Workers’ Rights


Work just isn’t working for too many in America today. Too often, hard-working people have their wages stolen by employers who refuse to pay the promised wage, the legally required wage, or sometimes any wage at all. Other employers cut too many corners, leaving workers vulnerable to being hurt, getting sick or even killed on the job. Injury and illness reduce workers’ ability to earn a living, compromise their overall health, and saddle workers and their families with expensive medical bills.

Making matters worse, workers often lack sufficient clout to negotiate for improved conditions, even though it is their right to do so. And those workers whose rights are violated sometimes discover that they have no meaningful remedies. They are left to depend on government agencies that may or may not have the resources to respond to their problems, or they are constrained from exercising their right to take their cases to court.


The Foundation’s Workers’ Rights Program supports policy and system reforms to improve the lives of low-wage working people in the United States, with a focus on securing their basic legal rights to safe, healthy, and fair conditions at work. Specifically, the Program makes grants to groups working to:

Chris Owens & Laura Huizar

Charlotte Brody

 Celeste Monforton


Rachel Micah-Jones

 Interview with crab picker


Bruce Goldstein


Tammy Miser of United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities



Workers' Rights News


Combatting Wage Theft

Workers who consistently are not paid what they are owed are helped by advocates like the National Employment Law Project, a Public Welfare Foundation grantee.… Full Story


Recovering Stolen Wages

The latest report from a Public Welfare Foundation grantee shows some gains in the fight to collect unpaid wages for low-income workers. … Full Story


Forcing Employees into Arbitration

Workers are increasingly compelled to settle disputes with employers through private proceedings, giving up their right to go to court. … Full Story


The Pervasiveness of Wage Theft

A new study by a Public Welfare Foundation grantee shows how costly minimum wage violations are to low-wage workers in 10 key states.… Full Story

Workers' Rights Resources

Visa Pages: Guide to U.S. Temporary Foreign Worker VisasLink

National Study of Public Attitudes on Forced Arbitration: Polling DataLink

Taking “Forced” Out of Arbitration: Guide to Forced Arbitration in EmploymentLink

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