Interfaith Worker Justice began in 1996 with the mission of engaging the religious community in issues and campaigns to improve wages, benefits and working conditions for workers –especially low-wage workers. In order to support workers who are not represented by unions, a new network of worker centers has emerged.
What is the network?
The IWJ Worker Center Network was officially formed in 2005. It is one of the largest networks in the country, consisting of more than 30 Workers Centers spanning the United States from Maine to Southern California. It is also the only non-sector specific network in the country, focusing on building a broad and diverse platform for low-wage, non-union workers across all sectors, many of whom are excluded from labor law.
What does the network do?
Worker Centers in the network come together to address the root causes of widespread economic disparity and indignity in the workplace. The IWJ Worker Center Network is currently a leader in the national fight against wage theft, advocacy for worker health and safety, immigration reform and aid for unemployed workers. As the network matures, it grows stronger both in political and grassroots power, working on and winning policy campaigns, worksite campaigns and serving more than 16,000 workers across the country each year.
How is the network connected to the faith community?
Many of the IWJ-affiliated worker centers are outgrowths of local religion-labor coalitions. They retain the same commitment to engaging faith communities even as they provide spaces for low-wage workers to organize for better wages benefits and dignity in the workplace.
Were all of the centers in the network started by IWJ interfaith groups?
No. As the network matures, independently formed workers’ centers are joining the growing network in order to share resources, collaborate in strategy, and build power locally, regionally and nationally.
What is the role of workers in the network?
We believe that the only way to build power and make long term progress in the lives of low-wage, non-union workers is by ensuring they lead the campaigns and determine the agenda for themselves.
How is the network governed?
Affiliated Worker Centers in the IWJ network make decisions on campaigns and strategy collectively and meet regularly to have discussions and determine the national agenda as a network.