Work just isn’t working for too many in America today. The government agencies charged with protecting workers’ health and safety have abandoned scores of regulatory priorities and scaled back enforcement efforts, leaving millions of workers under-protected. Millions of people work without such basic rights as paid sick days. Too many who try to organize in order to negotiate improved working conditions in their workplaces end up fired or find their efforts undermined by anti-organizing campaigns. Those whose rights are violated sometimes discover they lack meaningful remedies, as they either must depend on government agencies that may not respond to their problems or face obstacles to exercising their right to take their cases to court.
The Foundation’s Workers’ Rights Program supports groups seeking policy and system reforms to improve the lives of low-wage working people, with a focus on securing their basic legal rights to safe, healthy, and fair conditions at work. Specifically, the Program makes grants to groups seeking reforms that will do the following:
- Make Work Safe and Healthy– by preventing illness, injury, and death on the job, and improving workers’ compensation;
- Make Work Pay– by empowering workers to hold low-road employers accountable for wage theft, misclassification, and contingent work abuse, particularly through policies that create or improve private rights of action and fee-shifting; and
- Build Workers’ Advocacy Power– by improving the ability of low-wage workers to act collectively for policy and system reform.
Additionally, the Program supports investigative journalism, national broadcast news coverage, and other high-profile media and public education about workers’ rights issues.