CIWO’s Bargaining for the Common Good (BCG) program seeks to reinvent collective bargaining for the 21st century and ensure that it starts including a range of issues from affordable housing to racial and immigrant justice in order to it benefit both workers and the broader communities they live and work in. The program works through concrete initiatives that build innovative dynamic partnerships between labor organizations, worker centers and a wide array of community, religious and racial justice organizations to advance demands that represent a comprehensive “Common Good” agenda. It also promotes this emerging alternative agenda through conferences, regional meetings, a "Common Good” Toolkit and other resources.

BCG holds WINS Series Webinar with Minnesota Labor Leaders

Last month over 400 organizers from around the country registered for “Minnesota Community and Labor Escalation,” a Webinar co-hosted by WINS and Bargaining for the Common Good (BCG). The BCG Network is supported by the Action Center on Race and the Economy, the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, and the Kalmanovitz Initiative. Leaders from SEIU Local 26, Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia, CTUL, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, ISAIAH and SEIU Healthcare MN & IA described how they have worked together for the last decade to build alignment across their organizations. These groups and dozens of other unions and community groups are gearing up for an unprecedented compression of potential strikes and community actions this March 2-9th during a ‘Week of Action.’ The webinar and case study provide an insider's look at what it took to build this alignment over the last few years, and what’s possible in this spring's escalation.

Spirit & Solidarity 

In mid-July, over 30 faith and labor leaders from 15 states and D.C. came together for a 2-day planning retreat at the Jewish Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary to relaunch a national organizing training program for seminary students and faith leaders.  The group plans to relaunch the training under the new name “Spirit and Solidarity” next summer in Tennessee.  The event was convened by  the Interreligious Network for Worker Solidarity, Bargaining for the Common Good (including advisory committee member Francisco Garcia), the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization at Rutgers University, and the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University. 

Photo of BCG spirit group

Over the course of the retreat, participants discussed the current state of the timely, unique, and vital role of faith and labor partnerships to build power for workers.  The group heard from faith and labor leaders from around the country about how they are breaking down silos and building transformative long-term partnerships between faith and labor groups.  Participants heard from Abdirahman Muse from The AWOOD Center in Minneapolis, Pastor Rodney Wade from the Recovery For All Coalition and Vonda McDaniel from the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, who all shared stories of successful campaigns for the common good.

The palpable energy and enthusiasm of the cohort—many of whom had not previously met—demonstrated a clear need and desire for a new Spirit and Solidarity event.  People were excited to connect with each other as they shared stories and expertise, and developed deep relationships in just two days.  The group plans to expand their group to include an even more diverse set of leaders and organizations, and to continue meeting over the next year leading up to the summer 2024 training.   Spirit and Solidarity Summer will not only educate participants about the worker justice landscape (unions, worker centers, and cooperatives, how they work, why they matter), train people on basic relational organizing skills like one-on-one conversations, coalition building, and congregational/community engagement, but also provide a deeper theological, political, and economic analysis that can sustain the work for the long-haul.

Inaugural BCG Strategy Retreat!

Image of BCG retreat groupLast month, we hosted the very first BCG retreat for staff and organizers leading BCG campaigns and coalitions across the country. BCG organizers came together to plan, learn and strategize about how to seize the moment we are in to develop meaningful community labor-partnership, make bolder demands, and put it all into action. BCG staff members and organizers provide unions and community groups with training, research, and strategic engagement to develop and run BCG campaigns. If you are interested in getting involved, reach out to us!

It was great to sit with other state coordinators and learn from their unique experience and see the wide breadth of organizing work that is happening all over the country using this framework. - Dianne Enriquez, California Common Good

"The retreat really made clear to me the necessity of BCG in this moment of polarization in the U.S. I left feeling re-committed to using this framework to continue building the robust community-labor coalitions we need to win and using my role to build the capacity of local strategic researchers." - Gabby Noa Betancourt, ACRE

Image of Marilyn at BCG retreat    Image of BCG group

Bargaining for the Common Good Webinar and Summit

Image of BCG leadership summitBCG Bargaining Webinar
Over 400 union members came together in March  for our “Negotiating, BCG Style” webinar to build strategies for Bargaining for the Common Good! Leaders joined from over 50 different unions, with folks joining from all over the country and beyond, including delegations from Nigeria and Mexico. This gathering lifted up key lessons from experienced organizers and negotiators across the country, along with space to strategize for every local who joined. Our panel included Rob Baril from SEIU District 1199 New England, Brahim Kone from SEIU Local 26, Jackson Potter from the Chicago Teachers Union, and Kavitha Iyengar from UAW Local 2865, UC Student-Workers Union. Nell Geiser from CWA and the BCG Advisory Committee emceed the packed hour and half. If you attended, please fill out a survey and stay tuned for follow-up training to put these key lessons into action!

BCG and NEA Leadership Summit
NEA leaders from across the country came together for a NEA Leadership Summit workshop on March 11th to build power Bargaining for the Common Good! The training was led by NEA’s National Senior Bargaining Specialist Brian Beallor and BCG Education Director Sandra Lane and was accompanied by updates and key lessons from  Portland Association of Teachers’ contract negotiations by president Angela Bonilla. Fifty union leaders from schools across the country strategized around what changes students, parents, and educators want to see in our communities, and how to win them with Bargaining for the Common Good campaigns.

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 list of faith-labor resources here.  

Bargaining for the Common Good: Ford Foundation is supporting SMLR’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization in the fight for racial and social justice.

image of diverse group of women Marilyn Sneiderman says Ford Foundation's support through the #OurSocialBond initiative enabled our Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, Georgetown's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, and Action Center on Race and the Economy to turbocharge Bargaining for the Common Good.

> Click here to read more.

Common Good Victory in Connecticut

Groundbreaking racial & economic justice victories for long-term care workers in Connecticut through a common good partnership between SEIU District 1199 New England and Recovery For All CT