The New York Workers Center Federation (WCF) began with a year long series of trainings for worker leaders to build the capacity of worker centers. During the training the stories of individual workers and organizations began to tell the narrative of a powerful emerging movement. Over the course of 4 trainings in 2014, nearly 90 immigrant workers from 7 centers connected over their stories of their migration, learned new organizing strategies to gain power in their workplace, and developed strategies around collective issues. One Bangladeshi cab driver responded to the story of an Ecuadorian day laborer, “I realize for the first time, we have the same story- so yes, we have the same struggle.” These deep connections do not come out of rapid joint actions or short convenings. The trainings brought workers to realize their power came from shared unity and vision. During the second training, worker centers saw the potential to create a continuous space for leadership development and joint campaign work. Thus, October 14, 2014 marked the official founding of the New York Workers Center Federation to build the capacity and power of worker centers through leadership trainings and joint campaigning.
We believe that by building multiracial immigrant and worker leadership, WCF can serve as a hub for innovative ideas to inspire and reinvigorate the mainstream labor movement. WCF strengthens member organizations by creating a leadership pipeline for the next generation of worker leaders that can lead campaigns and be the voice for the worker rights movement.
New York Worker Center Federation Members: Street Vendor Project, NY Taxi Workers Alliance, El Centro del Inmigrante, NICE, Laundry Workers Center, DRUM, Cidadao Global, ROC NY, Retail Action Project, and Enlace.
Delfino Leadership Institute
We have reached a critical point in our organizing. This is the time of great struggle, like the loss of one of our compañeros, Delfino Velazquez, who was killed in 2014 doing construction work, by a contractor who did not take precautions for his workers safety and the addition of 1,300 new NYPD. We aim need to redefine what #SafetyIs. Our health and safety are at risk, our salaries are being robbed, our immigration status is insecure, our family’s needs are great but our dreams are even greater.
In 2015 we launched the Delfino Leadership Institute (DLI), named after Delfino who was among the founding members of the New York Worker Center Federation. DLI is a year long intensive training in developing workers as a leader and placing them in positions of power to lead campaigns. Participants will learn how to organize and base building, planning and leading campaigns, developing team leaders, facilitating trainings, and popular education. DLI aims to increase the capacity of Worker Centers, so that they have stronger leaders.
The Delfino Leadership Institute builds the new generation of the labor movement. Worker leaders learn how to build movements larger than economic based, helping to lead actions against police brutality, gender justice training, women summits, and immigrant rights marches. Frontline workers are taking the lead to transform the worker rights movement.
Delfino Leadership Institute 2018
May 18- 20