Unemployed Workers United is organizing a multiracial and multigenerational movement with unemployed, underemployed, and workers in precarious employment conditions dedicated and committed to creating an economy and society that respects all working people, their families and their communities. We organize workers across the nation with a focus on the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Tennessee, and Texas.
See our attached letter describing our recommendations on advancing worker equity in:
Outreach and Education
We believe that effective DOL enforcement and effective worker outreach and education are inextricably linked. Workers are the most important enforcement partners that DOL has; when workers know their rights and assert these rights, this results in enhanced and strengthened workplace enforcement. Thus, we suggest the following ideas for DOL both to conduct outreach and education with, and to protect and enforce the rights of, workers from historically underserved communities.
Create Worker Equity Advisory Committees Within DOL -- The DOL should create Worker Equity Advisory Committees in order to institutionalize a mechanism for DOL to lift up worker voice and to hear and learn from workers about how to strengthen the equity, effectiveness, and impact of DOL policies and programs. The Committees should be located in the DOL divisions with jurisdiction relating to workers' rights and workplace conditions and be composed of directly impacted workers and worker organization representatives, including: Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) workers, immigrant workers especially those who are undocumented including Indigenous migrants, women of color workers, LGBTQIA+ workers of color, workers of color who are differently abled, justice impacted workers, workers in low-paid industries especially those with a significant degree of worker exploitation, and workers who have direct experience with the challenges of workplace enforcement. There should be adequate DOL staffing and resources to ensure the effectiveness and impact of these Worker Equity Advisory Committees in amplifying worker voice and advancing worker equity.
Incorporate a Worker "Know Your Rights" Component into Workforce Development Trainings -- The DOL should explore ways to integrate culturally and linguistically effective worker "know your rights" training into DOL-funded workforce -development training programs on topics such as: wage and hour rights; the right to healthy, safe, and discrimination/harassment-free workplaces; the right to employee benefits to which workers may be entitled; the right to organize and form and join unions and worker organizations; the right not to be retaliated against for engaging in protected activity; and what to do if these rights are violated, including information on referrals to trusted and credible nonprofit organizations that offer free services.
By integrating "know your rights" education as a routine part of DOL-funded and supported workforce development trainings, an increased number of workers would understand and exercise their workplace rights. This would significantly strengthen the DOL's outreach, education, and enforcement efforts and bolster the DOL's impact in advancing worker equity and economic opportunities.