Since 2000, the Chicago Workers Collaborative has lifted the voices of “Alt- Workers,” a million-strong workforce essential for our state’s economy that operates in the shadows. Rooted in practices of community organizing, “Alt- Workers” drive in the creation of CWC’s programs by identifying problems they face and the solutions to these problems. CWC provides a space for workers to build their leadership so that now they themselves manage and operate all the organization’s programs and operations.
Leadership and Advocacy
The Leadership and Advocacy department builds the power of historically marginalized people, such as LGBTQ, immigrants, and other workers of color. The program’s Manager and Staff Organizers are former “Alt-Workers” with extensive experience leading campaigns to improve conditions in their workplaces, including passage of Illinois’ laws which are the strongest protections in the U.S. for temporary staffing workers.
The Public Health Department, which includes the Essential Worker Protection program, is led by former CWC worker leaders and operates in Lake, Kane, McHenry, and Suburban Cook counties. It is a national model in mitigating the harm of Covid 19 in workplaces.
Working Families Legal Clinic
The Working Families Legal Clinic program connects workers to solutions and guides them on a path forward to a remedy. Led by paralegals from the community with the assistance of staff and pro bono attorneys, the program is pursuing innovative strategies to empower all workers of all statuses in the areas of immigration, family and employment law.
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Provides “know your rights” workshops and services, assisting families to become familiar with the eligibility and application process required to access medical services, social security benefits, financial rental assistance, emergency financial assistance, and other services that may help people overcome economic hardship.