The Arizona Worker Rights Center celebrated its five year anniversary on Sept. 2.
The Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice (AIAWJ) established in 2006 joined collectively, with local faith leaders and the national office of IWJ to collaboratively address the issues facing workers in the state. During its first year, the AIAWJ led a state-wide coalition to "Raise the Minimum Wage for Working Arizonans," engaged in a ballot initiative and partnered alongside low-wage workers in residential construction, hotel and worker campaigns. AIAWJ also aided in resourcing low-income communities of faith to civic engagement activities.
Seeking to expand, the AIAWJ decided to open a worker center in 2008 to help with trainings workers be better self-advocate and strategically plan ways to address workplace injustice. Under the AIAWJ, the Arizona Worker Rights Center was formed. The center has already helped recover $450,00 in stolen wages and help to document $1.8 million dollars with workers.
Serving the general public, it has served close to 400 underrepresented Spanish-speaking workers from the construction, landscape, and cleaning industries. The community of workers at the center has assisted in preparing intake interviews with the EEOC, and successfully contest denied unemployment benefits while represent themselves in small claims and civil court.
In the next five years, Ileana Salines, Director of Operations said:
In the next five years, AIAWJ plans on moving to a stable and permanent location in a vibrant neighborhood within Phoenix, Ariz., to continue offering case management services community garden, know-your-rights and health and safety trainings and leadership development classes. With a more permanent location, it is in the hopes of AIAWJ board, staff and volunteers to be able to open a Day Labor center, expand and win the anti-wage theft campaign; and empower more workers to fight...
The Arizona Worker planned an evening of celebration "Siembra y Cosecha" for a night of dinner, art and music to commemorate its five years, yet planting the seeds for future growth.
IWJ congratulates our affiliated Arizona worker rights center for its 5 years and are excited to see the future development of the organization!
Photo Courtesy of Arizona Worker Rights Center