Excluded Workers Congress (2010)

Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza
12″ x 16″ , 4 layer handmade screenprint, Printed in Oakland, CA, June 2010

Edition printed to give as gifts to worker-members of Excluded Workers Congress at the US Social Forum

In June of 2010, at the US Social Forum in Detroit, three national workers’ rights alliances that are part of the Unity alliance, including Jobs with Justice, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network brought together nine sectors of workers who are excluded – either by design or by default – from labor laws. These sectors include: guest workers, domestic workers, day laborers, restaurant workers, Black workers in “right to work for less” states in the South, farm workers, taxi drivers, workfare workers, and formerly incarcerated workers. Calling it the Excluded Workers Congress (EWC), these workers spent many hours together, sharing experiences, organizing strategies and visions for labor laws that would include and protect the entire working-class. After the first meeting, the workers and their alliances felt the need to continue building and working together.

The EWC is a strategic alliance among multiple sectors of low-wage workers that are at the crucial intersections of the current global economy in the United States. These sectors represent among the most exploited sectors of workers in the United States, they also represent strategic sectors of the workforce given the shifting global economy – both due to migration patterns as well as changes to the material fabric of labor in the United States and globally, and they work at the fringe of existing labor protections in the United States. As a result the EWC creates a vehicle for the mobilization of the grassroots social movement sectors in response to the current economic and environmental crisis. Through the EWC, we seek to develop both organizing and policy responses to some of the most pressing conditions faced by workers by deriving these solutions directly from those workers that experience the economic crisis and standing economic and legal marginalization.