This summer, worker centers gained public notoriety with staged strikes at fast-food restaurants and Wal-Mart. Their effectiveness in gaining media attention has not been lost on labor unions, as the likes of SEIU, UFCW, UNITE-HERE and other unions are worker centers’ primary benefactors.
Big Labor invests in worker centers due to their non-profit or education organization status. As such, federal labor law does not apply to worker centers. This allows groups like Fast-Food Forward or OUR Wal-Mart to engage in tactics that unions cannot.
Specifically, workers centers may protest/picket an employer for over 30 days without calling for a union election and bypass union financial transparency standards. In addition, worker centers can demand concessions from employers without gaining representation over employees.
While worker centers may be a wise investment for labor unions, it is not for taxpayers. These supposed non-profit worker centers have received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds.
Various federal agencies award worker centers grants, with the most generous being the Department of Labor.
Below is a list of worker centers that have been awarded federal grants, agency and total amount:
- Worker Justice Center of New York, Inc: Department of Justice, Department of Labor. Total awarded: $646,791
- Interfaith Worker Justice: Department of Labor. Total awarded: $562,927
- Farmworker Justice/ Farmworker Justice Fund: Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and Environmental Protection Agency. Total awarded: $5,728,640
- Casa De Maryland: Treasury Department, Department of Labor, and Department of Education. Total awarded: $1,198,390
- Asian Immigrant Women Advocates, Inc: Department of Labor. Total awarded: $232,104
- National Day Labor Organizing Network: Department of Labor. Total awarded: $914,263
- Restaurant Opportunities Centers United/ROC-NY: Department of Human and Services, Department of Labor. Total awarded: $981,140
- Central Arizona Shelter Services: Department of Veteran Affairs. Total awarded: $1,233,093
- Total awarded to worker centers: $11,497,348
Learn more at WorkerCenters.com