I functioned as coordinator of the small locale then located near the intersection of Washington and Main streets in Los Angeles. During my days at the Center, it was not unusual for a woman to walk into the main office looking for work. “I can do anything: cleaning, cooking, babysitting,” she would say. Whether she heard it from me, or she heard it from the male day laborers in the locale, the response was always the same: "Unfortunately, there is no work here for women." This statement was always followed by handing out a half-page flyer with details to the Hollywood Community Job Center. “At Hollywood, you may have better luck. That Center gets more work for women. This center offers mainly warehouse work.” Sometimes, the woman’s disappointed eyes would light up at the sound of warehouse work. “I can do that too,” she would reply. These hopeful women were always the hardest to turn away; I never doubted their capabilities nor did the male workers, but the employers in our area did. “Send me some workers: men, young and make sure that they speak Spanish,” the employers would request. Along with the older, slower and non-Spanish speaking men, the women, even those with previous warehouse experience, were pushed to the sidelines of a  day labor industry that sought to reap benefits through the minutest contributions.

 

Today, during the pressure-ridden hours when sweat drips into my eyes as I handle endless amounts of boxes at my current job, I am surrounded by women performing the same labor that would otherwise be negated to them in many warehouses of Downtown Los Angeles. As I scan the multitude of boxes continuing to come down the chute connected to my assigned trailer or area, I cannot help thinking of these women as modern day versions of Rosie, the 1940s US cultural icon that influenced many women to enter the industrial workforce while the men were shipped abroad to fight in World War II. At the culmination of the war, many women returned to their homes to tend to their families, thanks, primarily to pressure from heavy government propaganda and their husbands and male relatives. But some women first inspired by Rosie’s “We Can Do It!” rally call refused to stop performing the labor traditionally reserved for men.

 

The labor I perform today is heavy, dirty and demanding but I, along with my numerous female coworkers, can do it just as well as any man. In the fast-paced warehouse environment buzzing with machinery, I remember the many faces of the women I turned away when they were seeking an opportunity to work and I think to myself, they too could have and CAN DO IT.

So-Called Reform

What is my mom going to do with a work permit? Continue kneeling to the floor and dipping her hands into buckets of chemicals when her body is riddled with arthritis? Already thirty years of hard labor have slowly massacred her skin, joints and bones, her hopeful spirit trampled, spit on, kicked about. Why can't the President I once voted for give my mom what's hers: the freedom to be free, to travel home and meet her children without fearing she'll never see the ones born north again.

So-Called Reform
21 Nov 2014 - 1:35am

What is my mom going to do with a work permit? Continue kneeling to the floor and dipping her hands into buckets of chemicals when her body is riddled with arthritis? Already thirty years of hard labor have slowly massacred her skin, joints and bones, her hopeful spirit trampled, spit on, kicked about. Why can't the President I once voted for give my mom what's hers: the freedom to be free, to travel home and meet her children without fearing she'll never see the ones born north again. No one who truly believes in justice could ever be President, because to be President you must ignore morality for the sake of appearance.

Day of the Dead at the Downtown Community Job Center

On Tuesday November 4th workers of IDEPSCA's Downtown Community Job Center gathered in collaboration with CARECEN to celebrate the dead and have a meal in their honor. The workers created an altar with traditional decorations and laid candy, drinks, pictures and other articles those passed enjoyed while alive. Before eating, the workers also shared poems known as "calaveritas" full of humor, hope and longing.

Day of the Dead at the Downtown Community Job Center
4 Nov 2014 - 2:20pm

On Tuesday November 4th workers of IDEPSCA's Downtown Community Job Center gathered in collaboration with CARECEN to celebrate the dead and have a meal in their honor. The workers created an altar with traditional decorations and laid candy, drinks, pictures and other articles those passed enjoyed while alive. Before eating, the workers also shared poems known as "calaveritas" full of humor, hope and longing.

Photography Workshop at Mobile Voices

On October 25th, 2014, the Mobile Voices PCT participated in a photography workshop where we completed many hands-on activities to learn about the different effects of angles, lighting, distance and other things when taking pictures from our cell phones or digital cameras.

Photography Workshop at Mobile Voices
25 Oct 2014 - 5:46pm

On October 25th, 2014, the Mobile Voices PCT participated in a photography workshop where we completed many hands-on activities to learn about the different effects of angles, lighting, distance and other things when taking pictures from our cell phones or digital cameras.

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