The Worker Institute's research, education, and public engagement will focus on central themes that address the interests of working families, including the revitalization of workers' rights and collective representation in a more sustainable society. In all areas, we emphasize innovative ideas, strategies and policies. We start with five core initiatives in the following areas: strategy and leadership development for organizations promoting representation; economic and environmental sustainability to create jobs while bringing together worker and environmental interests; workplace diversity and equity; problems and strategies for precarious workers who lack employment security; and international collective action. Other compelling themes that will shape the Institute's work include immigrant rights and representation, health care service delivery, youth and the labor movement, workers' rights and representation in the public sector, and alternative forms of representation.


Equity at Work

initiative / equity

Employees celebrating equality in the workplace

The Equity at Work initiative examines how the workplace is impacted by the evolving and changing norms of the social construction of gender roles, identity, and expression. This includes discussion of current and evolving workers' rights, the workplace contexts in which they currently exist, and individual, organizational and cultural interventions that promote and expand employment issues of respect, fairness, equity and justice.

Strategic Leadership

initiative / leadership

People gathered for a strategic planning session

The Strategic Leadership Initiative focuses on labor movement leadership development, strategy design and organizational change in unions, professional associations and other worker organizations.

The initiative seeks to engage with leaders at the highest levels of labor and worker formations that are committed to organizational transformation and interested in innovative strategies. This encompasses four broad areas of work:

Precarious Workforce

initiative / Workforce

A woman speaks at the center of a meeting of women day laborers in Williamsburg

The Precarious Workforce Initiative focuses on the labor rights and socioeconomic conditions of low-wage and contingent workers, who receive little or no benefits and have largely no institutional or legal protection.

These workers constitute the most vulnerable segment of the workforce. Their ranks include, but are not limited to, day laborers, immigrants, domestic workers, young workers, the unemployed and the formerly incarcerated.