FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept 4, 2023
Contact: Daniela Perez, [email protected]
National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Pennsylvania Chapter joined Mayor Jim Kenney and labor leaders on stage for President Biden’s Labor Day Speech in Philadelphia
After President Biden’s speech, domestic workers attended the Labor Day rally and parade, where Sheryl Lee Ralph, actress representing SAG-AFTRA striking actors, demonstrated support for domestic workers’ rights and dignity. In July, domestic workers stood at the picket lines with Hollywood’s striking actors and writers.
PHILADELPHIA – On Monday, September 4, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) Pennsylvania Chapter joined President Joe Biden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for this year’s Labor Day remarks.
Philadelphia passed the Philadelphia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in 2020 – guaranteeing several labor rights for the city’s 16,000 housecleaners, nannies, and home care workers. It is one of the nation’s strongest laws protecting domestic workers.
NDWA’s participation in President Biden’s Labor Day speech comes at an important time for Philadelphia’s domestic workers and domestic workers across the country. Philadelphia domestic workers are actively raising awareness on anti-retaliation and enforcement of the Bill of Rights to ensure that domestic workers and their employers know the rights afforded to the city’s household workforce.
“Celebrating Labor Day alongside President Biden was a momentous occasion for domestic workers, who have historically been excluded from many of the protections celebrated on this day. As we gather with other labor leaders, it’s an opportunity to spotlight the essential yet often invisible workforce that keeps our homes and communities running,” said Nicole Kligerman, Pennsylvania Chapter Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance.
“While Philadelphia made strides with the passage of the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in 2019, we continue to fight for its enforcement. It’s a stark reminder that without a Federal Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, domestic workers across the nation lack the fundamental protections and rights they deserve. Moreover, workers in cities like Philadelphia, where local bills have been passed, need assurance that their hard-fought rights are recognized, vigorously enforced, and protected. Being present for President Biden’s Labor Day remarks signifies our commitment to bring domestic workers out of the shadows, advocating for their rights, and ensuring they are no longer left behind. Let this day be a reminder that the labor movement must be inclusive, leaving no worker behind, and the time has come for a nationwide framework that guarantees dignity and security for all domestic workers.”
Furthermore, the urgent need for such protections extends far beyond Philadelphia. Most domestic workers in the country lack the very same labor protections and rights being celebrated on Labor Day. Unfortunately, domestic workers were intentionally excluded from essential labor protections, primarily due to racialized and gendered biases that undervalued their vital profession despite being the bedrock of our households, families, and communities.
Annie Johnson, a nanny and NDWA member in Philadelphia, highlighted the importance of domestic workers being present. ”This is our opportunity to not just put a toe in but a foot in, and eventually, our whole self will be here,” Johnson said.
Domestic workers, who are predominantly women of color, have historically been at the forefront of the labor movement. From the Atlanta Washerwoman Strike in 1881 to the dedicated workers in Philadelphia organizing to secure hard-won protections, domestic workers continue to rally together to ensure that our economy fully supports the workers who make all other work possible.
This fall, NDWA and congressional domestic worker champions will re-introduce the Federal Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, aiming to extend labor protections to every domestic worker across the nation. This legislation seeks to establish a nationwide framework to guarantee domestic workers the same level of protection and enforcement of their rights, ensuring that workers in Philadelphia and beyond can rely on proper enforcement of their rights.