Liberty Hill’s new Fund for Economic Equity and Dignity (FEED) has made its first round of grants to five strong California worker-led organizations combating wage theft. These are just-in-time grants! Thanks to quick work by our team, we’re able to get this money to the grassroots just as the statewide coalition to pass SB 588, California’s landmark anti-wage theft enforcement bill, is gearing up for the final stage! The bill has been passed by the California State Legislature and now grassroots groups are working round-the-clock to win Governor Brown’s signature!
The campaign against wage theft is one of the three cornerstones of Liberty Hill’s Push for Power—our targeted fundraising initiative to push three high-momentum issues over the finish line to change. The Fund for Economic Equity and Dignity (FEED) is Liberty Hill’s unique partnership with the Service Employees International Union California State Council. Our goal is to raise funds from unions, foundations, and individual donors to make multi-year investments across the state that will increase capacity for worker-organizing groups and build a strong and long-term labor/community partnership.
The grant recipients are:
If you haven’t experienced wage theft, you can hardly believe it can happen in California. It’s a massive problem—in Los Angeles, low wage workers lose $26.2 million each week to wage theft (learn more in this L.A. Times article which includes stories from some of the janitor-leaders of the new grantee, Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund). And be sure to check out this Southern California Public Radio story about the bill’s passage quoting Alexandra Suh of KIWA.
According to Victor Narro, Project Director for the UCLA Labor Center, the statewide anti-wage theft coalition “represents one of the best examples of statewide partnership between community organizations and unions…[it] has given labor partners the practical expertise and close connection of organizations serving low-wage, nonunion workers, and it has given worker centers and community partners access to the institutional strengths of the labor movement.”