Worker Power Project Grantees

EARN’s Worker Power Project focuses on expanding the ability of working people to achieve racial, gender, and economic justice through organizing, collective bargaining, and state and local policy change. Confronting entrenched power imbalances and decades of active suppression of workers’ rights, the Worker Power Project works with EARN groups and partners to ensure all workers—including those long excluded from state or federal legal protections—can freely exercise the right to join together in a union and gain a voice on the job.

Key project strategies include:

  • Winning state and local policy changes that build worker power and advance racial and
    gender justice: Identifying and advancing state or local policies that expand rights of workers—
    including those historically excluded from state or federal legal protections—to freely exercise
    the right to join together in a union, gain a voice on the job, and collectively bargain with
  • Building worker power research capacity and policy partnerships: Expanding capacity of EARN
    groups to co-lead research and advocacy on state and local worker power policies, while
    developing or deepening on-the-ground partnerships among EARN groups, labor unions, and
    worker centers.
  • Developing robust, research-based worker justice narratives: Generating and widely
    disseminating research reports, case studies, and other published products that tell coherent
    state, regional, and national stories about worker power and its importance, explain and assess
    the impact of state and local worker power policies, and shape public discourse on the economic
    and equity impacts of unions and the importance of expanding workers’ rights to form or join
  • The project provides active support to EARN groups engaged in building worker power at the state or
    local level by facilitating partnerships, sharing resources and technical assistance, and developing
    strategic partnerships among EARN groups, labor unions, and grassroots organizations.

EARN Worker Power Project grantees (2023-2025)

Common Good Iowa

Common Good Iowa will partner with the Iowa Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), the Iowa BlueGreen Alliance, and the University of Iowa Labor Center to ensure that projects receiving federal investments will create good jobs — jobs that pay well, offer benefits and that can be organized — in the transition to a renewable energy future. Project goals include expanding apprenticeship opportunities for Black, Brown and women workers, accessing federal funds for Just Energy Transition plans that expand good job and apprenticeship opportunities in rural communities transitioning from coal power, and work with local governments and developers to ensure adoption of high labor standards in utility-scale solar projects across the state.    

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Policy (Virginia)    

The Commonwealth Institute will partner with the Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades Association, IBEW Local 26, and the Northern Virginia Labor Federation to educate local and state lawmakers about opportunities to secure federal BIL, IRA, and CHIPS investments in Virginia, ensure public projects include provisions for prevailing wage, registered apprenticeship, and other means of building worker power, and develop research-based narratives highlighting the impact of these projects on increasing union density and delivering for working families in Virginia.   

Kentucky Policy Center   

KyPolicy will work in partnership with the Kentucky AFL-CIO and the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council to improve job quality and build worker power in two critical industries in the state. In the auto sector, project partners will build on the success of the new UAW contract to develop a pressure campaign on the non-unionized auto industry, including new federally-subsidized EV plants, to support unionization drives. In the construction sector, the project will identify key administrative, legislative, and local actions to promote high-road labor standards and better access to good union infrastructure jobs for workers from distressed communities.   

Keystone Research Center (Pennsylvania)  

Keystone Research Center will work in partnership with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council to increase/leverage federal industrial policy investments for projects that adopt local hire/community benefits policies and grow union jobs including for women and workers of color; develop and diffuse robust, research-based worker justice narratives that increase worker organizing and success rates; win state and local policy changes that also increase organizing and win rates and advance racial and gender justice; and grow worker power research capacity in the state.   

Maine Center for Economic Policy   

MECEP will work in partnership with the Maine Labor Climate Council, the Maine AFL-CIO, and the Maine State Building and Construction Trades Council to ensure federal investments— specifically in the affordable housing, clean energy generation, and energy efficiency construction and manufacturing sectors —lead to good union jobs and increase the power of workers to advocate for their interests. The project will advance and enforce state and federal legislation that requires or incentivizes union labor on selected projects receiving federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) investments, and that supports bottom-up worker organizing.  

Think Tennessee   

Think Tennessee will work with labor partners including UAW and the Middle Tennessee Central Labor Council to support worker organizing and ensure that workers—including women and people of color—benefit from public investment in the state’s auto industry. The project will focus especially on developing community benefits agreements and apprenticeship programs to ensure quality jobs result from Ford’s Blue Oval City Project, which is projected to generate 27,000 new jobs to rural communities in West Tennessee.     

Washington Center on Budget and Policy    

The Washington Center on Budget and Policy will partner with Firelands Workers United/Trabajadores Unidos to use federal weatherization funds to support good union and green jobs, advance immigrant justice, and ensure Black, Indigenous, immigrant, people of color, and low-income communities can access home repairs that allow them to stay in healthy, updated, energy-efficient homes in several small towns and rural communities in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties on the Olympic Peninsula.  


EARN Worker Power Project grantees (2021-2023)

The Commonwealth Institute (Virginia) – This project will advance worker power in Virginia through
strengthening collective bargaining rights and union density for public sector workers while lifting up the
importance of unions for advancing equity. This will include working with project partner AFT Virginia
and other public sector unions on passing local option collective bargaining resolutions in jurisdictions
where unions have an existing membership base and/or active organizing campaigns, while laying
groundwork for better state legislation.

Immigration Research Initiative (New York) – This project aims to take advantage of a moment of
opportunity for improvement in the wages and working conditions of delivery service workers in New
York, a nearly entirely immigrant labor force in a rapidly changing economic sector. The Immigration
Research Initiative will work closely with SEIU Local 32BJ and others to develop analysis and craft policy
proposals that can be used to improve conditions for delivery service workers and create opportunities
for workers to organize further.

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy – LAANE (California) — LAANE’s project, in partnership with
SEIU Local 2015, will focus on research and policy to support organizing among nursing home workers.
Proposed project activities include building a county-wide coalition to research the industry, ensure that
new contracts are fair, create community benefits standards and transparency, and organize
unorganized workers. Policy goals include creation of a new public health grading system for nursing
homes and passage of local living wage ordinances.

Maine Center for Economic Policy – MECEP – In partnership with a newly convened statewide Economic
Justice Coalition (EJC), MECEP will develop model policy and disseminate findings to shape the public
conversation around worker justice with a focus on public-pay, care-economy workers who are
disproportionately women or people of color. With EJC labor partners including the Maine AFL-CIO,
Maine State Employees Association (SEIU), and the Maine Education Association (NEA), MECEP will
explore a range of policy solutions to support worker organizing.