ISO: New Executive Director!

We are currently hiring an executive director for Fair Work Center and Working Washington.

Fair Work Center and Working Washington are coming together to build a powerful, sustainable and scalable worker organization to advance worker and economic justice in Washington and beyond. The alignment of these two organizations will bring workers’ rights education, organizing and a legal clinic together in commitment to a shared mission. Worker centers around the country are playing increasingly vital roles in building and sustaining power for low-wage, unrepresented workers. This alignment is our opportunity here in Washington to address the needs of workers in a stronger, more sustainable way than either organization can on its own.

We are hiring a new executive director to lead the organizations and their boards through a comprehensive and equitable process for this strategic alignment, including the development of shared mission, vision and strategic plan for the organizations. The executive director will work with both a 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 Board, a talented senior team, an excellent staff of 20, and a growing grassroots membership to advance new models to build worker power in Washington and beyond.

About the Fair Work Center and Working Washington

The Fair Work Center empowers workers to achieve fair employment. We are a hub for workers to understand and exercise their legal rights, improve working conditions, and connect with community resources.

Working Washington’s mission is to build a powerful workers movement that can dramatically improve wages and working conditions, and change the local and national conversation about wealth, inequality, and the value of work.

The role of the Executive Director

The role of the Executive Director of Fair Work Center and Working Washington is to lead a comprehensive, inclusive, and equitable strategy to build a powerful and sustainable worker organization that can win for workers and advance economic justice in Washington State. The alignment of these two organizations brings together workers’ rights education, organizing and a legal clinic in commitment to a shared mission. The Executive Director has overall strategic and operational responsibility and is able to leverage existing strengths and innovate new approaches. The Executive Director will work with both a 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 Board, a talented senior team, an excellent staff of 20, and a growing grassroots membership to advance new models to build worker power in Washington State and beyond.

Learn more about the position and how to apply, please visit: Executive Director of Fair Work Center and Working Washington

We’ve been hacked!!

Our website was recently hacked (sometime around April 7, 2018) and was down for about a week. We have lost the archives of our newsletter that lived on this page, but are working to replace that content over the coming weeks. We apologize for any inconvenience and the outdated look of our News page.

Welcome Memo Rivera, our new Interim Executive Director

Please join us in welcoming Memo Rivera as the new Interim Executive Director of Fair Work Center! Memo joined us in December and will be leading the organization until a permanent director can be found.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team. Since moving to this country more than a dozen years ago, I have dedicated my career to improving working conditions and standards for low-wage workers. I am excited to bring my passion and experiences to this incredible organization,” says Memo about his new role.

Prior to joining Fair Work Center, Memo spent the past 12 years with SEIU 775, one of the largest unions in Washington and the founder of Fair Work Center. Memo helped lead long-term care industry and nursing home union organizing campaigns in Washington, Montana, New Mexico, Massachusetts and elsewhere. Memo spent a year on assignment organizing gas station attendants and janitors in Mexico City. He managed the community organizing effort on the initial Working Washington field canvass of 100,000 homes in South Seattle and South King County, and he was field director of the multi-union SeaTac airport organizing effort leading to hundreds of airport workers organizing a union for the first time. For the past two years, Memo led organizing campaigns in Washington and Montana health care adding more than 2,000 new members to SEIU 775 in the last two years. In a prior life, he spent ten years as Director of Information Technology Purchasing for Mexico’s largest bank. He has a degree is in Mathematics and is fluent in Spanish and English.

October ’17 Fair Work News

Greetings and welcome to the Fall edition of the Fair Work News!

Nicole Vallestero Keenan

When Fair Work Center opened its doors in April 2015, we had an ambitious vision: a future where every worker in Seattle knows their rights and has the tools to exercise them.

With your support, we are making incredible progress towards realizing our ambitious early vision. So it is with tremendous pride to announce that, after three years as executive director, I am moving on to new challenges with the goal of building a better future with policy advocacy.

