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Supporting Workers’ Rights is an Investment

Thursday, 19 January 2023 09:52

The struggle to fill positions in a consistently strong job market has become increasingly more challenging for organizations that provide programs for children and youth. With rising economic inequality, declining working standards, pent-up demand for a greater voice at work, and shifting pressures caused by the pandemic, supporting workers’ rights have become increasingly vital to the well-being of both nonprofit and corporate realms. With the rising tide of need, philanthropic organizations should consider reprioritizing funds to invest in the protection and advancement of rights for out-of-school time professionals. 

Seizing opportunities to rebuild a national economic system that is equitable and sustainable can start at an organizational level. As leaders in the field, we can leverage dollars for workers' rights in a few, clear ways. 

Elevate the voices of underrepresented workers. Revise and tailor policies to workers of all backgrounds, create community through mentorship, and make sure they are at the tables where decisions are being made – committees, cohorts, initiatives – you name it.

Create and maintain high-quality jobs. Raise your wages to at least $15 an hour, and offer affordable health insurance, paid sick days, or opportunities for training and advancement.

Support improved labor laws. Equip your organization’s advocates with resources for effectively engaging in a range of pro-employee activities, including efforts to raise wages and benefits, enforce workplace safety, and build worker power.

Lend strength to the social movements in your community. Team up with local organizations committed to confronting the weight of racism and gender discrimination in the labor market that can influence opportunities and rights for workers.

Together, we can catalyze philanthropic investments to protect and advance the rights of afterschool workers while helping to empower those vulnerable to exploitation in the care sector.