Dora Lee Jones helped establish the Domestic Workers’ Union in Harlem in 1934

Dora Lee Jones helped establish the Domestic Workers’ Union in Harlem in 1934, which is believed to be a stepping stone in ending domestic slavery. The group was first began by a group from Finland and African-Americans in California, who saw the necessity for a fight against the exploitation of Black domestic workers.

The Union members helped send out letters to the ministers of the African-American churches where African-American domestic workers urged them to impress upon these women the power they had. By not accepting the low wages that these heartless employers offer them.

Bulletin boards were posted with various items and information on them. There were numerous clippings from newspapers, pamphlets, and periodicals pertaining to the domestic situation all over the country. Along with notices of bills to be presented, bills that had been presented and petitions to be signed by the members of the Union.

The domestic union set up in New York led to other unions being created in other states and later it became associated with the American Federation of Labor.  Jones’ actions were often looked upon as being foolish and lacked importance to some during the early 1900s. However, Jones actions and effort have helped many domestic workers to get at least the minimum wage and other benefits that they are entitled to in the same way as any other kind of worker.


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