Over the past 30 months, we grew from a staff of three people to 11 people, and we have launched several exciting initiatives. Some of my personal highlights include:

  • The Fair Work Collaborative is a partnership of 11 community based organizations convened by Fair Work Center to train workers, advocates, case managers and non-profits about their rights at work. Together, we’ve talked to more than 20,000 people about their rights at work since we started in October 2015.
  • In 2016, we expanded our Know Your Rights outreach and education model to include health and safety trainings. Through a partnership with the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, we developed a curriculum and piloted a training program with more than 120 people trained.
  • In September 2016, we officially launched the Fair Work Legal Clinic. In addition to becoming a fully functioning law firm within Fair Work Center, we are also training the next generation of employment attorneys. Students from the Seattle University and the University of Washington Schools of Law can now enroll in a Workers’ Rights Clinical Course that combines a rigorous academic curriculum with an active practice in employment law in our legal clinic. Since opening, the legal clinic recovered more than $400,000 for workers and provided legal information and referral services to more than 500 workers.
  • Over these past three years, we have also played an active role in advocating for the enforcement of labor standards at the state and local levels. We’ve influenced numerous pro-worker policies, including: the 2015 labor standards enforcement bill, which gave Seattle some of the strongest local enforcement mechanisms in the nation; the secure scheduling ordinance; and the new statewide paid sick and safe leave law – Initiative 1433. And just this summer we advocated to help prevent the City of Tacoma from closing its labor standards enforcement office by cutting its budget.
  • Fair Work Center also partnered with the Center for Innovation in Worker Organizations to inform and support the City of Seattle in taking on directed investigations – meaning the agency can investigate and file charges without an initiating complaint – which is critical for enforcement of standard in industries with high rates of workplace violations and low rates of reporting. Just last week, the Office of Labor Standards announced their ground breaking directed investigation program.

I recently reviewed the initial three-year strategic plan laid out for this organization, and I’m proud to say that we met every goal laid out in that plan. I was recruited to this position to help create a new and innovative labor standards enforcement organization. We have done that. All of this work has been artfully executed by a visionary and talented team of people, and it is time for the next phase of this organization to continue under new leadership. My last day at Fair Work Center will be on November 22nd. However, I will continue to support our visionary board of directors and the organization’s new leadership through the end of the year.

As a gesture of my enduring commitment to the success of Fair Work Center, I am signing up to be a monthly donor. I hope you will join me in matching my gift at $20 a month – please consider donating today!

Thank you for your support of Fair Work Center.

In Solidarity,

 

Nicole Vallestero Keenan
Executive Director


FAIR WORK NEWS CONTENTS:

 

 

Fair Work News, December 2016

FAIR WORK NEWS

Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of the Fair Work News, our new quarterly e-newsletter!

Nicole Vallestero KeenanWe at Fair Work Center are excited for the new year and the incredible work to raise standards for workers that is underway in our region, despite our concern for workers’ rights at the federal level under a new President and new Labor Secretary. We know we have our work cut out for us protecting the gains workers made over the past eight years, and as we begin 2017 we do so with the belief that our work is more important than ever.

In 2016, Fair Work Center talked to more than 9,000 workers about their employment rights, helped recover tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and supported dozens of wrongfully-terminated workers get their jobs back.

In the coming year, we plan to expand our outreach and education efforts by growing the Fair Work Collaborative and expanding our reach beyond King County. This year there are two new labor standards for workers in Seattle in specific industries – new minimum standards for hotel workers and secure scheduling for food service and retail workers (beginning July 1, 2017) – as well as a new statewide minimum wage and paid sick and safe leave time for all workers. Despite the direction that our country may be headed, the Pacific Northwest will continue to lead the way in raising standards for workers.

In this first edition of the Fair Work News, we bring you:

  • Fair Work Center’s 2016 Annual Report
  • Case briefs from the Fair Work Legal Clinic
  • Interviews with Founding Donors to learn they support FWC
  • Upcoming events: Sing Into Spring with Fair Work Center – March 23, 2017, The Royal Room

Thank you for supporting Fair Work Center. Please enjoy the Fair Work News and happy new year from everyone at Fair Work Center.

In solidarity,

Nicole Vallestero Keenan

Nicole Vallestero Keenan
Executive Director

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2016 Annual Report

We are excited to share our first Annual Report. The report covers a bit about where we came from and what we do, as well as highlights stories from some of the workers we support and our partners in the Fair Work Collaborative.

