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她们被迫每天工作二十四小时,而你可以帮助阻止。




Hosts and Producers: Yi Ding and Chenxi Wu

Guests: Zishun and Kathy


[Transcript has been slightly modified for reading experience.]



纽约常常被认为是一个进步的城市,是美国的文化、金融中心,但它在一个方面臭名昭著:它是美国唯一一个非白人移民女性护工被迫24小时工作的地方。这些护工为老人、慢性病患者以及严重残障人士提供洗浴、行动帮助、烹饪等不可或缺的服务。在纽约州其它地方,以及美国其它州,这种24小时护理服务,理所当然地,是通过两班倒或者三班倒的方式进行的。非人的二十四小时工作制只在纽约市有。


今年九月,心声计划的丁祎和吴辰熙采访了旨在废除24小时工作制的“妇女也是人”运动的两位组织者Zishun和Kathy。正如两位组织者所述,“这种24小时工作制是反人类罪。它让护工很快地也变成了病人。这种没日没夜的辛苦工作让护工手臂和背部受伤,留下永久性残障,以及失眠、抑郁、心脏病、高血压等等。因为长期不在家,她们与配偶和孩子的关系也受到损害。 除此之外这种24小时工作制还伴随着非法克扣工资,因为这些护工24小时只能从护理中心或保险公司得到13小时的工资。为什么我们这个城市能允许保险公司和护理公司压榨这些女性每一分钟的生命来获取利润?”

这集播客是我们对Zishun、Kathy的采访。你可以听到他们参与劳工运动的缘由,以及为什么这场斗争不仅关乎于对抗性别歧视、种族歧视和阶级压迫,也与我们每个人息息相关。他们关于如何参与社会运动、避免失望和放弃的分享尤其会使你豁然开朗。


如果时间不够,欢迎阅读以下的采访记录。你也可以参加十月十八日中午的抗议来支持这一运动。文末会有关于更多这次抗议的信息。



Ding: 首先我说说我自己的亲身经历。今天早上我看到Zishun在微信分享的一个小红书视频,讲的是中年女性护工的困境,让我深受感动,因为我自己也有超过十年依靠一位住家护工来照顾我的母亲,对她的工作和照顾非常感激。这让我思考您们这些劳工组织者为支持非白人移民女性做出的工作。您可以分享一下是让您开始在纽约做劳工组织的工作的契机是什么?


Kathy: 大家好我叫Kathy,是软件工程师,现在已经干了约十年。我热心于这个“妇女也是人”运动,它旨在组织护工和其它劳工来一起反对24小时工作制这个植根于结构性种族歧视的东西。我生长在美国这个国家,作为亚裔女性从小深受种族和性别歧视之苦,即使在职场也是一样,我一直都想找个答案,弄清楚为什么会有这些歧视,我们该怎么反对它,消灭它。之后我听说了这个移民女性反对24小时工作制的运动,看到24小时工作制如何摧毁她们的健康和家庭。那时候我也不得不频繁加班。长时间的工作也伤害了我的身心健康让我很抑郁。我可以看到身边的许多人也面临着这种剥削,这种种族歧视的压迫。同时那时也出现了更多针对亚裔尤其是亚裔女性的街头暴力。我们中许多人也在思考解决的办法。在这样的情况下,我发现原来许多移民女性被迫接受24小时工作日,并且正在组织起来反对它,我就很好奇。现在我觉得,这个运动归根结底是一个我们这些劳动人民团结起来反抗压迫,反抗结构性种族主义,反抗这种我们所有人都深受其害的剥削制度。参与劳工组织,正是一种真正的反抗。


Zishun: 我叫Zishun,是华人职工会的组织者,我们华人职工会也是“妇女也是人”运动参与方之一。2015年我在纽约城市大学读研时开始在工人中心做志愿者。在大学里你总是被告知“当前的制度很坏,到处都是种族歧视,都是剥削”,但一般学校的课程不会教你该怎么反抗这一切。要寻找答案我需要走出校园,加入斗争之中去。那时候护理行业的劳工运动刚刚开始,纽约护工正在逐渐开始组织起来。我们反对的二十四小时工作日是最为严重的一种剥削。我们在学校里学习了劳工运动的历史,学习了前人如何争取八小时工作制,但现在怎么就变成24小时了呢?这让我大开眼界,学到了在学校从未见过的东西。当你参与组织工运时你会学到该如何反抗剥削。你会懂得,要反抗剥削必须与其它劳工联合起来。我们不能仅仅停留在理论上。你需要去实践,去改变你的思维方式。以前做学生时我只是试图去分析问题,觉得自己无能为力很抑郁,现在我将工运视为与我切身相关的。我们需要打破现状没什么问题的幻象才能开始改变社会。


