Initiatives

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.

Initiatives

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:

Public Sector

initiative / public sector

People from various career fields in the public sector

The Public Sector Initiative explores the contemporary interplay between public sector workers, unions, employers, taxpayers, and policymakers. There is no shortage of topics to be examined as budget considerations are pitted against consumers' needs, traditional roles of government are challenged, and workers and their representatives confront the uncertainties of privatization, outsourcing, and other cost-shifting proposals.

Precarious Workforce

initiative / Workforce

Immigrant workers harvesting crops in a field

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.

Labor, Environment and Sustainable Development

initiative / sustainable

Laborers installing solar panels on a roof

The Labor, Environment, and Sustainable Development Initiative advances knowledge, policies, and practices to enhance the role of labor and working people in addressing the environmental and climate crises. The initiative's efforts focus on building a truly sustainable society and economy.

The initiative also helps workers’ rights advocates to better understand the employment and labor implications of environmental, climate and sustainability issues through a variety of activities:

International Collective Action

initiative / action

International factory workers assembling clocks

In today’s global economy, the representation of workers’ interests can no longer reside only at national and local levels. As economic governance has gone global and as employers have gone multinational, so must collective representation and the promotion of strong labor standards.