Job Announcement: Retail Workforce Development Coordinator

Retail Workforce Development Coordinator

Organization Overview:

The Fair Work Center empowers workers to achieve fairness at their places of employment.  We are hub for workers to understand and exercise their legal rights, improve working conditions and connect with community resources.

We envision a society in which workers are treated with dignity and respect regardless of class, gender and race, where employers follow all labor laws, and where all workers know and exercise their rights at work.

We believe that minimum labor standards are a key solution to creating fair work places.  To us fair work adheres to the following values: accountability, equity, dignity, respect and transparency.

This fall we will launch a pilot retail workforce development project. We will modify an existing retail curriculum to meet Seattle’s retail workforce needs and provide skills and labor law training to both workers and employers in the retail industry.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Modify, implement, and scale retail skills and workplace rights trainings to match the current and future needs of the retail workforce.
  • Conduct recruitment for and lead trainings
  • Build relationships with and support workforce development partners.
  • Outreach to retailers to develop relationships with managers and begin an ongoing hiring network
  • Prepare job seekers with attaining the necessary job skills in interviewing, resume-building, networking and communication, through individual counseling and/or workshops
  • Maintain progress in database.
  • Coordinate with staff to engage program participants in broader organizational activities

Qualifications/Skills Required

The ideal candidate will be a jack-of-all trades, mission driven, a quick-learner, flexible and have deep respect for workers.

  • Experience working with immigrant and refugees and communities of color.
  • Experience working in retail or other service sector jobs.
  • Commitment to fairness at work and racial and economic equity.
  • 2-3 years of experience working in outreach, adult education, community organizing, social work, case management or any combination of experience that demonstrates an ability to connect with and support workers as they empower themselves.
  • Highly organized person who can balance attention to detail with working in teams.
  • Strong interpersonal, written and communication skills.
  • Ability and interest in giving presentations and speaking with people one-on-one.
  • A strong interest in working collaboratively with a demonstrated ability for time and project management.
  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite and experience with CRM Databases.
  • Proficiency in a second language (Chinese, Tigrinya, Oromo, Portuguese or Spanish preferred)

Supervision
The Operations Coordinator reports to and is supervised by the Program Director, Sam Keller.

Compensation
This is a full time six-month temporary non-exempt position with the potential to become a permanent position in 2018.  The hourly rate is $24 to $26.50 per hour. On an annual basis this is equivalent to an annual rate of $50,000 to $55,000. This position comes with robust benefits (health, vision, dental, retirement and vacation) that begin upon hire.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to sam@fairworkcenter.org by August 1, 2017.

Fair Work Center does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, housing status, disability, national origin, age or genetic information.

Fair Work Center is committed to a policy of pluralism and equal opportunity in an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices for its client communities, Board and staff. Pluralism refers to the active promotion of mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among people who are diverse in work background, experience, education, race, color, national origin, sex, age, religious preference, marital status, sexual orientation, sensory, mental and physical abilities, veteran status, or any other perceived differences. The resulting diversity is both a source of program strength and a matter of fundamental human fairness.

Fair Work News, May 2017 Edition

Greetings and welcome to the May edition of the Fair Work News, our quarterly e-newsletter.

Nicole Vallestero Keenan

When I was the victim of wage theft years ago, I made the decision to ignore it. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. Asking for your rights shouldn’t be so hard, and it shouldn’t incite fear over losing your job. But it was hard and it did make me scared. Every worker should have the power to say to her boss, “Hey, my paycheck’s a little short,” or, “I need to be out sick today,” without fear of retaliation. I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I needed was a Fair Work Center.

Two years ago, we set out to build an organization to ensure every worker in our region knew their rights and had the tools and resources to enact them. Today we are continuing to grow as an organization and expand our reach. We will soon have 10 staff. In our new contract with the Seattle Office of Labor Standards, we have 12 community partners committed to training workers 22,000 workers together. And we have a thriving legal clinic that has already supported hundreds of workers to achieve their rights on the job. In this newsletter, we provide updates on two cases that the legal clinic recently closed and two more that we are currently working on.

But there is so much more to do. Earlier this week, we marched with thousands of people for worker and immigrant rights on May Day – International Workers Day. It’s a day for solidarity among workers across the country, but it also highlights the barriers to sustainable, fair work for immigrants in our country. If your immigration status is tenuous, retaliation on the job could result in tearing your family and your life apart.

Fair Work Center is digging hard into the work of making sure our labor laws are implemented well and benefit everyone, regardless of national origin, primary language, physical ability, gender or race. We are working to make sure that Washington State’s new minimum wage and paid sick leave laws protect workers against retaliation and provide real remedies for workers when they are wronged. We are also launching a series of roundtable discussions to help government agencies identify and enforce labor laws while protecting the identity of workers – thereby adding another layer of protection from retaliation.

Finally, I am excited to announce that we are launching a new leadership program for workers we engage with through our outreach, education and legal services. The Worker Power Training program will deepen workers’ understanding of labor and employment law, build workers’ skills for supporting and advocating for each other, and connect workers to others who are equally passionate about these issues. The story of Amina and Ahmed in this newsletter is a perfect example of how workers gain power by standing together.