Please check out Fair Work Center’s 2016 Annual Report

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Fair Work Legal Clinic Case Briefs

Below are a sampling of cases that have come in to the Fair Work Legal Clinic. Names and other identifying information have been changed to protect the privacy of these workers.

Intake Cases

Abdirahman recently arrived in King County as a refugee from Somalia. Somali Community Services, a Fair Work Collaborative partner, referred Abdirahman to Fair Work Center after he was offered a job as a security guard only to have it rescinded. A routine background check falsely reported he had criminal convictions from another state. Abdirahman needed that job and he knew it was a case of mistaken identity. The same day he came into the Fair Work Legal Clinic, we accompanied him to the King County Courthouse and cleared his record. Abdirahman didn’t need a lawyer, he needed an advocate, and he found one at the Fair Work Legal Clinic.

Leticia worked as a delivery driver for a small company that contracts with Amazon to make its Prime deliveries. Leticia was injured on a delivery and discovered that because her employer treated her as an “independent contractor,” she was not entitled to Workers’ Compensation. She was also paid substantially below minimum wage. The Legal Clinic helped Leticia sort out her Workers’ Compensation paperwork and find a lawyer to support her case. The Legal Clinic also referred her case to the US Department of Labor, which is investigating the minimum wage problems.

Chelsea worked for a manufacturing company in Seattle. After becoming pregnant, her doctor said that she needed light duty work assignments or risk a miscarriage. Chelsea’s employer told her that light duty was reserved for workplace injuries and not available for pregnancy. Chelsea was left without a job and was forced to move in with her mother in Alabama. Worse, she lost the baby. She knew her employer was in the wrong and that there must be something she could do. She came to the Fair Work Legal Clinic after exhausting every other possible route. The Legal Clinic persuaded the Washington Attorney General to take the case on and file a lawsuit against Chelsea’s employer.

 

Community Clinic and Direct Representation Cases

Maria worked for a dry-cleaning company on the night shift.  She became sick and was not able to go into work. Upon calling in sick, her manager told her to “not bother coming back in” and withheld her final paycheck. Maria knew this wasn’t right and came to Fair Work Legal Clinic seeking support. The Legal Clinic took on individual representation of her case and demanded payment of that final check. We were successful in getting Maria paid and continue to pursue additional penalties and remedies for retaliation.

Kim is an immigrant from Korea who worked as an assistant to a hairdresser. She answered phones, greeted customers, swept up hair, and provided tea and snacks.  She worked 45 hours per week but was paid just $1,000 per month, less than $5.50 per hour. Her employer thought that she could take advantage of Kim’s uncertain immigration status and her desire to break into the personal care industry, telling her that she was not an employee but an “independent contractor.” Kim knew this was unfair and was referred to the Legal Clinic by 21 Progress, one of our Fair Work Collaborative partners. The Clinic took on representation of Kim and filed a charge on her behalf, which is currently under investigation by Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries.

 Jose worked as a painter for a large construction firm. The firm told Jose that he was an “independent contract” and, therefore, not entitled to any overtime. Jose found a lawyer to sue the employer for wage theft, but the lawyer abandoned the case, leaving Jose to navigate the court system on his own. After Jose did not respond to one of the employer’s motions, the suit was dismissed and fines were imposed on Jose. He sought help from other lawyers without success. The Legal Clinic has been able to negotiate with the employer to resolve the case and help Jose recover some of his losses.

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Interviews with Founding Donors

Fair Work Center is incredibly grateful to our Founding Donors: SEIU 775, Breskin Johnson & Townsend, Terrell Marshall Law Group, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, and Frank Freed Subit & Thomas. These organizations have all contributed or pledged significant gifts over multiple years to help get Fair Work Center up and running and to put us on a path toward financial sustainability.

In this newsletter we bring you interviews with Dan Johnson of Breskin Johnson & Townsend, Toby Marshall of Terrell Marshall Law Group, ____ of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, and Mike Subit of Frank Freed Subit & Thomas to get a sense of why their firms stepped up to support Fair Work Center and the Fair Work Legal Clinic.

Dan Johnson
Dan Johnson

Why did you choose to practice employment law?

