Low Wage Worker Legal Network

The Low Wage Worker Legal Network (LWWLN) brings together low-wage worker advocates from legal organizations across the country to push for policies that better protect low-wage immigrant and temporary workers in the U.S. Since it was formed in 2004, the Network has grown to include 210 legal advocates in 29 states, the District of Columbia and Mexico.

Two primary goals of the LWWLN are to facilitate joint training and spark coordinated policy advocacy. About once a month, Network members are invited to participate in a national conference call to discuss a particular issue that arises in the representation of low-wage workers in the changing economy. Recognized experts in the field are enlisted to lead each training call. Examples of topics the Network has addressed include:

  • Advanced Immigration Considerations in Employment Litigation
  • Joint-Employment and Independent Contractor Issues; and
  • Issues for Wage Creditors in Bankruptcy Cases.

The training calls also connect Network members who are interested in taking action to address the issues that are discussed. Through independent working groups, the energy and expertise contained within the Network can be channeled into concrete policy advocacy around pressing problems for low-wage workers.

For example, the Network formed a working group on the H-2B temporary foreign worker program back in 2008 to organize national comments in opposition to new regulations proposed by the Bush administration.  Since then, the Network group has played a key role in coordinating national advocacy efforts to roll back the Bush  regulations. Network efforts have contributed to significant success in strengthening wages and working conditions for U.S. and foreign workers.

Another Network working group formed in 2010 to look at how best to collect unpaid wages, especially from employers who are insolvent or who use intermediaries to shield themselves. Members are working on a national compendium of pre-judgment wage statutes from around the country that can serve as a resource for policy advocacy. The group is also drafting a model statute incorporating the most effective provisions from states around the country. In fact, one of the bills that formed part of NWJP’s original 2011 legislative package was drawn from a Wisconsin statute discovered and strengthened by the Network working group.

Membership in the Low-Wage Worker Legal Network is free and open to low-wage worker advocates across the country. If you are interested in becoming a member, contact corinna@nwjp.org or 503-525-8454 (NWJP office).

As a service to members of the Low Wage Worker Legal Network, NWJP hosts a brief bank containing resources on a variety of subjects, including substantive law as well as non-litigation strategies for strengthening protection of workers’ rights. Access to the materials requires a password. To ask for a password, worker advocates may send an email to lindsay@nwjp.org.

 

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