Worker Justice Center of New York

The Worker Justice Center of New York (WJCNY) was formed in 2011 by a merger between Farmworker Legal Services and the Workers’ Rights Law Center, which was funded by grants through the Dyson Foundation’s Strategic Restructuring Initiative. The WJCNY provides services to agricultural and other low-wage workers, with a focus on recovering unpaid wages, educating workers about their basic workplace rights, ensuring fair and safe work conditions, and providing training and leadership opportunities.

More than 90% of the Worker Justice Center’s funding comes from state and federal government contracts, with the remaining funds coming from individual donations and attorney’s fees recouped from representing victims of wage theft and civil rights violations.

The Dyson Foundation’s most recent grant to the WJCNY provides continued program support to advance the rights of low-wage workers in the Hudson Valley. Outreach and community-building initiatives include the Community ID Initiative through which low-wage workers (such as migrant and immigrant workers) can receive an official photo ID accepted by local authorities. Other programs include worker rights education and leadership development, legal assistance, litigation, public education and policy advocacy. Over the past 30 years, the organization has recovered over $10 million in unpaid wages on behalf of its clients.

The Dyson Foundation’s support of the WJCNY under the Health & Safety Net funding theme is an example of the Foundation’s strong commitment to ensuring that the vulnerable and invisible in our community who are experiencing poverty and exploitation may also have advocates and a safety net.