Jobs With Justice Improving Workers Rights

Founded in1987, Jobs With Justice’s (JWJ) mission is to improve people’s standard of living, fight for job security, and protect workers’ rights to organize.

JWJ coalitions now exist in over 40 cities in 29 states in all regions of the country, made up of both member organizations and thousands of individual activists who sign the pledge to be there five times a year for someone else’s struggle as well as their own.

According to JWJ, the current crisis within the labor movement creates the necessity to reaffirm some of the core principles of the organization.

“The enemies of working families and our communities have tremendous power in our society, and our shared goal is to shift the terms of struggle more towards workers’ rights, social, and economic justice,” states their website. “We will continue to commit ourselves to building power for workers and communities.”

JWJ’s local coalitions make decisions about which campaigns to support based on criteria which include worker involvement. The literature states that labor and community groups need each other to win and build power.

In 1987 more than 11,000 attended the first JWW rally in Miami, FL.

In 1990 JWJ coordinated a Health Care Day of Action when tens of thousands of workers in 40 states participated in worksite activities and group demos. In June 1991 the organization coordinated a Health Care Week of Action targeting insurance bureaucracy and in June 1993 they organized actions in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) nationwide to demand that the Board uphold the right to organize unions.

In June 1995 JWW organized a nationwide week of action against the corporate arena and in 1996 coordinated a Corporate Greed Day of Action to protest excessive executive compensation, layoffs, downsizing, and the abuse of workers’ rights.

In 1997 they held a second day of action to Fight Corporate Greed specifically on the anti-worker practices of Gannett and General Electric.

On July 14, 1997 JWL coalitions across the country took action to demand justice regarding Sprint who had fired 177 Latina workers eight days prior to a union vote.

On Dec. 10, 1997 JWJ coordinated a day of action for Welfare/Workfare to debate about welfare on good jobs and social justice.

In August 1998 local JWJ coalitions took action to support workers striking against mandatory overtime at US West and on Dec. 8th, building on the Welfare/Workfare Justice Day of Action, JWJ, with the National Priorities Project released a report, “Working Hard, Earning Less: The Story of Job Growth in America,” showing the economy’s failure to create quality wage jobs and to guarantee employee protections.

State Representative Adam Smith participated in a Workers’ Rights Board hearing organized by Washington State Jobs with Justice recently.

“There is no doubt in my mind how vital good living-wage jobs are to the success of our economy and the well-being of our community,” said Smith. “Determining which policies will preserve these jobs now and 100 years from now is a harder task, but it begins with talking to workers on the ground and forming partnerships in all levels of government and in the community.”

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