Letter: They Have Us Wrapped Around Their Finger


I don’t usually write in to news publications, but with this issue, that has gotten out of hand, I’m going against what I’m comfortable doing and writing in.

I feel that I need to bring awareness to the women out there about what is really going on with the subject we hate and love most, cleaning ladies.

I’m on the market for a new one currently and there’s a shortage of ladies out there willing to clean. I’m not sure if this has to do with the whole corona and the government payments… but I pray that it passes. This puts many women in a position of feeling desperate.

This issue is bringing us into another even bigger problem. I was paying $14 to my last cleaning lady and was open minded enough to realize that perhaps I will have to go up a dollar or maybe $2 for a new one. Well, it seems like they want $20 an hour! That was the response of the last few women that I hung up with. The other day I was fortunate enough to have someone else’s lady by me for a few hours, temporarily. I had a little talk with her, asking her if she has any friends looking for work… and what she told me was astounding that I felt I had to share.

There are a few cleaning lady whatsapp chats, where they network to find work. She says that many times when someone posts a lady looking for household help it’s followed by, “She’s only willing to pay $15 an hour”.

She informed me that on many of these chats the ladies are encouraging each other not to accept any jobs for less than $20 an hour. They say, if they all are on the same page, the Lakewood ladies will have to give in and pay it.

So you see… they’re smarter than we are!
And believe me, they are as desperate to make money as we are to have cleaning help.

When a few Lakewood women agree to this price, it’s all over their whatsapp chats and they all end up demanding the very same thing.
Ladies, I have a question, If they can band together – why can’t we?

I believe it may hurt for a little, being without cleaning help is definitely a challenge. But if they see that they don’t have work because we don’t budge from, say $15 an hour, we have much to gain.

Their husbands are doing back breaking work in rain or shine and are receiving about $15 an hour. They shouldn’t be getting more than that for doing housework.

Many Lakewood women looking for office jobs aren’t even being offered this amount! Does this even make sense?

And if we are the ones giving into this and paying this outrageous amount, then only we are to blame, and we are hurting ourselves and our fellow women who need extra outside help.

They won’t stop at $20. Let’s stop this ridiculousness before it gets more out of hand.

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  1. I so agree! I think we need rabonim to start preaching to women and men that it’s unacceptable and they shouldn’t allow it just like they preach about filters on technological devices etc. Without unity – things will not change as much as it hurts all of us. We are all struggling as it is, we don’t need our sanity ripped from us as well due to the exorbant cleaning help prices here.

  2. It’s called Supply and Demand economics.
    Your proposal may work, if nobody will hire any cleaning lady for above $15 and hour, but good luck with that, considering how many Lakewood households are desperate for their help, and are willing and able to pay more.
    It could also work against you, as most of those women aren’t legally here, have no roots in the community, and will simply move on to greener pastures. Then, you won’t have a taker ever for the full $20.

  3. I know this wasn’t your point but there is no lady in Lakewood looking for an office job for $15 an hour and can’t find. There are hundreds of office jobs out there for ladies in Lakewood all starting at well above $15 an hour.

  4. I don’t usually comment online. This letter is striking in its lack of self awareness.
    “Their husbands are doing back breaking work in rain and shine and are receiving $15 dollars an hour
    They shouldn’t be getting more than that doing housework.” Shouldn’t ? Their husbands doing back breaking work for a small wage is reason they shouldn’t be paid more for doing housework? Do you think they can afford to pay someone else to do their housework?
    You are not entitled to cleaning help. They are entitled to whatever someone is willing to pay them.

  5. Unless there is some medical reason or some exceptions etc, did ever occur to anyone reading your letter to maybe – just maybe – the woman of the house should roll up her sleeves together with their children (and maybe even the husband!) and clean up her house themselves? Just maybe???
    Now I know people will say I am naive, insensitive, out of touch and all that….but maybe rethink your lifestyle and the children of the house will not have to see some shiksa walking around their house the whole day? Just maybe?
    And maybe – just maybe – these children will become more responsible with their house cleaning jobs and not be so spoiled? (We have gone decades with my wife working full time without a cleaning lady and yes our children are not as spoiled as their friends and neighbors!)
    Maybe I am wrong but maybe I am not…..Just maybe…..

    • You’re not wrong at all. No one will die from cleaning up after themselves /learning to be more independent and not rely on these attitudy ladies to run their homes

    • agreed. i work full time for over 20 yrs and all my kids have responsibilities and my house functions b’h quite well. dishes get washed, kids vaccuum, mop, dust etc. they are productive members of the household. every child has jobs based on age and ability. besides teaching responsibility etc, i have seen shiksas walking out of homes and have been horrified at the lack of tznius. after taking such pains to ensure the kedusha of our homes is that what you are bringing INTO your homes?

    • Couldn’t agree more! The people of today are spoiled and lazy and don’t know how to clean up after themselves. I had some neighborhood kids over one afternoon and after making quite a mess of the toys and games i said “let’s all clean up now”. these kids looked at me with blank looks on their faces and just said “huh??” this is basic mentchlachkeit and our generation is headed to a bad place. They are used to Maria or Anya cleaning up after them, they have no awareness of Kavod Habriyos and basic decency…
      I work in an office full of ADULTS, yet the kitchen area is a pigsty with coffee splattered all over the counter, empty containers and dirty cups lying around. Its shameful and the “desperate need” for cleaning ladies can really be cut by 75% if people would just learn how to clean up after themselves!

      • No ones talking about full time cleaning help, and the discussion here isn’t weather or not you should have cleaning help. I don’t think anyone asked for your opinion on weather they should clean their toilets by themselves or hire help for that. The point here that most of you seem to be missing is that just as they all joined forces to take $20 OFF THE BOOKS while milking the system using out tax paying money for health insurance and schooling for their kids we can unite and decide not to pay more than $15!

  6. Could not agree more! This is a very impt and relevant issue! if we dont stand strong on our payment amount- 15$, they will just go up and up. What are we waiting for?
    Another unmentioned factor is that there are plenty of women who don’t hesitate to increase their pay because they don’t feel it as much, but of course most do. Please be fair and do not agree to more than 15$!
    as the letter writer mentioned, they need the work as much as we need them!

  7. I pay $20 per hour because I value their work and feel like it’s worth $20.
    If you don’t think it’s worth what they’re asking then do it yourself.
    You’re not entitled to cleaning help.

  8. A few points.
    First of all, from what I’ve been able to ascertain, the local day laborers have done the same thing – except they are demanding 25 dollars an hour.

    Secondly, let’s while I am a frum Jewish guy myself, let’s not forget that us Jews are not the only ones that read this site. While it doesn’t say it outright, it’s pretty clear from the article that you are referring to a specific community here in Lakewood. I did not appreciate the “Us vs. them” that permeated the article. Certain sentences like “they’re smarter than we are” were already bordering on putting down an entire community (I hesitate to use the word racism).

    Finally, you are fighting market forces that are far more powerful than you. Ultimately, this collusion can only really work with so many people if there is a powerful leader or mechanism who can enforce it (as many studies in game theory have shown). Neither community in Lakewood have that. Therefore, it ultimately comes down to market forces and supply and demand. Minus solving that, there is not really much that can be done.

  9. When money is made worthless by printing over 6 trillion, everything costs more.
    Who would want to work for less than $18 when everything costs so much

  10. Children and teens can definitely have chores in and around the homr such as Vaccuming and helping with folding the Laundry and putting away Groceries putting plates and spoons in and out of the dishwasher and cabinets etc
    Than the cleaning lady will just need to mop the floors and clean the Bathrooms

  11. My cleaning lady reads this site and I’m sure many of yours do too…..please be smart and don’t give them ideas…..this should not be on a public forum.

  12. @ shmuli: we are talking about ppl who are living here illegally and are therefore not entitled to get more than $15 an hour for any job. They aren’t paying taxes and yet still have free health insurance, receiving stimulus, free school for their kids etc…they should be thankful to have a job which they receive $15/hr back in their country they are paying $1 for a ‘house’. And if dumb ppl pay more, I don’t want to be too harsh, but there’s a din v’cheshbon for that too.

    @just me: please dont be so strongminded, you and your wife are really so so special, but not everyone is a geshikt and special. For many (most) a cleaning lady is a necessity. I for one am a fulltime working mother of 5 oldest not 9 yet with #6 on the way bH, pls don’t say were spoiled or spoiling our kids. And there are many in similar situations. A mother of a large family has got enough on her hands if a cleaning lady can help with menuchas hanefesh and help create calm relaxed atmosphere that is very important.
    Another point I would like to say is that these cleaning ladies try their luck to see if they can get more because they know were desperate. I had one that offered to come & when I asked her the price she said $17? So I told her I can pay $15 & if I’m very happy with her I can give $16. And yes, my neighborhood is paying 17/20!!! She came & did not say a word. They try their luck! We have to show them were firm!

  13. A fellow in Brooklyn is being sued by his housecleaning help for not having paid minimum wage. Regardless of the outcome, the hassle of going through the lawsuit is very taxing. Beware and be forewarned.

  14. These people may be from foreign countries who have come here illegally or questionably at the very least.

    As long as people in Lakewood keep feeling the need of using a שפחה כנענית, they will keep raising their prices.

    • I dont think illegal immigrants who do not have a permit to work in the US can sue for minimum wages, correct me if Im wrong ( who knows with this administration- hey , they can come in without vaccines and no quarantine period.)

  15. @shmuli they are entitled to ask for $100 if they wanted to! I believe the letter writer mention their husband’s pay to show that the amount is very unbalanced compared to what their husband recieve.
    The point of the letter is that if we all band together just like they are, we won’t have 2 pay ridiculous prices.

  16. I raised a large family and worked part time (3 hrs. a day) yet I never had a cleaning lady. My kids did help somewhat (they were not overworked for sure) but, now that they’re all married B”H, I think the way they were brought up was very good for the. Some do have cleaning help, but they still expect their kids to do their share. It is very important to for kids to grow up not thinking they have to have cleaning help.

  17. Lakewood scoop should be embarrassed to publish such a letter. Turning this into an official fight of us vs them. We should be grateful and show hakaras hatov to our cleaning ladies and TREAT THEM LIKE HUMAN BEINGS. This is not communism! Regular economics of supply and demand will apply.

  18. The writer is correct. She should start a chat/website/grassroots movement to cap payment at $15/hour. If all women would band together the rates would go down. I felt like writing this exact post myself a few weeks ago.

  19. I will venture to guess that everyone commenting are not women with a bunch of (little and older) kids and who are working and making Shabbos and yom tov and running a home and being emotionally present for their kids. Likely you are all men or women not in the above situation.
    You CANNOT have a say unless you have are in fact that kind of woman.
    Women have enough on their plates, they are fully allowed help with cleaning. Cleaning help has existed since the beginning of time, modern woman have no less of a need or allowance for help nowadays.
    I treat my cleaning help with full respect, a pleasant environment and nice snacks. I’m sure most of the women in this town do the same.
    You do not have a say until you know what it is like.

  20. how would you like it if all the offices in lakewood decided that they are not going to hire for 15? the cleaning woman have a life just as you have.

  21. Maybe that’s why they’re called “Cleaning” ladies because they clean out your bank account.
    I just read now that the average pay in the US for bookkeepers is $19.43 an hour. Accountants, $26.46 an hour. Construction workers, $15.87 an hour. Police officers, $23.28 an hour. Firefighters, $21.36 an hour. Paramedics, $20.92 an hour. Sanitation workers, $12.84 an hour. Chefs, $15,50 an hour. And……, (drum roll, please)……., the average hourly pay for a house cleaning job is………. $13.84 an hour. “We report, you decide.”

  22. I dont think illegal immigrants who do not have a permit to work in the US can sue for minimum wages, correct me if Im wrong ( who knows with this administration- hey , they can come in without vaccines and no quarantine period.)

  23. When I read a letter like this I remember my own grandmother who came alone to this country She spoke no English and worked as a cleaning lady. I hope her employers were kind and not so angry that a poor woman from a different culture would dare to ask for more money. Let is all remember.

  24. Like everything else. If you don’t like the price don’t buy it!
    Anyone is entitled to ask for whatever they want, if they get clients good for them. If they do not they will read just the pricing. Simple economics. For some people it is worth paying $20.00 an hour for others not. No need to have a whole forum about it.
    Happy cleaning ????????????.

  25. best idea is to go through an agency. licensed, bonded, all legal. amazing that everyone is happy to hire illegals, but don’t think they should be able to negotiate their own pay.

    most of these comments are really cringeworthy.

  26. There is usually a rule of thumb, that if you can’t afford it don’t buy it. If you don’t value your household help enough to pay what they demand then don’t hire them. This is all basic real world economics.

  27. solutions
    1. The real solution is to open LEGAL immigration in the US
    2. their agencies should promote the Spanish population to move to the Lakewood vicinity.

  28. While we’re on this topic, let’s stop buying in all of the frum grocery stores since they’ve been raising their prices, and switch to ShopRite and Walmart until the frum grocery store lower the prices!

    • I have a better idea for you, Chochom- just buy chazir and cow brains because it’s cheaper. Think before you write such brilliant statement.

  29. This whole letter is pointless.
    Like homework and school schedules and grocery prices and where to and not to shop and what to wear ask for vote for and if you should or shouldn’t vaccinate, you’re delusional if you think writing a letter will help.
    If you can’t pay for it, too bad.
    If you could, pay what you want.
    (Also men and local women get paid much more than $15 an hour, prob closer to $20 starting)

  30. Hello writer,

    If we would be a little less particular of how our house looks we might just need them goytas for far less time. (toilets how long do they take) You dont have do the chandelier every week or do you?
    Most people can do with four hours twice a week so therecut on hours and cut on cost,
    It might also be wise to have your family members clean up after themselves and their peers. Pizza plates dirty cups. Take yours to the garbage and theirs too.
    Its all a matter of perspective. Maybe a mindset change is order?

  31. It’s Economics 101. You can’t fight supply and demand. Try demanding that mechanics charge less than $100/hr for labor. When demand is high, the masses always blink first in a stand-off. This is a losing fight. Just be happy with your cleaning help and cut down a bit to cover the extra costs. No one will die if the power wash on your house only happens every other week.

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