Skip to main content
Cornell University mobile logo

About Equity at Work

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.

We seek to promote productive approaches to issues of diversity and equity which are fundamental to worker rights and instrumental for effective collective representation.

Lending itself to a broad-based multidisciplinary framework within the ILR School, across Cornell University and with stakeholders, the initiative contributes to effective workplace equity models.

Questions that inform our work include:

  • How are unions and worker organizations responding to the changing demographics of their membership and new expressions of representational needs?
  • How have workers previously not afforded workplace representation rights developed new forms of organization based on worker identities and communities?
  • How have these worker organizations influenced both traditional unions and workplaces?
  • How does the expansion of workplace rights impact the experience of equity and fairness in the workplace by LGBTQ and HIV-affected workers?
  • What are the workplace consequences of gender-based violence such as domestic and sexual violence, stalking, street harassment, and bullying? How should unions and workplaces address and prevent such actions and thereby contribute to the discourse for social change?
  • What are the interpersonal and organizational factors that influence actors in the workplace to take a stand against what they perceive to be inequities in the workplace?
  • How can we partner with key worker associations and employer, government and community-based coalitions to focus on the policy, research and practical applications which link quality of care issues for consumers with issues of worker dignity and model standards of working conditions?
  • How do the dynamics of the gendered nature of interpersonal relationships influence the consequences of how decision are made about work and family across regions, occupational sectors, union and non-union status, income, etc.?

Research and Publications


Gender Based Violence and Harassment: The Union’s Role in Prevention, Intervention and Cultural Change

June 15 and 21, 2022

The resurgence of the #MeToo movement, resurgence in anti-transgender legislation across the country, and the continued impacts of the pandemic have challenged unions to take on issues of gender-based violence. From anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the workplace consequences of interpersonal violence, these issues are deeply embedded in structural inequalities. The challenge requires bold and innovative strategies. Join us in our New York City office in June for two full days, of learning prevention and intervention strategies.

Workshop NYC
Register Here

We Rise Training

We Rise formed as a coalition in 2017 to address the injustices in the domestic worker industry. These organizations recognized that domestic work was largely invisibilized and undervalued and that creating a workforce empowerment program supported by a Cornell certificate and channels for organizing, would provide workers with the ability to negotiate for higher wages and launch campaigns to create a more transformative care economy.


nanny graduation
Learn more about the We Rise Training

Labor Day 2023: ILR’s Worker Institute Reflects and Recommits

We at the Worker Institute are proud of our continued work to support union and worker justice leaders with research, training, and education. We seek to equip change-makers with the skills to challenge the increasing levels of income inequality and worker precarity.
Labor Day 2023 Image
Labor Day 2023: ILR’s Worker Institute Reflects and Recommits

Amazon Labor Organizers Encourage Solidarity

For more than 300 days, Amazon workers talked with their peers to build relationships, trust and, ultimately, a union that many thought would never be possible, Amazon Labor Union leaders said at ILR during Union Days.
Chris Small speaks at 2013 Union Days
Amazon Labor Organizers Encourage Solidarity

Equity at Work Helping Expand Initiatives

The Worker Institute Equity at Work initiative supports domestic workers and their employers in improving workplace standards.
Nanny training graduation ceremony
Equity at Work Helping Expand Initiatives


For more information on our Equity at Work initiative contact: 

  • Director of Equity at Work Initiatives, Worker Institute

KC is the Director of Equity Initiative at the Worker Institute. Using an intersectional lens and a multi­disciplinary, equity centered and systems change approach, she has special

  • Director of Training and Curriculum Design, Equity and Worker Rights, Worker Institute

Arianna Schindle joins the Worker Institute as an Extension Associate for Training and Organizational Development under the Worker Rights and Equity Team.

Subscribe to Email Updates