Thank you for your continued support of Fair Work Center.

In Solidarity,

 

 

FAIR WORK NEWS CONTENTS:

Amina, Ahmed and the power of standing together

Fair Work Center is excited to announce that we are launching a new leadership development program for workers we engage with through our outreach, education and legal services. The Worker Power Training program will deepen workers’ understanding of labor and employment law, build workers’ skills for supporting and advocating for each other, and connect workers to others who are equally passionate about these issues.

Fully informed workers standing together creates power for workers, especially in low-wage industries where employers often isolate and intimidate workers into remaining silent and compliant.

Take the recent example of Amina and the role our own Ahmed Abdi played as peer advocate. Amina, a Somali refugee and mother, has worked for years in commercial cleaning for one of the major subcontractors at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

About a year ago, Amina got a new shift supervisor, and it wasn’t going well. She was often reduced to tears by her interactions with him. He routinely yelled at her in front of other staff and in one-on-one meetings. She put up with his verbal abuse for months. She even tried to get transferred to another shift supervisor’s team but management said no. When Amina finally stood up for herself and told her supervisor he couldn’t keep treating her this way, she was told to turn in her ID badge and go home early. She thought she lost her job.

A few days later she was called in for a meeting with her shift supervisor and the general manager. She thought for sure they were going to fire her. She felt that was unfair but she didn’t know what to do about it.

Amina called her friend, Faduma, who had experienced her own problems at work but got support from Fair Work Center. Faduma told Amina to call Ahmed Abdi, a leader in the East African community and our outreach manager.

Amina asked Ahmed whether she should go to the meeting. It was 9:00pm and her meeting was the next morning. She was scared of what might happen and thought it might be best to not go at all. Ahmed told Amina to go and he offered to accompany her as peer support and translator.

In the meeting, Ahmed steered the conversation away from the personal tensions between Amina and her shift supervisor to a more productive discussion on the quality of Amina’s work history, which was exemplary. Prior to her new supervisor, there were no formal complaints about her work over the years. Even her supervisor’s issues were based on her personality, never her ability to do the work. Ahmed helped cool simmering tensions and gave Amina the courage to tell her side of the story.

At the end of the meeting, Ahmed and Amina were told to wait outside in the lobby while her supervisor and the general manager spoke in private. Five minutes later the general manager emerged, handed Amina her badge back and told her she would be transferred to another shift supervisor.

On her own, Amina was afraid. She felt powerless. But with Ahmed standing with her, she had the courage to fight for her job. Now Amina knows she is not alone, knows she has rights on the job, and knows how to support other her co-workers or friends when they need it.

We believe the Worker Power Trainings will strengthen worker leadership in our region. This leadership, in turn, will support other workers in standing up for their rights, as well as inform our work at Fair Work Center over the coming years. We are excited by this new opportunity and we hope you are too. If so, please consider supporting Fair Work Center with a donation to help us get this program fully resourced and off the ground.

FAIR WORK NEWS CONTENTS:

May Case Briefs

Here is an update on two cases we reported in our last newsletter as well as a sampling of two new cases. All worker names are changed to protect their privacy.

Update on Kim’s case: Previously, we shared that Kim was paid just $1,000 per month as an assistant to a hairdresser, despite working 45 hours each week (less than $5.50 per hour). Her employer thought that she could take advantage of Kim’s immigration status as well as her desire to break into the personal care industry. The Fair Work Legal Clinic represented Kim and filed charges on her behalf with Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

Though L&I initially assessed $2,000 in back pay, which was as much as Kim expected, Danielle Kim, a third-year law student at Seattle University, didn’t stop there. She looked closely at the salon’s appointment log, parsing each appointment and determining how many hours Kim worked. Danielle proved that Kim was owed another $2,000 for her overtime and work off the clock. L&I agreed, ordering the employer to pay the full $4,000. Kim is thrilled with the result, but we at Fair Work Center believe L&I should go further in future cases.

Currently, L&I does not require that employers include interest when paying back wages stolen from their workers’ paychecks. No matter how long ago the wage theft occurred or how long the investigation takes, L&I will allow the employer to satisfy its obligation paying only the wages that were due originally. Essentially, this means that employers can take a no-interest loan from their employees’ paychecks. Meanwhile, low-wage workers – who are disproportionately women, people of color, immigrants and refugees – suffer the consequences. Fair Work Center will continue to advocate on behalf of all workers to recover interest in all wage theft cases.

Update on José’s case: In our last newsletter, we also told you about José, who worked as a painter for a large construction firm that misclassified him as an independent contractor. He came to Fair Work Center with some $2,000 in court fees after his initial lawyer abandoned his case.

After we initially took the case, the employer approached us with a settlement offer of $750. But after four months of careful case development and hard negotiation on José’s behalf by the Legal Clinic – including outstanding work by Troy Thornton another third-year law student at Seattle University – José just accepted a settlement of $10,000.

