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Philly Black Worker Project and Key Labor Organizations Host "Philly Workers Fight Back" Summit

PHILADELPHIA - The National Domestic Workers Alliance Pennsylvania Chapter is proud to announce the "Philly Workers Fight Back" Summit, a groundbreaking event in partnership with several prominent organizations, including the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, 215 People's Alliance, El Comité de Trabajadores, Philly Black Worker Project, Community Legal Services, and the Sheller Center at Temple Law School.

Event Details

WHAT: Philly Workers Fight Back Summit

WHO: Nicole Kligerman, Pennsylvania Chapter Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Domestic Worker and Members, National Domestic Workers Alliance

The Office of the Attorney General - Fair Labor Division

Councilmember Kendra Brooks

Councilmember Brooks was previously a nanny.

Councilmember Nicholas O’Rourke

Councilmember O’Rourke is a descendant of domestic workers.

AFL-CIO, Philadelphia Council

215 People’s Alliance

El Comité de Trabajadores

Philly Black Worker Project

Community Legal Services

The Sheller Center at Temple Law School

WHEN: Saturday, November 18, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

WHERE: First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103)

RSVP: Press can RSVP HERE.

This summit will provide a platform for workers from various sectors to come together, share their experiences of workplace retaliation and backlash while advocating for their rights, and collaboratively develop strategies to secure protections against such challenges. Attendees will gain essential skills in storytelling, organizing conversations, and leveraging social media to share their stories and advance their demands. Furthermore, the event allows workers to connect across sectors to prepare to fight against workplace injustices.

In the spring of 2023, the NDWA Pennsylvania chapter surveyed 210 Philadelphia house cleaners, nannies, and care workers. The survey’s findings demonstrated an on-going and shocking abuse. While domestic workers continue to learn and empower each other about their rights, many employers are failing to comply with the bill’s law by resisting or fighting back via retaliation and other forms of anti-worker backlash, ignoring their legal obligations, and lacking education about these rights. Nearly half of all problems cited are violations of the existing Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. While workers won critical protections, employers continued to violate the law. Some alarming findings include:

  • 44% of respondents experienced violations of the Philadelphia Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

  • 24% of respondents experienced wage theft

  • 23% of respondents experienced retaliation when attempting to assert their legally protected rights

Quotes from Philly Black Worker Project

“The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights lifted the voices of so many domestic workers who exist along the margins! But passing legislation was the first step and now we must fight for strategic enforcement and stronger protections for those same workers who experience retaliation when they stand up for themselves,” said Brittany Alston, Director of Philly Black Worker Project. “The labor and experiences of Black and Brown workers in the city are too often invisibilized, but enough is enough! We are excited to bring Philly workers together to stand up for what they deserve and fight for anti-retaliation legislation that protects our most vulnerable workers. This legislation goes beyond domestic workers and protects us all. We stand in solidarity and struggle with NDWA’s Pennsylvania Chapter and partners to win!”

Quotes from Participating Organizations

Nicole Kligerman, Pennsylvania Chapter Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

"The 'Philly Workers Fight Back' Summit serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges workers across Philadelphia – and the country – face. Since the passage of the Philadelphia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in 2019, we've witnessed an alarming rise in incidents of retaliation, from wage theft to wrongful terminations, when workers bravely assert their rights.

Both employers and our city's elected leaders must take decisive action to ensure that workers across all sectors can exercise their rights without fear of retaliation. The 'Philly Workers Fight Back' Summit is not just an event; it's a powerful platform that demonstrates cross-sector empowerment and is a call for accountability. It symbolizes our collective commitment to ensuring every worker's rights can be enforced and protected.

Uniting and sharing our stories can ignite change and create a more just and equitable Philadelphia for all. Our city thrives when its workers are treated fairly and justly, and it's our mission to see that vision become a reality."

Adriana Barrera, Housecleaner and Member of the NDWA Philadelphia Chapter

"I've been in this cleaning business for years, and let me tell you, it's a job that deserves as much respect as any other. When I asked for my rights and got fired, it wasn't just about me. It's about all of us in these essential jobs who face unfair treatment. This summit is our wake-up call. We're standing together, showing that we won't be scared into silence. We're here, proud of our work and demanding the respect we've earned. As a monolingual immigrant, I know the extra hurdles we face, but I'm here to say, don't be afraid. Our voices are getting louder, ensuring no one else has to go through what I did. We're not just fighting for ourselves; we're lighting the way for every domestic worker. We've got the support, and we're letting our city, our country know - we're not backing down."

Outside of the quote, it's notable to mention that Adriana Barrera's retaliation story was instrumental in inspiring the creation of the Department of Labor's release of sample employment agreements for domestic workers, marking a significant advancement in the rights and protections for this vital workforce.

215 People’s Alliance and El Comité de Trabajadores

"All workers should feel that if they experience a workplace violation, they have a pathway to make a complaint to the city that safely leads to real and tangible enforcement at their workplace. It is from the bravery of workers that our city has passed important legislation like Paid Sick Leave and Fair Work Week, but those laws are not enough to protect workers from retaliation,” said, Carly Pourzand, Special Projects Director for 215 People's Alliance and Co-Coordinator of El Comité de Trabajadores. ”Restaurant work can be particularly exploitative; workers often feel that the safer path is to accept workplace violations rather than risk retaliation. We know that restaurant workers are not alone and that many workers across Philadelphia share that experience. That's why we stand in solidarity with NDWA’s Pennsylvania Chapter to put forward this important Anti-Retaliation legislation. This legislation will bring us one step closer to safer and healthier workplaces for ALL Philadelphia workers."

Philadelphia AFL-CIO

“While the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights was a game-changer for Domestic Workers, these workers still experience a high rate of retaliation from their employers. The anti-retaliation legislation being crafted by the PA Chapter of the National Alliance of Domestic Workers will strengthen our labor laws and protect workers who are often left out of other labor law.” said Philadelphia AFL-CIO President Daniel P. Bauder, “The Philly Workers Fight Back Summit will bring together workers of all sectors and industries. It will give attendees the chance to learn from their fellow worker's experiences and forge solidarity as we make a plan to pass this legislation. We look forward to working with the NDWA’s Pennsylvania Chapter, Councilmember Brooks, and our other allies to ensure this impactful legislation is passed.”

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