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Workers Organizing Center
CPA’s Workers Organizing Center (WOC) developed out of large scale manufacturing worker organizing campaigns at the onset of the recent economic recession in the 2001. To date, CPA has organized hundreds of manufacturing workers to recover over $2.5 million dollars in back wages owed to them and to hold their former sweatshop bosses accountable. Through these major campaigns, CPA worked closely with key legal and grassroots community based organizations. In 2003, CPA played a coordinating role in winning the San Francisco Minimum Wage Ordinance and in 2006 played a key role with allies to pass the SF Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, and Minimum Wage Enforcement Legislation.
Given the continued impacts of global outsourcing on low-income immigrant workers, CPA made a strategic shift to organize the Chinese restaurant industry, the highest concentration of Chinese immigrant workers in San Francisco with over 14,000 workers. CPA launched our Restaurant Worker Justice Campaign in 2004 and organized workers to collect over $700,000 dollars in back wages. We believe that organizing restaurant workers in Chinatown around raising the health and labor industry standards will create a ripple-effect throughout the restaurant and other low-wage industries city-wide. We view this work of as transforming “bad jobs” into “good jobs” for low-wage immigrant workers. In fact, we believe that labor law enforcement and worker organizing is the best job creation and retention strategy, especially in this dire economic crisis.
To build grassroots low wage worker power city-wide, in 2005 the Worker Organizing Center launched a strategic multi-racial low wage worker alliance called the May 1st Alliance for Land, Work and Power with Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), La Raza Central Legal – Day Labor Program and St. Peters Housing Committee. This alliance has provided an important space for members to exchange, to do joint May 1st Actions and Anti-War marches and to provide mutual support and solidarity for campaigns.
For more information, call Shaw San Liu at 415-391-6986 x 313