DJ: “I worked at the Employment Law Center in San Francisco in law school, and also volunteered at the workers’ rights legal clinic at my school in Berkeley California, where I went to law school. From there, I knew I wanted to do employment law, and I knew I wanted to work on the employee side. My values have always been to look out for the little guy.

What are some challenges you see for workers today?

DJ: “So often the employer has all the resources on their side. What we see happening more and more in cases we represent is employers using their resources to take unreasonable stands, dig in their heels and stretch things out as long as possible, trying to wear down the employee or employees making a claim. These cases impact employees’ entire livelihood – it’s about their jobs and how they support their families – but they get fought for a long, long time. And I think sometimes justice delayed is justice denied.”

What change would you like to see to improve the welfare of all working people?

DJ: So many things! This legal clinic is one. I think there are dozens of people walking around in every neighborhood in this city that every day have some sort of legal issue in their workplace. Most of them probably never get any legal support. So community clinics like this one are great opportunities for people to get their questions answered and hopefully to get some relief for wrongs they experienced. Another is the minimum wage. Thankfully we’ve raised it here in Seattle and now Washington, but we’ve got a long way to go in most places around the country.

Why does your firm support Fair Work Center?

DJ: “Since I moved back to Seattle after law school, I really wanted to see something like the the Worker’s Rights Clinics in California started here. But I couldn’t do it on my own and was too busy trying to build my own firm. So, I am really excited it has finally happened here with the Fair Work Legal Clinic.

There are so many people walking around with questions about their work or problems in their workplace that could probably be resolved if the right connections were made. I think that’s what the Fair Work Legal Clinic is doing, connecting people with answers and solutions to the problems they are having at work. And the bigger impact the Legal Clinic can have is that employers may be more inclined to do the right thing knowing that their employees now know their rights and have access to free legal services.”

 

Toby Marshall

Toby Marshall

TM: “I grew up in a working-class family, and I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. I also know that employers hold a great deal of power over employees. These circumstances leave many workers vulnerable to wage and hour abuses. One of my first cases as a lawyer involved a large company that regularly required its employees to work several hours without pay each week. The employees tolerated this for years because they were afraid to lose their jobs, which would mean losing their ability to put food on the table each day and pay rent each month. I practice employment law to fight for those who find themselves in this situation. Nobody should have to work without pay for fear of being unable to provide for his or her family.”

What are some challenges you see for workers today?

TM: “Workers face a variety of challenges, but one that seems to be on the rise is mandatory arbitration. Increasingly, employers are requiring workers to sign agreements with arbitration clauses that bar class and collective actions. The obvious goal is to prevent workers from banding together, to bar them from the courthouse, and to keep complaints confidential and violations hidden. Some courts have found such agreements to be illegal, saying they violate the right of employees to engage in concerted activity. Other courts, however, have allowed these agreements to stand (and ultimately serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card for employers).”

What change would you like to see to improve the welfare of all working people?

TM: “Greater access to justice. Wage theft is a serious problem in this country, affecting workers in all industries. One large-scale study found that two-thirds of the employees who were surveyed experienced at least one wage-and-hour violation in the previous workweek. The average wage loss per worker was 15 percent. Class and collective actions are helpful, but more resources are needed to assist individual employees who are being cheated on pay or subjected to unlawful working conditions. We are fortunate to live in a state that has strong wage and hour laws, but those laws don’t enforce themselves. Workers need advocates, whether it’s individual attorneys, agencies like Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries or Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards, or legal aid organizations like the Fair Work Center.”

Why does your firm support Fair Work Center?

TM: “The Terrell Marshall Law Group wants to support access to justice and to us, that’s what the Fair Work Center is all about. Our class action practice helps large groups of employees, but we know that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are many other workers out there who aren’t getting any help whatsoever. By educating workers about their rights and providing them with greater access to the courts, the Fair Work Center is making it more likely that employers will do the right thing and follow the law.”

Mike Subit

Mike SubitWhy did you choose to practice employment law?

MS: Going into law school, I knew I wanted to practice some sort of civil rights or constitutional law when I got done. At the time, I would have guessed I’d go into a career with someplace like the ACLU. And I actually did work for the ACLU for a couple of years early in my career, but it was as a summer associate at a labor and employment firm in the Bay Area that I got a taste for plaintiff-side employment law. So I took more labor and employment courses and by the time I was done with law school and after two federal clerkships, I knew it was the area of law I wanted to focus my career.

