Finding Aid to the Household Workers' Rights Records, 1982-1996

Prepared by Labor Archives and Research Center staff.
Labor Archives and Research Center
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA, 94132-1722
(415) 405-5571
© 1999, revised 2014

Descriptive Summary

Title: Household Workers' Rights records
Date (inclusive): 1982-1985
Collection number:
Accession number: 1987/005; 1998/098
Creator: Household Workers' Rights
Extent: .75 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Repository: Labor Archives and Research Center
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
(415) 405-5571
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English and Spanish.
Abstract: Consists of materials from the nonprofit organization Household Workers' Rights, including a questionnaire, newsletters, and registration forms.
Location: Collection is available onsite.

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research, with the exception of restricted access to inactive individual registrations of household workers for reasons of confidentiality.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives and Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Household Workers' Rights Records,, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.

Material Cataloged Separately

Nineteen photographs from the early 1980s have been removed and placed in the Labor Archives Photograph Collection. Subjects include: the Union WAGE ten year celebration; organizational meetings and parties; a February 1984 meeting with Debra Dadd, author of a book on non-toxic alternatives; a demonstration at Oakland City Hall; the Bay Area Labor Theatre; and a Black Repertory benefit.
A t-shirt printed with a graphic design depicting household workers (1986) has been placed in the memorabilia collection.

Related Collections

Union WAGE (Women's Alliance To Gain Equality) Records,, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.


The files of the Household Workers' Rights were placed in the Labor Archives and Research Center in January 1987 by Joyce Maupin, the main staff person; additional materials were donated in 1998 after Maupin's death. Accession numbers 1998/092 and 1987/005.

Indexing Terms

California. Industrial Welfare Commission.
Maupin, Joyce.
Union WAGE (Organization)
Household employees--United States.
Women household employees--United States.
Women household employees--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States.


Household Workers' Rights, a Bay Area non-profit women's association, was organized March 1979 by employee members of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Board #15. In 1976, the IWC had first covered household workers with benefits such as lunch breaks, overtime pay, and reporting time pay (household worker reports to place of employment but is locked out and thus unable to work.) Because of the nature and isolation of household work, law enforcement was problematic. Household Workers' Rights, originally a Union WAGE project, attempted to alleviate some of the problems which were faced by the workers, mostly women and two-thirds of them minority women.
Their first program had three points emphasizing legal rights: 1) to get employment agencies to advise workers and employers of laws; 2) to provide legal assistance to workers when necessary; and 3) to draw up contracts which could be presented at the time of hire. This contract included legal requirements of Wage Order #15, sick leave, vacation pay and holiday pay.
When Union WAGE disbanded in 1982, Household Workers' Rights continued on its own. In January 1984, Household Workers' Rights became a membership organization with an elected board and member participation in the decision making. At that time the group organized an employment referral service. A non-toxic environmental housecleaning service was offered, in addition to sponsoring conferences, compiling a chart in Spanish and English on alternative non-toxic clearners, and conducting workshops on non-toxic cleaning. A newsletter was published every two months.
In January 1986, the group divided due to financial problems and ideological differences. Only a small number of women, operating out of an office in Berkeley, continued to concern themselves with a non-toxic cleaning service, putting out the newsletter and maintaining a referral service.
In addition to Joyce Maupin, who did much of the organizing, fundraising and work on the newsletter, Regina Ryerson was the group's non-toxic expert and Lucia Diaz was responsible for Spanish outreach and translation.

Scope and Contents

Consists of materials from the nonprofit organization Household Workers' Rights, including a questionnaire, newsletters, and registration forms.
The questionnaire was modeled after a survey by the Women's Occupational Health Resource Center in New York, and delves into the specific problems faced by household workers; information collected includes womens' ages, their children's ages, childcare concerns, length of time household work has been performed and other jobs held. Using diagrams of the human body on which to point out health concerns, this survey inquires about job injuries, aches and skin problems. Other subjects mentioned are flu, depression, over-tiredness, medical insurance and sexual harassment. There are 170 responses to this 1982 survey; 40 of which are in Spanish.
The inactive registration forms record information for the referral service. This information includes names (which researchers are required to keep anonymous), type of work, and desired pay, additional skills such as CPR or animal care, whether the applicants speak English, whether they have transportation and how far they would travel, what problems they encounter in household work, and whether they are aware of their rights.
The newsletters Household Workers' Rights, and Housecleaners News, span the years 1982-1996; in 1986, the newsletter title was changed to reflect an organizational division. Topics addressed include household workers in other countries, alternative non-toxic cleaners, the minimum wage hearings and legal aspects relating to household workers. One issue (April 1983), contains a sample contract.

Container List

Box 1, Folder 1-3

Household Worker Survey 1982


Survey conducted to find job-related problem areas in workers' lives. One file is in Spanish.
Box 1, Folder 4-6

Inactive Registrations 1983-1985


Inactive individual registrations of household workers arranged alphabetically by name.

Restriction on Access

Restricted to protect personal privacy. Contact Labor Archives staff for more information about these files.
Box 1, Folder 7

Non-Toxic Cleaning Chart 1984

Box 1, Folder 8

Pamphlets 1990, undated

Box 2, Folder 1

Household Workers' Rights, 1982-1985

Box 2, Folder 2

Housecleaners News, 1986 June-1987 April


Housecleaners News, , Volume 7, Number 1 missing.
Box 2, Folder 3

Newsletter Materials, 1993-1997