Since 2011, immigrant workers in New York and New Jersey have organized with Laundry Workers Center (LWC), to raising their own voices and leading their struggle. Our first campaign began with just a few workers, since then LWC has now partnered with hundreds of workers who have won their fight against wage theft, unsafe working conditions, discrimination, racism, and sexual harassment at the workplace.
Laundry Workers Center is rooted in the principles that every person has the right to a safe, equitable workplace, and that social change is built from the bottom up; directly affected communities must lead their own solutions.
Our 3 core programs serve to directly combat exploitation by training and activating workers to organize for small and large-scale reform:
- Workplace Justice Campaigns provide the tools and education to low-wage workers in the laundry and restaurant industries to build better, sustainable
- jobs and community leaders.
- Research and Policy helps to engage communities on policies that have large socio economic impacts such as civil rights, immigration reform and dignity in the workplace.
- The Progressive Block Leadership Institute is a member training that provides innovative educational training to low-income community members on leadership development, social media, and grassroots, civics and community organizing.
The Progressive Bloc Leadership Institute is open to any low-wage worker who is committed to improving their workplace through collective organizing. Emerging leaders develop skills in leadership, labor rights, civic engagement and community organizing. To graduate the Institute, leaders must utilize their training to launch their own workplace or community campaign.
Impact on Workers
Beatriz Ramirez, an LWC member who faced retribution at work for demanding protection at work during the height of the pandemic.
The following article highlights the need for supporting excluded workers such as Beatriz: Ready for a Fresh Start (Indypendent)
After many years of suffering abuse at the workplace, I joined the Laundry Workers Center with my coworkers in 2014 to launch a campaign against the restaurant to demand dignity and respect, not just from Liberato, but all over the Bronx and beyond. I participated in Laundry Workers Center training and after two years fighting against wage theft, verbal abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment, my co-workers and I won the campaign. After winning the campaign and recovering what the company owned, I decided to open my own restaurant called La Essencia. I treat my employees with dignity, respecting the law and their rights. LWC is an amazing organization that supports its members until the end. For me it is admirable how they teach and empower workers.
Now, I am living my dream. My co-workers and the Laundry Workers Center empowered me; now I know my rights. They changed my life. I opened my restaurant to inspire others. Everything is possible if we organize.