Kathy: 统治阶级、纽约政府都在跟我们说劳工没日没夜干活不是问题,因为24小时工作日是现实但政客们说,我们当然觉得这不好,但你能怎么办呢?难道你能结束它吗?我记得我刚加入的时候许多护工和其它劳工支持者已经争取了很多年。当时很多参与运动的护工是华人策划协会的,那是一个很大的亚裔社会服务非营利组织,也是纽约最大的家庭护理提供商之一,雇佣了几千亚裔护工,大部分是华裔,强迫她们一天工作24小时还只给12到13小时工资。这摧毁了这些护工的健康,她们每个人都失眠,许多因需要长期扶着病人而手臂和背部受伤要做手术,许多也有抑郁症。这让我感到非常气愤。如果没做过24小时连续工作的话很难想象这是怎样的感受。我们每天上学上班已经很累了,想象一下如果每天都干24小时,然后天天这样,会是什么样子。更可恨的是这个雇主,这个剥削压迫华裔女工的华人非营利组织,自称自己是在反种族主义,在帮助华人移民。华策会对政府说,给我们钱,我们在反对反亚裔暴力,而它自己正是施暴者。华策会把亚裔女工不当人看,也让整个社会轻视我们亚裔女性。我们的尊严和生命连华策会都可以肆意践踏,更何况其它人。华策会这些亚裔办的血汗工厂如此压榨我们自己人,也会让其它人看不起我们。


Zishun: 我补充一句,我第一次听说华策会是在学校里,读本科的时候,那时华策会跟我们学校合作选拔本科生去课后辅导班做志愿者。我猜大多数大学生听说华策会时都觉得它是好的,是致力于社区服务的组织。他们大概也听说华策会在反对反亚裔暴力,这类主流媒体喜欢的叙事。这是一个经常得到称赞的组织,一个很多学校、教授喜欢与之合作的组织。我相信华策会和它的很多支持者自认为是进步派,自由派。 但作为一个有志学生,或者任何愿意参与反种族主义斗争的人,我们需要再进一步。我们不能花一个小时给课后班做做志愿者教教小孩就算了,要加入社会运动中来!我们不能总是在心中把我们自己置于社区之外。当你参与工运组织时,会发现这其实和你自己也切身相关。不管你是学生还是已经工作,你也会遇到类似的问题,消除这种无限工时的剥削与我们每一个人都息息相关。如果24小时工作日这种种族主义暴力被允许继续存在,我们所有人都会受其害,因为这就意味着没有底线了。哪个雇主都可以说,你看那些护工一天干24小时都没事,你为什么不可以。


Ding: 是啊,您们提到了很多我在洛杉矶地区搞组织工作时也一直在想的问题,其中让我感触最深的就是很多多元化、反亚裔仇恨、反种族主义措施是虚伪的,表演性的。比如你们提到的那些非营利组织,或者一些学生或志愿者以为自己在支持反种族主义但其实做的事是在维持各种不平等或者并不是社区或被压迫的群体最需要的东西。我很喜欢您们将自己的经历和这个议题联系起来,即使你们的背景或者社会阶层可能与这些护工有所不同。我觉得这真的是一个团结一致的运动。你们参与组织的这个运动关乎我们所有人,因为它根本上是在与种族歧视、性别歧视和阶级压迫作斗争而它们伤害着我们所有人。接下来吴辰熙会问一些更具体的问题。我们希望更详细地了解你们的运动因为我们的很多听众很可能也在搞工运。



Chenxi: 您可以概述一下这个运动的历史吗?您觉得自己在组织的过程中遇到的最大问题是什么?是怎样应对它的?

