Contact: Daniela Perez, [email protected]

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the National Domestic Workers Alliance joins labor and domestic worker advocates and loved ones in mourning the loss of Myrtle Witbooi. Myrtle, President of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) and a long-time leader of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU), dedicated 52 years toward fighting against apartheid and for democracy and domestic workers’ rights. 

“Myrtle has been a mentor, a guide, and a model for thousands of organizers in our movement globally, including myself. She bravely fought for the rights and dignity of domestic workers until the very end. Myrtle is a hero we will forever remember as a global domestic worker and labor movement leader. She led the way towards the passage of our first global convention on domestic work and consistently fought for the respect of domestic workers across borders,” said Ai-jen Poo, President of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “Myrtle was the soul of our international federation; her presence in our movement has been a gift. We will continue to honor her legacy of bringing justice, fairness, and equity to our workers worldwide; most importantly, we will carry on her strategy of strengthening our movement with love and courage. We can only express sincere gratitude for sharing her life with us and this movement. We will miss Myrtle dearly and send love and compassion to her loved ones, family, IDWF, SADSAWU, and thousands of organizers who have witnessed her leadership throughout these years.”

Myrtle worked as a domestic worker under apartheid in South Africa. Her experience led her to organize women locally and, eventually, become the leader of the first global trade union federation led by women, IDWF. 

Myrtle Witbooi’s loss leaves a legacy of resilience, benevolence, and strength. On behalf of NDWA, we send the deepest condolences to her loved ones and family and to the organizations and communities she served and represented. 

National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)
National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the leading voice for dignity and fairness for millions of domestic workers in the United States. Founded in 2007, NDWA works for respect, recognition and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers, the majority of whom are immigrants and women of color. NDWA is powered by over 70 affiliate organizations and local chapters and by a growing membership base of nannies, house cleaners and care workers in over 20 states. NDWA has created Alia, an online platform to help domestic workers access benefits, not otherwise granted to them, in addition to introducing a National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights with now-Vice President Kamala Harris and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal in 2019. Learn more at