Opinion: End the bidding war for cleaning help

I know this has been written about in the past, but it’s getting absolutely out of hand.

My neighbor tells me she had cleaning help for over two years, when one day she stopped coming. No phone call, no notice, nothing.

It turns out, which I found out through another friend, that she ended up taking a job elsewhere because she was offered one dollar more. Is this normal?! Besides for the non-yashrus of this, we are only hurting ourselves by upping the prices to absurd numbers.

Why can’t we all get together as a community and demand that nobody hire any help for more than a set price? I believe this was done in other communities. It will bring the prices down, and stop this bidding war.

And one other note. The amounts we are paying are way above the standard wages.

If someone can go to a respected Rav in town to write a letter about this, I’m sure it would help. (I as a woman can’t do it.)

Thank you,


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  1. Let’s all vote for Trump, build the wall, eeal the borders. Then see what will happen to all our cleaning help. And the price of everything else in this town. We can’t all talk like conservatives on election day, and then act like libs the rest of the time

  2. Here is an idea: Now that the Yomim Tovim are over, let there be a stop to ALL cleaning help for a couple of weeks. Show them that they are expendable. You may be pleasantly surprised and find that you really can manage without them, especially if the entire family pitches in. Lower the demand, and the price will drop. Simple economics.

  3. C.K., thanks for writing this letter. You’re right on, and you surely can call, visit, or write to any rov, who I’m sure will advise you on how to proceed with this. If you don’t do something, I suspect no one else will either. Hatzlocha and brocha.

  4. How much should a wage increase? For the 2 years that your neighbor had her cleaning lady has her salary increased at all? Most employees get a cost of living increase plus some additional sometimes for good work. While $1 every 2 years is more then typical there should be regular increases. Imagine if your husband worked at the same job for 10 years and made the same as when he started – would he feel good about it? Want to put in his best work?

    Also I don’t know how it applies to individuals but it is illegal to have a set price everyone has to agree to.

  5. Dear author of the letter,
    In your profession, do you get a raise every year or every other year?
    It’s VERY normal and expected for employers to give their employees raises.
    How would you feel if your work went unrecognized by a raise?
    If you don’t want your cleaning help to disappear on you, offer her a raise! (A raise of one dollar is probably not more than $10 max $20 a week. If you can afford cleaning help, you can afford this.)
    Stop being selfish and start being mentschlich.

    Thank you to all our hardworking cleaning women! You’ve got my respect and appreciation.

  6. Thank you so much for speaking up and writing exactly what I and my neighbors are feeling. As I read your letter I thought – I could have wrote that letter myself! Please disregard all negative comments. It is very much appreciated. I hope it leads to change.

  7. I was truly surprised at the people who commented that cleaning help is always a luxury. Most of the young women I know are working women with many small children.. Although children can and should help, many of the them are not old enough to do certain jobs or should not be overburdened by chores that should be done by the mother of the house. In most cases cleaning help is not a luxury but a necessity. The women of today should get a golden crown for how they manage to juggle work, parent, and run a house. Having even minimal help per week can make the difference between, a calm house, shalom bayis and good emotional health. I once spoke to a mental health professional who said there are certain things you can not afford NOT to do. Cleaning help is one them. If we want our children to grow up healthy and happy, we need a calm environment, with a calm, happy mother. Each family should decide what they need without others commenting on it. As far as a raise, there is a difference if a lady offers her cleaning help a raise or gives her a bonus, than another lady lures away cleaning help by upping the bounty. Before hiring a lady one should make the effort to try and make sure she is not grabbing someone’s help. Asking for references sometimes work.

  8. I agree with decency. this writer is ridiculous, and strange. I’m sorry your cleaning lady of two years just left you, not the end of the world, not every thing is perfect in life, pay the extra dollar or do the work yourself. that’s life, people go where there is more pay. and how do you expect the entire town and rabbonim to make a takana not to raise a cleaning lady so you can have yours? how can you dictate to someone how much to pay for service? this is not about salary, it’s about appreciation. some people are wealthy and generous and want to give more for a good hard working cleaning lady, there is nothing wrong with that. pay yours more and treat her well she will do a better job and will work by you, but with the attitude you have it’s not surprising that she left.

    and by the way, this is the only thing that bothers you? the extra $1 an hour that someone else paying? how about the inflation and price gouging that goes on in this town with stores ripping off shoppers left and right in our daily necessaries like food, cloths? how about rent and house prices and tuition? does anyone say anything? and you’re crying about a dollar? there is much more important things in life to worry about.

    • 100% correct.

      In additions I will add treat your cleaning help with respect and at worse she will call you that she found another job, or maybe you can match or go over the other offer.

  9. One more thought. In business there is a saying that people don’t quit their job, they quit their boss. While it’s possible that cleaning help leaves for an extra dollar or two, it is more likely that they leave because they don’t feel appreciated. Just a thought.

  10. I have been working for many years without getting a raise because I don’t think I’d be able to get more for what I do because people won’t be able to afford me. So I’m not so sure the cleaning ladies have to get raises either. But, you should show your appreciation to your cleaning lady by offering her something to eat, maybe a gift at holiday time. Always make sure to thank her etc. If your cleaning lady works hard and does a good job then maybe she does deserve a higher salary. It’s the ones who do a mediocre job that don’t.

  11. 1)The letter write didn’t say her cleaning lady asked her for a raise and she refused, she said someone else offered her more money in order for the lady to leave her present job! It’s very different!
    2)And keep in mind that most ppl don’t get a 10% raise every year!
    3) the fact that some ppl think cleaning ladies are a luxury is irrelevant to the issue mentionned! Most cleaning ladies do not speak english decently enough to get any other job. They come and go as they please, finding reliable help is very hard. Combine that with the fact that they want a raise irrelevant of their experience, I think the letter writer raising a valid point!

  12. All women deserve cleaning help. The other woman was obviously desperate enough for help to offer more money. Women nowadays work mighty hard raising a family AND working etc. – they deserve a break. If u can live peacefully and calmly without help – good for you! Some families can eat macaroni and cheese 3x a week for supper too! That doesnt make it the norm. Normal is for women to have cleaning help.

  13. This is absurd. Cleaning ladies work very hard…for them to get an extra $1 over 2 years is NOT crazy!! I know a lot of out of towners who are paying their cleaning ladies at LEAST $15. If your lady left and you need a new one daven to Hashem and ask him to send you a new lady for the amount you are asking. It’s not good to live with scarcity then you will have scarcity. You should be nice to your cleaning help and give with abundance and Hashem will bless you with abundance.
    Think about it!! Hashem loves you!

  14. this is not about whether we should or shouldnt give a raise to cleaning ladies-the point is that the other lady went behind her back and gave her a dollar more! That isnt mentchluch and thats what the letter writer is saying to end the bidding war…..

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