California Domestic Workers Coalition

My name is Damaris Romero. I am the mother of a 9 year old, and a housecleaner.

I joined the Women’s Collective of San Francisco in 2018, and I continue to organize with them for the dignity and the respect of domestic workers.

Household work is unique – one is isolated in an employer’s house, and it is only your word against that of your employer. We are invisible and too often mistreated.

At one job, I worked 7 hours with a friend, cleaning a large house in San Francisco. At the end of the day, the employer did not want to pay us even the $50 dollars that she promised us. That’s not even minimum wage. After we finished the job, she called the police on us to scare us so she wouldn’t have to pay us for our work.

I was terrified, but luckily, my friend spoke English and was able to tell the police officer what happened. At the end of the day, the employer had to pay us. This type of treatment doesn’t happen in all professions. After that experience, I never wanted to clean another house again.

But then I got involved with the Women’s Collective and I learned about my rights. I also recognized that domestic work is valuable, dignified work and deserves respect.

Now, I organize and speak out to defend women who are still invisible and do not yet know their rights. I organize to empower women so that they have the information and skills they need to feel safe and to ensure that domestic worker voices are heard.

I organize to show that domestic work is important, and that domestic workers deserve dignity.