Zishun: 好的。“妇女也是人”运动是制衣业的移民女工发起的。那时是80年代或更早,纽约的纺织女工被迫长时间工作,也就是一天干12,14或16小时,工资也十分微薄。那时纽约唐人街有很多制衣厂,大多数是血汗工厂。于是当时许多女工团结起来反对这种长时工作,在这个过程中也鼓舞了许多其它劳工加入,认识到在反对长时间工作上大家是有共同点的。为什么这些血汗工厂开在唐人街?那是因为雇主觉得华裔女性不值钱,才肆无忌惮地强迫她们长时间工作拿很低的工资,然后还同工不同酬。这些女工们的努力鼓舞着许多其它人,比如白领、教师,以及所有行业的劳工和整个社区,让大家意识到二十世纪、二十一世纪还有血汗工厂是非常糟糕的事情。9/11以后制衣业衰落了。唐人街离世贸中心很近,所以很多制衣厂搬走了。那时并没有很多其它产业,但家庭护理是一个很大的新兴产业,于是很多制衣女工转行做了护工。但结果情形更糟,因为户工业搞出了24小时工作日。许多女工深受其害,我们之前也讲过一些。当然,工资盗窃是一个大问题,24小时工作只能拿到13小时工资,剩下11小时的工资被偷走了。但更严重的是对健康的损害。很多护工受伤,所有护工都失眠,想象一下长时间不睡觉会怎么样。然后是背痛,很多人手都变形了,因为要长期托着病人。她们每两小时就要为病人检查一次身体,因为大部分需要照顾的病人都长期卧床不起。因此当护工们组织起来时,她们说,再多的钱也买不回我的健康,我的家庭。连续很多天工作让她们就像住在病人家里一样,伤害了与家人的关系。越来越多的护工开始参与进来。2015年时她们开始针对的是华策会,但之后斗争扩展到别的雇主,无论大小,无论有无工会。同时她们的斗争也鼓舞很多其它行业的劳工加入进来,意识到24小时工作制不仅仅是护工的问题,也需要集聚全社会的力量来反对它。这种制度是我们社会的耻辱,是反人类罪。因此阻止它是我们所有人的责任。这些年来我们的运动逐渐变得越来越大。


Kathy: As for like the current state of things. So, now, it's actually very well known that in New York City, there are thousands of immigrant women, not only Chinese, but Latina, Caribbean, and those from other Asian countries or African countries. Homecare agencies are popping up in every immigrant community to take advantage of this ability to break the law, and only pay immigrant women 13 hours for 24 hours of work so that they can make a ton of money. Homecare agencies and insurance companies are just making a ton of money off of this, while hurting workers and patients from all of our communities. And it is against the state law. But part of the racism, systemic racism, is the state government under Governor Hochul is choosing to not enforce the law when it comes to these immigrant women and their patients. So, inspired by the organizing of all these women, we have a local council member here in Chinatown named Christopher Marte, who is sponsoring a bill in the city council called the “No More 24 Act-File# Int 0175-2022,” that would mandate that 24 hour care cannot be done in 24 hour workday, 24 hour workday must end, and the care must be split into shifts of maximum 12 hours. Of course, patients need the care but it's really better, for patients too, if it's split shifts, and of course it's very necessary for workers’ health and lives. So this is a bill that we are uniting everyone behind to push and demand that the City Council Speaker put it to a vote because by not bringing this bill to a vote, she is saying that 24 hours must continue, and these insurance companies and homecare agencies should continue to kill women just to make money.


Zishun: Yeah, and the campaign also united with the patients and their family, who see also that the 24 hour is really hurting the patient. Because if the worker cannot get enough rest, how can we expect them to provide good service? And that actually puts the patients in danger, who need round the clock care. So actually, many patient families also spoke against the 24 hour, they all want to get the splitted shifts. The insurance company really wants to make a huge amount of profit. So they try to deny, deny, with all kinds of reasons, to try to maintain the 24 hour shifts. But now, the patient, workers and the whole community come together. That's why I think the campaign is so powerful: it developed from maybe just a few workers from one agency to now really an issue for the whole society.

Chenxi: Thank you very much. And thank you for sharing the whole process and the experiences about the campaign. Thinking back about the whole campaign process, what do you think is the most important lesson? Or what do you wish to share with other people who are new to organizing, especially to workers’ organizing?


