In order to more closely study the relationship between worker centers and progressive state-based advocacy organizations, the Solidago Foundation and the Solidago Action Fund brought together leaders from thirteen worker centers and independent political organizations (IPOs) at The Women’s Building in San Francisco’s historic Mission District.
The Worker’s Rights, Worker’s Voice cohort consists of groups from California, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas, including the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, Inland Empire United, Working Partnerships USA, Silicon Valley Rising, Chinese Progressive Association San Francisco, San Francisco Rising, Centro de Trabajadores Unido en la Lucha (CTUL), Take Action Minnesota, Texas Organizing Project, Worker Defense Project, and Somos Un Pueblo Unido.
This is the first in a series of planned convenings, intentionally co-designed with the field to surface and answer questions of how funders can best support groups on the ground, and to further engage in learnings with the cohort to deepen understanding of how these collaborations take root, strategically evolve, and build worker power. Over the course of the day, we discussed and explored a wide range of issues and questions, including: How do groups navigate strategic relationships with partners such as labor and others both as individual organizations (WC/IPO) and as a collaborative? What is it about the relationship between WCs and IPOs that builds power? How do folks foster and support cohesion and relationships across aligned organizations such that it permeates day-to-day on the ground work while maintaining core membership identity; how do workers centers and IPOs navigate funding opportunities?
With support from the San Francisco Foundation, we were lucky to spend a day with this dynamic group of organizations who make up the learning cohort. We’re very early in this process, but common threads and themes emerged over the course of the day, raising important questions to consider and frame our future work together: how can we connect the local to the national organizing and funding conversations? As the broader funding landscape shifts, how can Solidago support, organize and partner with others to resource this work for the long haul?
Solidago and the Solidago Action Fund are coordinating in order to continue this exploration, lifting up and highlighting the bold experimentation, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional campaigns and strategies being developed and deployed to amplify worker voice. We are grateful for the time, energy, knowledge and expertise that leaders from the cohort organizations bring to this project, and to Manisha Vaze from NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy, for her thought partnership and instrumental role in helping shape and guide the conversations in San Francisco. We look forward to seeing everyone again at the next meeting!