September 2016: From Michael’s Desk

The construction workers’ case described in this eNews is not just a victory for particular workers.  It also represents a milestone in NWJP’s representation of working people.  With that case, NWJP advocates passed the $3,000,000 mark in terms of the wages and damages we have recovered for workers. We often measure our success based upon changes in law or the organizing victories we help our clients or allies achieve.  And these are important.  However, I remember long-time Oregon civil rights lawyer Elden Rosenthal saying that, “In America, justice is not done until money changes hands.”  Obviously, NWJP can't begin to provide a remedy for every worker who is exploited. But the work we do in representing workers means that employers must think twice before exploiting workers.  The impunity they’d otherwise enjoy is put in doubt. We’ve much remaining to do, but it is worth noting that we’ve given Oregon’s employers who are tempted to cheat at least $3,000,000 worth of reasons not to do so.


Michael Dale
Founder, Executive Director, and Senior Attorney, NWJP

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