The Solidago Foundation’s Worker’s Rights, Worker’s Voice Project supports worker-led movements by creating the space and opportunity to share learnings, generate dialogue, and advance collaborative strategies between worker centers and independent political organizations (IPOs). Grounded in the lived experience of workers in low-wage and informal occupations where immigrants, women, and workers of color comprise significant and increasing parts of the workforce, this project amplifies stories, identifies best practices, and harnesses innovation from the field, to create a roadmap for aligned organizations engaged in this vital work.
In the first collaboration of its kind, Solidago is inviting eleven c3 and c4 partner organizations from four states into a yearlong learning cohort to examine how these partnerships – together with wider coalitions – can seed a new progressive flank of the labor movement and influence the governing process.
These organizations bring expertise from the fields of low-wage worker organizing, electoral politics, and civic engagement, with extensive experience engaging workers and mobilizing communities to contest for power in critical arenas of progressive governance: electoral, legislative, administrative, corporate and narrative governing power.
For years, workers engaged in low-wage jobs across sectors have faced threats to livelihood, safety, and security. As these struggles intensify, worker-led organizations are galvanized to build, shift and re-center power to those who very often exist and persist at the margins of our economy.
Solidago will disseminate key learnings from the Worker’s Rights, Worker’s Voice cohort with funder and field colleagues. Through this exploration, the project raises worker’s voice to increase strategic resources and capacity in the field.
Worker centers are community-based organizations that emerged to fill a gap in the labor movement. Historically, traditional labor organizations did not focus on low-wage and informal occupations like restaurant workers, day laborers, and domestic workers, nor among growing segments of the workforce: immigrants, women, and workers of color in often-precarious working conditions. The strategic interventions of worker centers over the last decade-plus have included transforming industry standards, modernizing and enforcing labor standards, improving job quality, and raising awareness about low-wage work. Often through deep organizing among workers and local policy campaigns, they have addressed the needs of a workforce that lacks access to both collective bargaining agreements and political representation.
Independent political organizations (IPOs) are organizations that build political power for its base, without relying primarily on the support or leadership of a mainstream institution or political party. An IPO works to win power in its jurisdiction in any number of ways, including efforts to recruit, endorse, elect, support and hold accountable, candidates for office. Solidago engages with IPOs that are rooted in multiracial progressive politics and run campaigns and elect leaders that support these politics. IPOs raise funds from their members and supporters to maintain as independent of a financial base as possible, making it possible to make independent, democratic decisions, about their priorities and how to advance the interests of their constituency.
Join us: Solidago welcomes collaboration, shared learning, and increased support to the field. Together we can make a difference for workers in gaining their power and voice.