Announcing the 2015-2016 LIFT Fund Grantees

afl cio handsDear Sisters and Brothers,


We are excited to share with you the grants awarded for the 2015-2016 LIFT Fund grant cycle. The LIFT Fund received a total of 66 LOI’s reflecting amazing joint work you all are doing alongside our affiliates and worker centers to create and grow the power of working people throughout the country. Attached you will find the LIFT Fund press release where we jointly announce the 2015-2016 LIFT Fund grantees. Additionally, we have included the short descriptions of the grantee partnerships below for your convenience.


As you may recall, the Labor Innovations for the 21st Century (LIFT) is a first-of-its-kind partnership between labor unions, foundations and worker centers. Its goal is to strengthen and advance the movement for the rights of working people through good jobs and a fair economy. By funding collaborative projects between worker centers and traditional labor organizations. Having been founded in 2011, this marks the LIFT Fund’s 4th grant cycle thanks to the support of our ongoing partnership with the Ford Foundation, General Services Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Solidago Foundation.

The LIFT Fund supports efforts to create the right conditions across industries and geography to improve the lives of all working people and while its grantees work locally and are geographically diffuse, the impact of their work can and has had a national impact. To date, the LIFT Fund has awarded over $2 million in grants to 55 joint worker center-union projects that are continuing to push the envelope on new strategies, building worker power and advancing innovative models for worker organizing.


If you should have any questions regarding the 2015-2016 LIFT Fund grantees, please feel free to contact me, at


In Solidarity,


Neidi Dominguez







Adhikaar (Labor partner: New York Central Labor Council)

This partnership will work to raise standards in the $2.7 billion nail salon industry in New York, which employs some of the lowest-paid workers. Through research, organizing and cultivating worker-leaders it will explore different membership and collective bargaining models, and a “code of conduct” to engage high road employers.


Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores (Labor partner: UFCW)

This partnership will build accountability structures to confront rampant subcontracting abuses around wages and working conditions throughout the seafood industry supply chain. It is part of a broad collaboration with the National Guestworker Alliance and UFCW in New Bedford, MA.


Communities United/Albany Park (Labor partner: AFSCME Council 31)

This partnership will launch a “mobile worker center” to organize taxi drivers in their homes and neighborhoods in Chicago’s Northwest side. The mobile worker center will be a resource for traditionally hard-to-organize workers.


Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (Labor partner: Minnesota Regional Labor Federation)

This partnership will launch a worker-led campaign to establish a labor standards enforcement office in Minneapolis. This will include gathering data from workers on enforcement failures, seizing upon the energy of municipal labor policy fights, and continuing outreach and training for low-wage workers.

Food Chain Workers Alliance and Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center (Labor partner: UFCW)

This partnership will work to win the adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP) in Cincinnati. GFPP, a food procurement policy that supports transparent “farm-to-fork” standards using a social, racial and economic justice lens, has successfully supported union organizing, created good jobs and united a multi-sector coalition of labor, environmental, animal welfare, health, and food justice organizations.


Fuerza Laboral (Labor partner: IUPAT District Council 11, District Council 35)

This partnership will organize and develop worker leaders and committees and use direct action to target labor-rights violators, particularly subcontractors in the Rhode Island commercial and residential construction industry. The goal is to make long-term changes in the industry, which relies on low, race-to-the bottom wages for workers. This is in collaboration with Metrowest Worker Center.


LA Black Worker Center (Labor partner: Los Angeles County Federation of Labor)

This partnership will work for the creation of a world-class office of labor standards enforcement for the City of Los Angeles to effectively uphold anti-discrimination laws, push for fair wages and provide the resources to promote access to quality jobs for Black workers.


LA Coalition Againhest Wage Theft (Labor partner: Los Angeles County Federation of Labor)   

This multi-sector, multi-industry and multi-ethnic collaboration between several Los Angeles based worker centers and the LA County Federation, will work to ensure an effective and timely implementation of the new anti-wage theft ordinance, with robust enforcement mechanisms in the city, including advocacy, worker outreach, trainings and more.


New Labor (Labor partner: United Steel Workers District 4)

This partnership will produce a joint USW local in the Newark area to represent workers in low wage jobs and together establish a wage floor and strong worker protections, including collective-bargaining agreements and citywide Responsible Employer Pacts (REPs) for a largely Filipino and Latino immigrant community.


New York Communities for Change (Labor partner: Taxi Workers Alliance)

This partnership will engage in a public policy campaign in New York to create strong local accountability regulations for Uber and Airbnb and other gig economy businesses, to establish effective worker protections.


OLÉ Educational Fund (Labor partner: CWA & AFT)

This partnership will aggressively campaign for a Sick Days trust as a complement to its policy work around the Fair Work Week ordinance in Albuquerque, N.M., that will provide both earned sick days and protection against scheduling-related abuses.


ONE DC (Labor partner: LIUNA Local 55)

This partnership will support a joint campaign to ensure that a recently-approved development project – Brookland Manor, which is in a predominantly Black and Latino community in Washington, D.C., – will have a strong community benefits agreement, including affordable housing and access to union jobs for workers in that neighborhood.


One Voice (Labor partner: UAW)

This partnership will continue its efforts to create a new organizing model that effectively supports both union and nonunion worker organizing in Mississippi. This will be done through building labor organizing infrastructure, new membership and revenue-generation models, training and research.


Somos un Pueblo Unido (Labor partner: AFL-CIO)  

The focus of this partnership will be to develop and test a self-organizing model of unionization across New Mexico in this self-contained low-wage market. This would replicate a model of worker-led initiatives to expand and strengthen effective worksite committees.


Voces de la Frontera (Labor partner: AFT Local 212)  

This partnership will focus on building and sharing capacity to establish a strong neighborhood network of working-family committees in Milwaukee to demand the protection of public education and a strong pro-immigrant rights agenda in the schools.


Workers Defense Project (Labor partner: Texas Building Trades Council)

This partnership will raise labor standards for non-union workers at construction sites while simultaneously protecting union jobs and building unity between workers. The Better Builder project pushes for higher labor standards through agreements with developers, companies and construction projects, and later, in collaboration with workers and monitors to ensure standards are met.


Workers Dignity Dignidad Obrera (Labor partner: Ironworkers International Union)

This partnership will organize worker committees through its Construction-to-Cleaning strategy to connect workers throughout several stages of the development process in the urban core of Nashville’s booming hospitality sector.

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