The Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center (CIWC) is a community organization leading our region forward on the issues of immigrant and worker justice. We bring together low-wage workers through service, education, and leadership development. We provide our community’s poorest residents with the tools they need to confront and prevent injustice.
Our Worker Justice program responds to community members experiencing wage theft, unjust terminations, and workplace injuries. Since its founding CIWC’s victories for immigrant workers have been touted in local and national media, including: wage recoveries for 30 immigrant bricklayers on several federal development projects (2008); recovery of wage kickbacks to immigrant and low wage employees at two local animal hospitals (2011); and recovery of overtime time pay fraudulently withheld from dozens of immigrant workers at a large pallet company (2014).
Our Immigrant Justice program responds to immigrants in distress, often stemming from dealings with police. CIWC has trained its members on how to deal effectively with law enforcement. What is more, we have trained our members to advocate for improvements in community-police relations. For example, after years of discussion and deliberation with a coalition led by the CIWC, Cincinnati’s Police Department announced a series of policy changes designed to improve crime prevention in immigrant communities and reduce unnecessary, costly detentions.
CIWC encourages those it serves to become members of the organization. Our most active members are from immigrant families; these families have joined the CIWC to advocate for the normalization of immigrant family life and work life through meaningful immigration reform and effective wage law reform.
Along with worker justice and immigrant rights campaigns, the CIWC emphasizes education and training.
Training topics include:
– Workers’ Rights: covers basic labor law and rights (NLRA, FLSA, FMLA, EEOC, OSHA) along with some useful organizing tools. The training is open to workers in all industries.
– Occupational Safety & Health Act: OSHA approved training supported by the Susan Harwood Training Program
– Know Your Rights: includes what to do if you are stopped by the police in various situations including: 1) in the workplace 2) in your home 3) while driving or in a vehicle 4)while walking around in public amongst other skills and immigration policy update.
CIWC members are trained to facilitate these trainings through Train-the-Trainer programs. CIWC emphasizes the empowerment and education of low wage and immigrant workers so that they, themselves, can educate their communities.
The CIWC emphasizes interfaith solidarity and seeks to work with a diversity of faith communities to achieve victory in efforts of worker and immigrant justice. For example: