Community-based immigrant worker centers are the strategic bases for immigrant worker organizing, providing a gateway for immigrants in the workforce to understand and take action for their rights. Today, New England has over a dozen worker centers, each with its own history and characteristics. Their work includes labor rights education, individual and group support for addressing workplace injustices, membership and leadership development, and creatively linking service, legal strategies, direct action organizing, and policy change. Frequently, worker centers are isolated from one another by geography and language, yet are dealing with similar abuses, sometimes even the same unscrupulous employers, corporations or policies.
In 2005, organizers from several Greater Boston worker centers and immigrant community organizations came together to break through these silos by launching the Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative. Initially, IWCC’s main purpose was to network organizers for peer learning and support. The Collaborative has since evolved into a vital force for building the immigrant worker rights movement.