For so many of us, our work is fundamental to who we are. When people are stripped of their rights at work or aren’t getting fairly paid for their work, it can be devastating for them and their families, both economically and psychologically. I’ve always felt that practicing employment law enables me to do that public interest work that I went to law school for in the first place.

What are some challenges you see for workers today?

MS: Elections matter. Changes in the courts matter. I have been through some different administrations, but we are now dealing with the greatest challenge we have seen since the New Deal. We are going to have an administration that will be the most anti-worker, anti-union administration since Calvin Coolidge. I think workers are in for a host of challenges – from gutting labor standards to attacks on unions to undoing some of the good work the Department of Labor has been engaged in under the Obama administration.

Thankfully we are in a region and a state with relatively strong laws for workers, so we will devote our time to improving lives of workers at state and local levels over the next few years.

What change would you like to see to improve the welfare of all working people?

MS: I would like to get rid of employment at will – the employment law principle that allows employees to be discharged for no reason. I believe ending it would help both employers and employees. It would improve both the appearance and the reality of fair treatment in the workplace. I would like to replace it with some sort of cause provision, similar to what you see in union contracts. I think it would help lead to faster resolutions for both sides, help avoid costly litigation, and, as we see among workers with cause provisions in their union contracts, it makes a big difference in the empowerment of workers to have greater control over your conditions at work.

Why does your firm support Fair Work Center?

MS: There are so many unmet needs in terms of resources for workers to exercise their rights, particularly fair wages. Private law firms don’t have enough lawyers to do the work, and even with the current system that encourages attorneys to take such cases on, a lot of cases still don’t make sense for a firm to take on financially. A clinic has different goals and orientations and can provide more resources to the people who need it and to people who might otherwise fall through the cracks. Also, we fully support the Legal Clinic’s role in training the next generation of lawyers that will devote their lives to help working people achieve their rights.

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Fair Work Legal Clinic Now Open

This Labor Day, Fair Work Center is proud to announce the opening of its new civil legal aid clinic, the Fair Work Legal Clinic. The clinic will offer low-wage workers free intake and referral services, legal advice at its monthly community clinics, and legal representation. The clinic is operated in partnership with the Seattle University and University of Washington Schools of Law, and will be the first clinic associated with the King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinic program that focuses exclusively on workplace issues.

“Low-wage workers face serious barriers to justice when they raise workplace issues,” said Nicole Vallestero Keenan, Executive Director. “Fair Work Center is already supporting workers to address these challenges, but this new clinic means workers now have a place to turn to when they need legal aid, whether that is in filing a claim with a government enforcement agency or representing them in a court case against their employer.”

“Fair Work Center helped me recover nearly $5,000 in wages my employer owed me,” said Anna, a janitorial worker. “My daughter and I were about to be evicted, but thanks to the support of Fair Work Center, I was able to get the wages I was owed and stay in my apartment.”

According to the 2015 Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study Update, one-in-three low-income people (33.6%) experience workplace legal issues. Yet, it is not an area in which workers are seeking or getting legal help.

“I am thrilled to open this new legal clinic, which is so desperately needed and will help bridge a gap in the civil legal aid available to low-wage workers,” said Elizabeth Ford, Legal Director at Fair Work Center. “We will be training the next generation of attorneys who will shape employment law for decades to come.”

Ford, an experienced labor and employment lawyer, is also faculty at Seattle University School of Law, where she will teach a Workers’ Rights Clinical Course based at the Fair Work Center. The course will be offered to both Seattle University (beginning this fall) and University of Washington (beginning in 2017) law students. Students will get hands-on experience in employment law by staffing the community clinics, holding regular office hours for workers seeking legal information, and representing workers in wage claims.

“We are absolutely thrilled that this clinic is becoming a reality and offered here at Seattle University,” said Annette Clark, Dean and Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law. “It is a perfect fit with our mission of educating powerful advocates for justice.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Fair Work Center and Seattle University to address the pressing legal needs of the low-wage worker community,” said Christine Cimini, Associate Dean for Experiential Education and Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law. “In addition to helping low-wage workers, we are excited to provide this real-life valuable educational opportunity to law students.”

