What are Worker Centers?

As an increasing number of employees recognized that the labor movement had been left behind by the changing economy, unions turned to a new tactic to maintain a steady revenue stream: Worker Centers.

Rather than choosing reform, unions are seeding so-called “worker centers” to organize employees. Unions are attempting to “re-brand” the same old practices and same old leadership in the new garb of the “worker centers.” And they’re attempting to do it with an entirely new classification of gig economy workers.

The following industries have been targeted by worker centers:


Dodging Disclosure

Worker centers are labor union front groups that protest and organize for higher wages, labor mandates, and larger benefits packages. They attempt to recruit workers outside the structures and regulations of collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Although many are tied to labor unions, and act in ways similar to traditional labor organizations, they rely on a loophole in labor law to operate largely unregulated.

Additionally, unions and union supporters use worker centers to conduct campaigns without the activity and membership regulations imposed by the NLRA and financial reporting and governance regulations of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The results are long pickets, minority “wildcat” strikes, and undemocratic structures of the centers, among many other actions and practices that would be illegal for a labor union.

By not constituting themselves as labor unions, worker centers are able to avoid many legal requirements, including the responsibility to ensure majority support and the duty of fair representation contained in the NLRA. They also dodge the transparency and governance regulations established under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).