Workers’ Rights


Work just isn’t working for too many in America today. Too often, hard-working people have their wages stolen by employers who refuse to pay the promised wage, the legally required wage, or sometimes any wage at all. Other employers cut too many corners, leaving workers vulnerable to being hurt, getting sick or even killed on the job. Injury and illness reduce workers’ ability to earn a living, compromise their overall health, and saddle workers and their families with expensive medical bills.

Making matters worse, workers often lack sufficient clout to negotiate for improved conditions, even though it is their right to do so. And those workers whose rights are violated sometimes discover that they have no meaningful remedies. They are left to depend on government agencies that may or may not have the resources to respond to their problems, or they are constrained from exercising their right to take their cases to court.


The Foundation’s Workers’ Rights Program supports policy and system reforms to improve the lives of low-wage working people in the United States, with a focus on securing their basic legal rights to safe, healthy, and fair conditions at work. Specifically, the Program makes grants to groups working to:

Charlotte Brody

 Celeste Monforton


Rachel Micah-Jones

 Interview with crab picker


Bruce Goldstein


Tammy Miser of United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities



Workers' Rights News


The Pervasiveness of Wage Theft

A new study by a Public Welfare Foundation grantee shows how costly minimum wage violations are to low-wage workers in 10 key states.… Full Story


Fighting for Workers in the Courts

Advocates use a variety of litigation strategies to win basic rights and benefits for low-wage workers. … Full Story


Occupational Hazards

Charlotte Brody of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation discusses efforts to replace dangerous workplace chemicals with safer alternatives.… Full Story


Saru Jayaraman on Dining Out

In her new book, the co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, highlights restaurant owners who pay fair wages and provide safer, healthier working environments.… Full Story

Workers' Rights Resources

A Department of Labor report on social and economic effects of wage violationsLink

A report by OSHA on the financial and social impacts of workplace injury and illnessLink

Workers' Comp Hub - an online resource for workers' compensation Link

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