The Roosevelt administration passed many enduring

economic reforms

in the 1930’s, including the Social Security Act and

the National Labor

Relations Act. The latter made it easier for workers

to form unions

and bargain collectively with their employers. Domestic


farmworkers, however, were explicitly excluded from both laws, a


that allowed Roosevelt to gather the votes of Southern, white


members, among others. At the time, 95 percent of domestic

workers were  Black women in the South. Most agricultural workers were


Filipino or Mexican. Today, workers in other job categories are


vulnerable to labor abuses, like day laborers and “workfare” workers.

Organizations nationwide are creating and fighting for solutions. Here

are some highlights.

daylaborers_homedepot_laborday_0903.jpgDay Laborers

Anti-immigrant rhetoric makes  the lives of day laborers difficult.

Although they are eligible for

minimum wage and health and safety

protections, the formal complaint processes are tough to access,

especially if they’re undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile, cities


states are creating “loitering” laws to drive day laborers out, although

the demand for their work remains strong. The National Day Labor Organizing Network is pushing back.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

<p><b><font style="font-size: 1.25em;"><img alt="laborday_farmworker_090310.jpg" src="/sites/default/files/images/articles/2010/09/labordayfarmworker090310.jpg" class="mt-image-left" style="margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt; float: left;" height="270" width="350" />Farmworkers</font></b></p> <p>In 1966 farmworkers were included in the Fair Labor Standards Act, but they still <a href="" target="_blank">aren't covered</a> by the National Labor Relations Act. Yet agriculture is among the top

five most dangerous occupations in the country. Farmworkers risk

pesticide exposure and live in chronically bad housing. Nearly 75

percent nationwide earn

less than $10,000 a year. In Florida, <a href="" target="_blank">the Coalition of Immokalee Workers</a> have helped win "fair food agreements" from fast food chains. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)</p> <br clear="all" /><p></p><img alt="laborday_homecareworker090310.jpg" src="/sites/default/files/images/articles/2010/09/labordayhomecareworker090310.jpg" class="mt-image-left" style="margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt; float: left;" height="270" width="350" /><b><font style="font-size: 1.25em;">Domestic Workers</font><br /><br /></b><p>Domestic workers include nannies, housekeepers and companions

to people who are elderly or ill. There are some 200,000 domestic

workers in the U.S. The <a href="" target="_blank">National Domestic Workers Alliance</a> includes organizations working to protect their rights in  <a href="" target="_blank">California</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Maryland</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">North Carolina</a> and

many other states. The New York Domestic Workers Coalition, which

includes Latinas, South Asians and Carribbean women, and Domestic

Workers United recently won the first Bill of Rights in New York state.

The International Labor Organization will soon pass a global convention

on decent work for domestic workers. (Photo CC/<a href="">Parvapax</a>)<br /><br /><br /></p><p><strong><b><img alt="laborday_tippedworker_090310.jpg" src="/sites/default/files/images/articles/2010/09/labordaytippedworker090310.jpg" class="mt-image-left" style="margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt; float: left;" height="270" width="350" /><font style="font-size: 1.25em;">Tipped Workers</font></b></strong></p> <p>The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour, and it

hasn't changed in nearly 20 years. Along with servers, some

back-of-the-house workers are also tipped. It's common practice for

managers to steal tips from workers in an illegal practice known as

"tipping the house", where servers have to share their tips with

managers. The <a href="" target="_blank">Restaurant Opportunities Centers United</a> is organizing in workplaces nationwide to raise the federal minimum wage for tipped workers. (Photo CC/ <a href="">Rick Audet</a>)</p> <p><strong><b><br clear="all" /></b></strong></p>

<p></p><p><img alt="welfaretowork_090310.jpg" src="/sites/default/files/images/2010/09/welfaretowork_090310.jpg" class="mt-image-left" style="margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt; float: left;" height="270" width="350" /><font style="font-size: 1.25em;"><b><strong>Workfare workers</strong></b></font></p>

<p>The welfare reform law in 1996 created Temporary Aid for Needy Families


States expanded their "workfare" programs, in which

cash-assistance recipients are required to work for their benefits.

Employers who receive subsidies to hire these workers are essentially

invited to exploit them, aware that recipients will lose both paychecks

and assistance if they resist. In California, the group LIFETIME is

organizing women in TANF to demand better.</p><br clear="all" />