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American Prospect: Alternative Worker Groups Gathering Strength

American Prospect: Alternative Worker Groups Gathering Strength

In an article at the American Prospect, writer Josh Eidelson takes a look at workers organizing in industries that are often exempt from labor law. Here's an excerpt:

The ROC is a labor group. But it’s not a union. It represents a new face of the U.S. labor movement—an often-ignored, little-understood array of groups organizing workers without the union label. As unions face declining membership, these workers’ groups—like the mostly union-free job sectors they organize—are on the rise, particularly in New York. Because of their efforts, more restaurant workers in the city get paid sick days, domestic workers receive overtime pay and taxi drivers will soon have health insurance.


“Workers come to us with specific complaints,” says ROC founder Saru Jayaraman. “Then we’re able to talk to them about all of the things that they’d like to see change in their workplace. That’s what we base our campaigns on.” While the center only goes after companies that have allegedly broken the law, its legal settlements often require those companies to go above and beyond the law, by instituting new benefits like paid time off or creating formal procedures for workers to register grievances. Employers who violate the settlements risk both legal penalties and the resumption of pressure campaigns.

There's a lot more. Read it at the American Prospect.

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