In addition to opening the new legal clinic, the Fair Work Center is one of three sites nationally to test WorkerReport, a new mobile app that allows anyone to easily report a workplace violation. Once the violation is reported, the Fair Work Legal Clinic will investigate and provide assistance to the worker involved. WorkerReport is now available for download on Apple and Android devices.

How One City Is Making Sure Bosses Comply With Wage Theft and Paid Sick Leave Laws

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, a cornerstone of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, claims (with good reason) that its penne mac and cheese is the finest in America. Dining at Beecher’s is a must.

Working there may be less advisable. Deric Cole, an Army vet, worked at Beecher’s for seven months, beginning in 2014. He says that turnover was so high that when he quit, he was a senior employee. Shifts varied from day to day, he adds, sometimes starting at 3 a.m. and occasionally lasting up to 15 hours. Cole says that while Beecher’s technically offered overtime, those who managed to accrue it were punished, and employees were even asked to work off the clock. Cole also alleges that Beecher’s ignored Seattle’s 2012 paid sick leave ordinance and refused to grant any paid time off for illness.

Fed up, Cole eventually brought these complaints to a new city agency designed to help in cases like his: the Office of Labor Standards (OLS), one of the first of its kind in the United States.

Over the past five years, Seattle has implemented sweeping labor laws, instituting paid sick leave, discouraging discrimination against those with prison records, incrementally raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2017 and strengthening wage-theft protections.

But these new laws can’t enforce themselves. One year after OLS’s creation, people like Cole will be among the first to test Seattle’s experiment. Although San Francisco originated the model over a decade ago, it has been slow to catch on. Seattle’s new endeavor could push other cities to adopt enforcement mechanisms for local labor laws.

Read more at inthesetimes.com

Fair Work Collaborative Will Support Thousands of Workers in Seattle

Fair Work Center is the largest recipient of City of Seattle’s Labor Standards Enforcement Grant

With new wage laws now in effect in Seattle, many workers are still struggling to see their rights achieved under the law. Since Seattle’s progressive movement fought for and won a $15 minimum wage, our community is now at the forefront of seeking innovative public/private/community partnerships to conduct outreach, enforcement and education on our new labor laws.

Just this morning, the City of Seattle announced the recipients of the $1 million Community Fund to support outreach, education and enforcement of Seattle’s Labor Standards. As the convener of the Fair Work Collaborative, a partnership of eight community-based partners, Fair Work Center is thrilled to be the largest recipient of the fund.

The Fair Work Center empowers workers to achieve fair employment. We are a hub for workers to understand and exercise their legal rights, improve working conditions and connect with community resources.

Since we launched in June, we have brought together a talented board and staff with over 100 years of combined experience in labor standards enforcement, outreach and community engagement. We launched a collaborative to spread the word about worker’s rights, supported dozens of workers whose rights have been violated at work, and developed comprehensive “Know Your Rights” trainings for workers and the community at large.

Workers with questions about the phase-in of $15/hour minimum wage, securing paid sick leave, or other issues can connect with Fair Work Center online at fairworkcenter.org; through our helpline at 1-844-485-1195, or by email at help@fairworkcenter.org. The center provides services in Vietnamese, Spanish, Somali and English. The Fair Work Center offices are located at 5308 Martin Luther King Jr Way South.

Fair Work Center Helps Workers Muddle Through New Labor Standards

In the past three years, Seattle has enacted four new citywide laws, and it’s not just the $15 minimum wage. There’s the Job Assistance ordinance, which limits how employers can use criminal records; the Wage Theft ordinance, which offers protections when employers illegally withhold pay; and the Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance, which ensures that employees accrue paid time off for illness. 

But understanding their ins and outs, or even recognizing when an employer is violating them, can be tricky. To help workers navigate these new laws, local policy experts and community organizers created a new nonprofit called the Fair Work Center. 

“It’s a one-stop shop to figure out what to do when your rights are violated at work,” said Director Nicole Vallestero Keenan. Read the full story at at realchangenews.org.