Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski Celebrates Special Mass to Recognize the Contributions of Domestic Workers
Right after International Domestic Workers Day passed on June 16th, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski offers a special mass to recognize the work and contributions of domestic workers to our local economy and to our families.
Archbishop Wenski commented, “Trabajadoras del hogar or domestic workers can be, because of various circumstances and situations, very vulnerable. The Mass in which Christ’s sacrifice for us is commemorated, reminds us of the infinite value and worth of every human being. This Mass reminds us that domestic workers are also honored members of the Body of Christ in which ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3: 28).”
During the mass, there was also a moment to honor the memory of family members that have passed while immigrant domestic workers were far away from their home country and unable to travel due to their immigration status.
“Many of us are women of catholic faith and we are extremely honored to receive this special recognition from Archbishop Wenski,” says Maria Arellano, domestic worker, victim of wage theft and survivor of human trafficking. “If only our city and state elected officials recognized our contributions in the same way. While we clean their homes and take care of their children, they refuse to create laws or programs to ensure that us domestic workers get the protections that any worker deserves.”
There are approximately 100,000 domestic workers in South Florida, of which 35% are Latinxs, half are immigrants and more than half are women of color including Hispanic, African Americans and Asians (Economic Policy Institute). These demographics and the lack of labor protections and recognition for domestic work makes it one of the lowest paids and most abused jobs performed by women. Domestic workers, especially when they are undocumented, are subject to wage theft, physical and sexual abuse, and even human trafficking.