Kathy: I think that actually, Zishun studied labor studies in school, and learned a lot of wrong stuff there. But I also learned, even though I was just a worker, when people think about labor organizing, or organizing in general, it will be like divided into different shops, or like different industries, or like each group of people should fight for their own specific issue. And these issues are separate. I think the most important thing is to know that these are all fake divisions, that these really are perpetuated by the system to make sure everyone is divided up and not fighting together. So for example, like I'm a tech worker, I don't think now that I need to only learn and organize in my own shop where I work. I actually feel like I'm so fortunate to have this fight, uniting across industries and across races, very importantly, to be in. And we talked a bit about super exploitation before, like how it's really racism, the origin of racism, that it'll be immigrant women of color that insurance companies and homecare agencies and the government feel like they should be exploited the most so that somebody can make money. This actually creates a lot of divisions in our society, it makes people look down on us. And it also makes other people resent us for “stealing jobs”. With many people supporting Trump now, like white people, black people, increasingly, immigrant communities are also supporting Trump, because we see that the conditions are going so bad and things are becoming so bad in the jobs. Because of these, the ruling class wants to push immigrants, the most exploitable immigrants, into those jobs. It really hurts everybody. Previously, and in upstate New York, they don't have a 24 hour work day, they have 24 hour care in eight hour shifts. A homecare worker actually has a good job. You get to take care of somebody, it's a job that people would like to do except that now because of super exploitation, the conditions are so bad that now, instead, people cannot find a job at all because that job is destroyed. We really need to unite to stop this super exploitation so that we can also stop this crisis we have of not being able to find any good work, not being able to find any work at all. In our communities when people are increasingly blaming each other for our problems, this fight really shows that we can unite against the source of our problems, who is oppressing all of us.

Zishun: Yeah, exactly. I want to also add to what you said about division. Because many people, when they joined organizing, at the beginning, inevitably, they think, oh, we are college educated, we speak English, we want to help the poor immigrant workers, who don't speak English, who don't know the law, we went to college, blah blah, blah, right? So they want to come in and do good things, which is natural, because you were taught in a college you're to be exceptional, “I’m already in a very prestigious College, now I want to give back to the community” kind of thing. But this actually fits into what the system wants, because they want to see people divided. And even those who went to college, who think that they are doing good things, actually deep down, they are probably looking down on the immigrants. They think, oh, you don't know anything. So I come in to help you, I give you power, that kind of thing. But in the end, they don't really solve the fundamental question this society puts out, which is that, they tried to say everyone is different, your interests are different, the college students’ interests are probably different from immigrant worker interests. So by thinking that, doing the organizing work actually reinforces that kind of thinking. You’re thinking you're not fighting for yourself, then basically, you're thinking, “I’m just doing a good thing, I'm sacrificing my time, my youth, my energy doing all this”. After a while, you’ll be like “what's the point? Those immigrants remain ignorant, they don't know English, they just asked me for help”. So very easily with this, you’ll burn out. And you say, oh, that's not my fight, or you’ll probably be thinking you want to advance, want to have like individual advancement, which is also what the system encourages. So, in the end, they exploit the immigrants and then climb up the ladder, becoming part of the ruling class, part of the CPC. I'm sure a lot of people who join the CPC probably initially think they are doing good things, like what I did at the beginning with the CPC, but if we don't change that, and really see what we have in common, then very easily, we're going to either burnout, or just end up exploiting the community.

Kathy: We actually really see that, the immigrant women who don't speak English and are old, they're the most oppressed by the system, the ones who are the strongest to fight back, who, after the struggles, trying to work with lawyers and stuff with the government see how bad the system is, and are willing to fight back. They're very powerful in providing leadership to the rest of society.

Zishun: Yeah, and that actually, we have a lot to learn from them, and we see this as a learning process where we learn also that it’s in our interests to fight back, so it actually ends up becoming a learning experience for many of us, instead of “sacrificing ourselves”.

Ding: Exactly. All you shared also resonate with a lot of things I'm doing here in LA. The theme of competing against each other, trying to create those divisions, those divisions that don't need to exist at all. And those like myths of meritocracy or elitism that is probably harming our Asian American community is really connected to how important it is that we're doing to, to provide to foster the solidarity and support in response to the racial discrimination to the sexist to the labor exploitation. I really love the word labor because as you said, I think whatever we're doing, doesn't matter which industry or what type of work I do, this is really just the labor that we're all hurt in some way or another, all exploited by the capitalist system. So it's really important to recognize that we are the same.


What I try to get to in the end, as the last question is I love you're connecting this mentality of “we're fighting for them, but also for ourselves, for all of us together” to the common theme we see in activist work, which is burnout and fatigue. I recognize it's important to remember the mission, remember the cause as we are fighting against our fatigue. Do you want to share one or two tips about how you take care of yourself, as we wrap up this episode, just to give our passionate activist listeners, good allies, because I know this is a very tough struggle and fight anything you're doing to do self care to combat this fatigue, because there is a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, that you're experiencing every day.



