Confluence supports innovative approaches to building worker power through grantmaking, technical assistance, and fostering partnerships between traditional labor organizations, like unions, and grassroots nonprofits.
Our grantees are developing and implementing innovative projects which either:
A) Expand marginalized communities’ access to existing worker power structures, such as unions and worker centers, or
B) Develop new structures, such as guilds and worker-run cooperatives, designed with marginalized workers at their center.
The Workers Confluene Fund’s application process is currently by invitation only. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you believe your organization’s work may be a fit for Confluence funding.
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are home to the largest East African Diaspora population in North America. According to workers and organizers, employers like Amazon hire from this immigrant community in order to take advantage of their lack of familiarity with American workplace norms and their rights as workers. Awood is developing the leadership of East African Amazon workers and holding Amazon accountable on workers rights for safety, dignity, discrimination, and worker voice through direct actions, public policy changes, and media, and they are broadening the impact of their work through collaborations with Teamsters Local 120 and SEIU Local 26.
CTUL is the most established worker center in Minnesota and their partnership with the Building Trades unions has provided a model for newer grantees to adapt and build from. Through their Confluence grant CTUL is working with the Building Dignity and Respect Standards Council (BDC) – a Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) organization – to train non-union construction workers as Worksite Inspectors and Know Your Rights Educators who will enforce BDC’s Contractor Code of Conduct. This is the most mature project funded by Confluence; after initially partnering with the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, this project has grown to include the regional councils of the Carpenters and Laborers unions.
Kids Count on Us brings the perspective of childcare center workers into ISAIAH’s broader campaign for robustly-funded universal childcare in Minnesota, recognizing that true equity in childcare must include living wages and fair treatment for this largely female, largely BIPOC workforce. Partnered with Education Minnesota (the teachers’ and educational support professionals’ union), KCOU is currently exploring the idea of launching a worker center specifically for childcare workers.
Filling a critical niche organizing in historically Black North Minneapolis, NJP’s holistic approach includes campaigns for housing justice, equity in education, and safety beyond policing. Through the Workers Confluence Fund, NJP is working with the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council to build new pathways into union careers for Black workers, with a particular focus on formerly incarcerated workers and green building trades through pre-apprenticeship programs.
Beginning in 2020, Minneapolis and Saint Paul have seen a wave of craft beverage workers building power in their workplaces (breweries, distilleries, and coffee shops). Some have unionized or are seeking to do so, while others are pursuing other strategies to demand fair pay and better working conditions. Organizers with ROC-MN have played crucial roles in this process, educating workers about their rights and strategizing with them on the best options for making change in their workplaces. Through their Confluence grant, ROC-MN is partnering with UNITE HERE Local 17 to map industry power, share information and strategic insights, and develop a joint strategy.
After their advocacy led to the 2019 passage of a sweeping Adult Entertainment Ordinance in Minneapolis, SWOP has focused on educating strippers about their rights under the ordinance and advocating for adequate enforcement resources. With Confluence support, SWOP is partnering with UNITE HERE Local 17 to explore additional options for building and holding worker power in their industry. Ideas include starting a strip club run as a worker cooperative and organizing through a guild model.