Local community leaders on the Workers’ Rights Board investigate and publicize issues of economic justice in Washington, DC.
What is the Workers’ Rights Board?
The Workers’ Rights Board is a board composed of community and religious leaders, academics, prominent members of the community and public officials who support struggles for economic justice through investigations, hearings, press conferences, meetings and other events.
Why was the Workers’ Rights Board created?
Jobs with Justice originally created Workers’ Rights Boards to combat the lack of an adequate legal framework to support workers’ rights. Our Board in Washington, DC is one of over two dozen Boards across the country. Although it has no legal authority, the Boards can produce real results.
What does the Workers’ Rights Board do?
Besides holding hearings, the Workers’ Rights Board can also support worker struggles by writing supportive letters, issuing reports and press releases, organizing town hall meetings on key issues, and sending delegations of community leaders to talk to management or to public officials.
What has the DC Workers’ Rights Board done?
Our Workers’ Rights Board in DC was formed in the Fall of 2001 to support the efforts of workers at Interpark to unionize.
In December of 2001, the Board came together again to investigate the effect of September 11 on the tourism and hospitality industry and to call on our public officials to do more to aid workers laid off as a result of a drop in travel and tourism.
During the summer of 2002, the Board held its third hearing, investigating the exploitation of immigrant workers. The hearing focused on the abuses perpetrated by a local lawn services firm with a contract to maintain the city’s parks, playing fields and recreation areas. Since then, the Board has been engaged in pushing the District to review the process by which the Office of Contracting and Procurement grants contracts and follows up on complaints about the labor practices of its contractors.
A March of 2004 hearing brought together union members and community activists to discuss the various facets of the Health Care Crisis in DC, from the failure of employers to provide benefits, to difficulty the uninsured face in finding care, to the rising cost of prescription drugs for seniors.
In June 2006 and 2007, the Workers’ Rights Board convened to investigate the gap between economic growth and unemployment in DC, addressing the question of how to get more DC residents into Good Jobs. This hearing helped to kick-off the successful DC Living Wage campaign.
In the fall of 2008, the Board heald a hearing on privatization and the attack on public services and public employees in DC.
In response to dozens of reports from local workers that employers have stolen all or part of their wages, on February 2010, the Board held a hearing on the issue of Wage Theft.
In May 2012, the Workers’ Rights Board held a hearing on the issues and concerns facing women workers in the District.
Current Members (2015)
Rev. Dr. Kendrick Curry (Chair) – Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church
Elizabeth Davis – Washington Teacher’s Union
Sally Greenberg – National Consumers League
Jermaine Hampton – Friendship Place
Ed Lazere – DC Fiscal Policy Institute
Joseph A. McCartin – Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University
Patty Mullahy Fugere – Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
Ericka Taylor – DC Fair Budget Coalition
Reverend Raymond Bell – Spirit of Love and Deliverance
Parisa Norouzi – Empower DC
Terry Lynch – Downtown Cluster of Congregations
Carol Rosenblatt – CLUW
Yvette Bryant – Florida Ave Baptist Church
Kwame Brown – DC City Council, At-Large
Msgr. Raymond East – Archdiocese of Washington
Bishop Carlos Harvin – Imani Temple
Eugene DeWitt Kinlow – Washington East Foundation
Bill Lightfoot – Attorney
Phil Mendelson – DC City Council, At-Large
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Marcel Reid – DC ACORN
Rabbi Robert Saks – Congregation Bet Mishpachah
Rabbi Gerry Serotta – Temple Shalom
Rev. Lennox Yearwood., Jr. – Hip Hop Caucus