WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 23, 2013
Dear Secretary Perez:
In the last decade, the line between so-called “worker centers” and labor organizations has blurred. Today, many of these “worker centers” are dealing with employers directly on behalf of employees. Given these activities, a case has been made that at least some “worker centers” are labor organizations as defined by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which would make them subject to annual filing requirements. We therefore respectfully request an official determination as to the LMRDA filing requirements of “worker centers” and all documents and communications used to reach such determination.
In 2006, there were at least 139 “worker centers” in 32 states. Traditionally, “worker centers” are “defined as community-based and community-led organizations that engage in a combination of service, advocacy, and organizing to provide support to low-wage workers.” They provide “information and training in workers’ rights, employment, labor and immigration law, legal services, the English language, and many other programs.” However, they have also taken direct action to alter conditions of employment and organize employees.
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To read the Department of Labor's response, click here.