Elsewhere online
July 24, 2013

Nonprofit 'Worker Centers' Aid in Union Organizing Drives

Nonprofit, community-based alliances of workers have mushroomed nationwide and emerged as a tool for labor groups to organize non-union workers, sparking a backlash among businesses, writes The Wall Street Journal.

The "worker centers," as they are known, typically coalesce around groups such as domestic workers or taxi drivers and are particularly active in immigrant communities. While many receive union funding, they are not legally considered labor organizations because they do not have bargaining relationships with employers and are thus less constrained than unions in using pickets and other mobilizing tactics.

The number of such groups has increased from a handful 20 years ago to more than 200 now. Critics say labor is using the nonprofit centers as an end run around labor laws as private-sector union membership shrinks.