This is the first in a regular series of blogs spotlighting organizations tackling major issues in Central Texas.
Guest post from Workers Defense Project:
Workers Defense Project (WDP) is a membership-based organization that empowers low-income workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing and strategic partnerships. WDP was founded in August 2002 by employees and volunteers of Casa Marianella, a local Austin shelter, to address the problem of unpaid wages for Austin’s low-wage workers.
WDP is a worker center that provides low-wage workers, concentrating on the construction industry, with legal solutions for wage theft, discrimination and injury cases, as well as ESL classes, safety classes, and the leadership development they need to improve their working and living conditions. With these important resources, WDP members are able to change the conditions that negatively impact working families. WDP provides a source of power and hope for low-wage workers and is part of a national movement of organizations that seek to achieve sustainable change for working families. The organization is one of the most established worker centers in the South and a leader in fighting for fair conditions for working people.
WDP envisions a future where all low-wage and immigrant workers are treated with dignity and respect. In the wake of the 2016 election, WDP has renewed its commitment to fighting for the rights of low-wage workers and immigrants disproportionately affected by the policies of the current administration and its impact on local and statewide governance. This push back includes winning big changes in the construction industry and beyond, including:
- Passing an ordinance requiring paid sick leave for all employees within the City of Austin;
- Ensuring paid rest breaks for all construction workers in Austin and Dallas;
- Suing the State of Texas over the anti-immigrant law SB 4, and moving every major city in Texas to join the lawsuit;
- Winning fair pay and safe working conditions for more than 16,000 construction workers through WDP’s innovative Better Builder® program; and
- Recovering more than $1.7 million in unpaid wages for more than 1,800 workers.