Kathy: I think, mainly two words that we have talked about a lot, learning and fighting back. Like Zishun said, if you're thinking you're gonna fight for other people, you will burn out. Because of course, we have demands on our lives in this system, we all have to make money to survive, we all have to do this and that. If we see that what we're doing and organizing is separate from that, then we would think that organizing is actually taking away from our real life. But actually, we need to make sure in our fight, that what we're learning is actually liberating ourselves, that fighting back together really does help liberate me. In the past, I have really, really struggled. I've been very stressed out ever since I was like 12 years old, trying to get perfect grades, trying to get into prestigious school, and getting a good job. So I never have to worry about this, but also feel like oh, but the world is so bad, we should try to fix it. And, like, all of those things are, where we're made to kind of like work ourselves, for the purpose of the system competing with each other. Those are the things that destroy our mental health. Because when we're exploited, it really makes us look down on ourselves. It makes us look down on other people who are exploiting our fellow workers. But when we come together, learn together and fight back. That's how we really gain our dignity, we respect ourselves, we respect each other. And that's how, what we need to not have, to really break free of all these chains. society puts on us.


Zishun: Yeah, I think the people are feeling tired because of the system or process. Not only material things, like, oh, you need to survive, earn enough money to pay your bills and all of that, but also mentally. The system encourages you to exploit each other. That's what the system is about. Right? Not only the boss, I mean, of course, he's from the ruling class, but also penetrates many workers' minds, right? So the workers, they are not immune, right? None of us are immune from this system. We are all products of it, that's how we were brought up.


(Kathy: We don't need a boss to tell us to compete with each other. Try to be smarter than everyone else. We already know how to do it. We already know how to survive in the system, but we need to learn how to actually fight, to break out.)


Otherwise, I think people, of course, feel tired. They all see things separately, and even if you're doing nothing, your mind is still contaminated by those kinds of thinking. So even not doing anything, you feel tired. Actually, organizing together for liberation energizes people. Many home attendants are in their 60s or 70s. Right, they get torture by the 24 hour workday. Now they are standing up. A lot of them are actually very active, doing flyering, organizing protests, spreading the word, all of that. We were always amazed, there's so much energy coming out, they actually did down there, they're younger than many young people. That's very inspiring to many of us, If we are able to come together, see that we have a common struggle, and see this fight also as our fight, we need to use this right, 24-hour workday, so ridiculous is how exposed how bad the system is, we take it out when also, spreading the word, all of us come together to end this, to put an end to this kind of exploitation, that way I think really can energize make us feel a lot motivated. It’s like a sharp knife penetrating the system.


Kathy: concretely what I learned is that I put forward in my job was like, for the first time after organizing here, I stood up to my boss and said, I'm not going to work overtime anymore and organize some of my coworkers for our health matters, we're not going to do it anymore. Whereas before, I would have been too afraid to do that.


Ding: Wow. I love that. That's so well said about the energizing impacts of organizing, it's not just the anger or the frustration that is driving us to do what we're fighting for. It's actually the joy, the joy of speaking up for ourselves, the joy of learning, the joy of liberating ourselves, I love that. It's another way to look at organizing. I think people when they think about organizing, or activists, they tend to think about angry faces but it's really the energy and I so agree with.


After our episode recording, Kathy shared a crucial message concerning the complicity of Councilmember Adrienne Adams in perpetuating systemic racism. Please help us raise awareness.


“This systemic racism continues in New York City because of corrupt sellout Speaker Adrienne Adams. As the first Black woman Speaker of the City Council, in the country’s most progressive city, she uses her POC face to shield insurance companies and continue violence against women of color. She refuses to bring to a vote the City bill, the No More 24 Act (Intro 175), that would end 24-hour workdays and improve care for patients. She ignores the cries of pain from home attendants. From her point of view, 24-hour workdays must continue killing women unless there is more state funding–to give to insurance companies, who are currently making big profits abusing workers and patients! By maintaining this crime against humanity, Speaker Adams is a criminal at the head of a racist system. Immigrant women of color are leading a multiracial, multigenerational movement against systemic racism. ”


Everyone should join to protest Adams’ crimes at City Hall on October 18, 12pm. Spread the word. We must not allow 24-hour workdays to exist in New York City or anywhere in the world!”




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