Chapter

Sticking Together through Good Times and Bad: Immigrant Domestic Workers, Ethnic Communities, and Resistance

Vanessa H. May

in Unprotected Labor

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780807834770
Published online July 2014 | e-ISBN: 9781469603094
Sticking Together through Good Times and Bad: Immigrant Domestic Workers, Ethnic Communities, and Resistance

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This chapter describes how a small group of Finnish immigrant women, many of whom were current or former domestic workers, traveled to the home of Betty Komula to discuss their plans for a new organization. Komula's home lay not too far from the heart of Brooklyn's growing Finnish community, which spanned the waterfront south of fashionable neighborhoods such as Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights. After that first meeting, the women got together regularly in one another's homes to talk about ways to bring economic and social benefits to Finnish domestics. By December the group had named their organization Naisyhdistys Pyrkija and incorporated its bylaws in the state of New York. In return for an initiation fee of twenty-five to thirty cents and ten cents in dues, Brooklyn's Finnish domestic workers could attend lectures, borrow books from a lending library, and participate in a sewing circle to raise funds for the society.

Keywords: Finnish immigrant women; domestic workers; Betty Komula; Finnish community; Naisyhdistys Pyrkija

Chapter.  12420 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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