Workers Rights and Workplace Justice

AIRImagesWorkerRIghtsMichigan United is fighting for the rights of low-wage workers through community organizing and direct action. Keeping our economy healthy means people should be treated with dignity at work and paid fair wages. This is why we stand up for the rights of the most vulnerable workers who are too often taken advantage of.

In Detroit, workers organized to confront the abusive practices at the nation’s largest produce packing company, Mastronardi Produce.  Workers were consistently not paid their full wages, forced to work in unsafe conditions, and almost universally report “being treated like animals.”  Now, current and former workers have formed an organizing committee and are leading a class-action lawsuit against the company.

The group has filed OSHA complaints, and put pressure on the company through actions at the grocery stores that buy the company’s food.  This strategy has pushed the company to begin negotiating a settlement with the workers.

In Kalamazoo, the immigrant workers committee has been fighting to end wage theft and improve conditions at local restaurants.

Long-term, Michigan United is working to build a community worker justice movement.  We’re interested in building up the power of workers to win better wages and conditions, form unions, and hold abusive employers accountable.  We will focus on industries with high concentrations of immigrant workers, and leverage our powerful community organizing to support justice campaigns.  This work is focused less on creating “workers centers” that provide services, but more “workers movements” centered on community organizing.

We believe that:

  • Everyone should be paid for their work, regardless of their immigration status.
  • Everyone deserves dignity in the workplace, including enforcement of all health and safety regulations.
  • The values of a democracy extend to all aspects of society, including the workplace.
      1. Wage Theft
      2. Health and Safety
      3. Union Rights