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Voz Workers' Rights Education Project
"Our findings reveal that the day-labor market is rife with
violations of workers’ rights. Day laborers are regularly denied
payment for their work, many are subjected to demonstrably hazardous
job sites, and most endure insults and abuses by employers." (UCLA's
study on Day Labor in the United States, 2006).
In 1996, a Workers’ Organizing Committee formed in response to repressive tactics by immigration agents and local police that discouraged day laborers from seeking work on the corners of two major intersections in Portland. As day laborers began to organize, the shared common experience of violations of workers' rights became ever more apparent.
The VOZ Workers' Rights Education Project was thus founded in June 2000 to organize and mobilize the day laborer community through leadership development and community education. We have been mobilizing our members not only to know their rights and protect themselves from exploitation, but also to make their voices heard, for immigrant and worker justice.
The Voz partnership with SEEDS sends volunteer teachers to the day labor hire site in inner NE Portland to teach/tutor day laborers who experience language barriers in searching for and securing something as basic as a safe place to work. The classes are a valuable tool, helping the day laborers to better working conditions and come to more equitable agreements with contractors.
Classes require little training but much dedication. Volunteer teachers must have some Spanish language competency (beginners can teach too!), must show up to scheduled classes or tutoring times, and must be responsive to cultural and linguistic needs. Class and tutoring times are Monday through Saturdy from 9am to 1pm with an hour per week minimum commitment.
This qualifies for Off-Campus Federal Work Study Community Service.
Contact SEEDS intern, (TBD)
Contact Voz directly for other opportunities for getting involved outside of the ESL program include translating, supporting workers through the Wage Claims-Legal Action Committee, grant writing, graphic design and writing for the Voz zines and website, and event organizing.
For current updates on the organization, see