What Is CIWO?

Social movements require strong and diverse organizations, as well as skilled leadership to envision change, a dedicated and growing membership base to demand it, and a culture that encourages and moves innovative new strategies and structures that are rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.

The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) was created to help worker and community organizations address those challenges. By leveraging the resources of a highly respected research university, CIWO has emerged as a space where labor and community connect; where new research, ideas and strategies are shared and scrutinized; and where leaders and staff at all levels can refine their skills and develop new ones.

Our Programs

BCG Group
Bargaining for the Common Good

Reinventing collective bargaining for the 21st century.

Build Bench Group
Build the Bench

Deepening ties between networks to build organizational strength and leadership

WILL Empower Group
WILL Empower

(Women Innovating Labor Leadership) A bold initiative to identify, train and convene a new generation of women labor leaders.

Strategies & Reflections from the Women's Leadership Symposium

Image of 2021 Womxn's Labor Leadership Symposium & Awards

WILL Empower hosted the first Womxn’s Labor Leadership Symposium & Awards on September 30 and October 1, 2021. The Symposium featured the testimony and narrative of leaders across the country, including Lauren Jacobs of Power Switch Action; Veronica Mendez-Moore of Centro Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha; Sara Steffens of Communications Workers; Sarita Gupta of the Ford Foundation, Stacy Davis-Gates of the Chicago Teachers Union; and Tanya Wallace-Gobern of the National Black Worker Center.  

> Click here to learn more about the Symposium

CIWO Wins New Jersey Future of Work Accelerator Innovation Challenge

We are so proud and grateful to announce that CIWO is among the 19 winners selected for the inaugural cohort in the New Jersey Future of Work Accelerator Program, which will support us in growing our work and social impact in New Jersey.  Read more at Insider NJ and ROI-NJ

CIWO Featured in Rutgers-New Brunswick Impact Report

Image of New Brunswick Impact Report coverCIWO's work helping organizations incubate and launch innovative research agendas, strategies, and community/labor organizational programs resulting in stronger workers’ organizations and greater economic and social equality was featured in the Rutgers University Foundation Summer 2021 Impact Report.

"Thanks to the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, my peers and I began an energizing and much-needed dialogue on how we can begin to share what we know and are learning.... This is how we will win, together."

— Lauren Jacobs, executive director, Partnership for Working Families

< Read the complete report

Happening at CIWO:

CIWO's Build the Bench community of learning and practice for managing directors in worker justice movements held its seventh annual convening on November 9 and 10, 2021.  Read more about the event.

Bridging Faith and Labor

photo of bridging faith and labor eventBCG Advisory Committee member Rev. Francisco Garcia appeared on a panel Monday, August 23 at 4pm CT, entitled, "Faith, Cooperatives, and Labor: Toward a Just Economy for All," sponsored by the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice. The event featured scholars and activists discussing faith-labor solidarity in the fight for economic justice. Register to watch the event recording on demand

Francisco's work is part of BCG's ongoing effort to build solidarity between faith and labor groups in our fight for the common good. Earlier this year, BCG hosted a webinar featuring leaders from a diverse group of faith communities, part of the emerging Interreligious Network for Worker Solidarity. We are committed to expanding the role of communities of faith in our ongoing organizing. 

> Access a complete list of faith-labor resources here

Build the Bench has welcomed two CIWO Fellows for 2021:  Felicia Griffin (Partnership for Working Families) and Kathleen Gaspard (Institute for Policy Studies), who will also serve on the program's new Advisory Committee with Mackenzie Baris (Jobs with Justice), Aisha Satterwhite (Coworker.org), Chevalier Lovett (Florida Rising), Renata Pumarol (ACRE), Vivian Huang (APEN), and Beth Shipp (Caring Across Generations).

Bargaining for the Common Good has welcomed three new members to the Advisory Committee:  Cecily Myart-Cruz (UTLA), Rob Baril (1199 SEIU), and Rev. Francisco Garcia (Wendland-Cook Program on Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University).  

> See the full BCG Advisory Committee here.

Black Womxn DemandsCalling Black womxn activists, trade unionists, feminists, leaders, and scholars into dialogue with one another to discuss current demands for economic, racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ justice for Black people and others. These dialogues invite everyone to listen closely to Black womxn demands and to learn much more about us, our scholarship, and our movement work.