CONTACT: Daniela Perez,

Philadelphia City Council Passes Resolution Honoring Domestic Worker Mercedes Reyes for Women’s History Month

The resolution celebrates the courage and resolve of domestic workers in Philadelphia and across the country.

Mercedes Reyes, a member of the NDWA PA Chapter, was honored with a Philadelphia City Council resolution on Thursday, March 21, for Women’s History Month. The resolution acknowledged her 73-year career as a domestic worker and advocate for domestic worker rights.

PHILADELPHIA — On March 21, in an empowering ceremony at City Hall, the City of Philadelphia honored Mercedes Reyes, a domestic worker, advocate, and member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) Pennsylvania Chapter, with a resolution for her unwavering commitment to the rights and dignity of domestic workers. The resolution, introduced by Councilmember Kendra Brooks, highlights not just Mercedes’s incredible journey but also the groundbreaking strides made by domestic workers in shaping the labor landscape of Philadelphia and the nation.

Mercedes Reyes, whose life story is a testament to resilience and dedication, began her journey as a domestic worker at 11. Her journey to Philadelphia from El Salvador amid civil unrest marked the beginning of a lifelong mission to champion the rights of domestic workers. Throughout her 73-year-long career, Mercedes has endured and fought against severe injustices, including wage theft, discrimination, and inadequate working conditions, including being paid less than $2 an hour while working as a live-in domestic worker for 14 years. Despite facing many challenges, Mercedes’s story and advocacy have played a crucial role in enacting the Philadelphia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, its enforcement, and the accompanying anti-retaliation campaign – achievements that reverberate beyond the city’s boundaries.

The resolution passed by the City Council honors Mercedes for her “inspiring energy and insistence on creating safety, dignity, justice, and support for domestic workers,” which has “protected and enriched the lives of people across the country.” It celebrates her as a beacon of resilience whose home became a center of empowerment, education, and community support.

Under the banner of NDWA, Philadelphia’s domestic workers have not only achieved the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights but have also initiated an anti-retaliation campaign influencing various sectors, including gig and restaurant work. This wave of change has even reached the city’s highest office, with Mayor Cherelle Parker, the granddaughter of a domestic worker, acknowledging the contributions of domestic workers, a nod to the enduring legacy and influence of these essential community members.

Nicole Kligerman, director of the NDWA Pennsylvania Chapter, expressed her deep appreciation for Mercedes’s tireless efforts: “Mercedes embodies the spirit and strength of our movement. Her resolve, advocacy, and courage have paved the way for future generations of domestic workers. This honor is a recognition of her indomitable spirit, and it’s a moment of pride and celebration for our entire chapter. Mercedes, and the many women like her, have forever changed the narrative of domestic work in our city and our country.”

The City of Philadelphia’s acknowledgment of Mercedes Reyes through this resolution is a tribute to the collective strength and enduring legacy of domestic workers, past, present, and future. This resolution, introduced during Women’s History Month, recognizes their role as lifelong organizers and pivotal contributors to the modern-day labor movement. 


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. Learn more at NDWA is a non-partisan non-profit organization that does not endorse, support, or oppose any candidates for public office.