About one month ago, I started my domestic placement site at Workers Defense Project in Dallas, TX. Before I continue musings on my life in Dallas, and other aspects of my radical life and faith, I wanted to catch everyone up on what I do now.
Workers Defense Project is a statewide (Texas) membership based organization that fights to improve working conditions for low-income, primarily immigrant workers. Immigrants tend to work in low-wage employment in the construction, hospitality and service sector, and many of them suffer a high level of abuse within these sectors. Abuse, especially in the construction sector, ranges from wage theft, safety hazards and a high level of injuries.
WDP accomplishes its mission through three primary components. The first department, legal services to members, helps victims of wage theft (nonpayment of regular hours, denial of overtime, or not receiving minimum wage) recover those wages. The second department, adult education, conducts education and training to members to educate workers about their rights, and aims to empower individuals to fight for better working conditions. The final department, policy, harnesses the power of members to launch campaigns and publish research to improve working conditions for construction workers across the industry.
I work within the legal department by assisting workers with the wage recovery process here in Texas. I also am the “outreach coordinator” meaning that I recruit volunteers, train them, and also look for partnerships with other individuals and institutions.
WDP has offices in Austin and Dallas and a coordinator in Houston. We are currently campaigning for the city of Dallas to enact a city-wide rest break ordinance that would guarantee construction workers with a 10 minute break for every 4 hours of work.
You can also learn more about the work of WDP from this video.