The Fair Work Legal Clinic took Jose’s case when no other attorney in Seattle would. Not because those lawyers didn’t care about José or believe in his case, but because our justice system is not set up to serve the needs of low-wage workers. For complex cases like José’s, with relatively modest amounts of money at stake, it is incredibly difficult for low-wage workers to get justice on the job.

Here are a few more newer cases currently underway.

Gova worked as a seasonal employee at a large department store in downtown Seattle. During her two months there, she suffered routine harassment from her manager, Susy. Susy said things like: “You don’t belong here,” and “I don’t understand your English,” and “Why don’t you go back?” Gova is from Mongolia.

But Gova couldn’t afford to lose her job. While she was regularly harassed by her manager, she was also forced to work through many of her rest and meal breaks to ensure the retail floor was sufficiently staffed during the busiest time of the year. Not that Gova complained, she was a hard worker, but Human Resources noticed she wasn’t clocking out for meal breaks and insisted she do so.

One evening, about halfway into her 8-hour shift, Gova asked for her meal break. Susy denied her break and told Gova to ask again in an hour, which she did. She was denied again. Recalling her conversations with Human Resources, Gova said that she had to take her break. The situation escalated when to the point where Gova was told to go home early from her shift. A few days later Gova learned she was fired. Gova requested an investigation and access to her employee file. Both requests were denied.

The Legal Clinic has helped Gova gain access to her file and a written statement of the reasons for her discharge. We are assisting Gova to file wage and hour complaints with the Seattle Office of Labor Standards to get Gova paid for her breaks, and we are working with Gova to explore her options for other actions against her employer.

Amar is both a long- and short-haul truck driver. He worked for a single dispatching company and was told that, as an “independent contractor,” he would be paid for each successful delivery in an amount decided at the time of dispatch. Needless to say, the dispatcher never told him the amount he would earn at the time of dispatch.

For the first six months, though, they paid Amar somewhere between $750 and $3,000 depending the length of the trip. In March, he was dispatched to a make a delivery in Ohio and headed out on this 10-day round-trip journey. Upon his return, the company told him that they could not pay him right then but would pay later. After several more unpaid jobs, he demanded payment and said that he intended to leave the company. The owner threatened his commercial drivers license – a not-so-veiled threat based on his perceived immigration status.

The Legal Clinic is working to get Amar paid the correct amount for every trip her made.

Finally, in a new and still developing case: Lucas is a cook at a local restaurant chain where is has not been paid overtime or provided rest or meal breaks. Other workers at the restaurant are in the same situation, though they are too frightened to come forward. The Legal Clinic has accepted his case and is hopeful to remedy Lucas’s situation as well as encourage his co-workers to come forward.

FAIR WORK NEWS CONTENTS:

Sing Into Spring 2017 Recap

We had so much fun at Sing Into Spring, our karaoke fundraiser on March 23 at The Royal Room. More than 175 people packed the room and enjoyed good food, company and more than a few amazing karaoke performances! If you missed the fun, it is not too late to donate and support Fair Work Center. Check out some of our favorite photos from the night below.

Our MC and ED, Nicole

Jose from Latino Community Fund, a Fair Work Collaborative partner

Pabi, a worker the is getting support from the Legal Clinic

Becki Smith, FWC Board Member

Sam, bringing down the house

One for the kids!

The Got Green All Stars!

FAIR WORK NEWS CONTENTS:

Job Announcement: Staff Attorney, Fair Work Legal Clinic

Job Announcement:  Staff Attorney, Fair Work Center Legal Clinic

Fair Work Center Program Description

The Fair Work Center empowers workers to achieve fair employment.  We are a hub for workers to understand and exercise their legal rights, improve working conditions and connect with community resources.  We envision a society in which workers are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of class, gender, or race. We will work to ensure that workers are informed of their rights under the law and that employers are held accountable to labor standards.

The Fair Work Center Legal Clinic, operated in partnership with Seattle University and the University of Washington schools of law advises and represents workers in accessing their rights under Seattle’s labor ordinances as well as under state and federal law.  The Clinic meets community members where they are, with representation taking place in the community rather than waiting for workers to come to us.

Position Description

The Fair Work Center seeks a full‐time Staff Attorney to join our Legal Clinic.  The Staff Attorney will:

  • Represent workers in challenging workplace violations;
  • Provide legal support to the Intake Program;
  • Provide legal support to the Community Clinic Program;
  • Participate in outreach and education events, providing intake, brief advice or other support as needed.
  • Provide technical support to Fair Work Center’s community partners.
  • Monitor and participate in rulemaking and other policy advocacy relating to minimum standards legislation at the local, state, and national level.

Qualifications.

The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to economic, racial and social justice, be comfortable in a start-up atmosphere, be mission driven, a quick-learner, flexible and have deep respect for individual workers.  Specifically, the successful candidate will possess the following:

  • Demonstrated commitment to economic, racial and social justice;
  • A law degree from an accredited law school;
  • Admission to the bar in Washington, or ability and willingness to obtain admission in Washington as soon as possible;
  • At least three years of legal experience in labor and employment law.
  • Excellent legal analysis and writing skills;
  • Experience working with immigrant and refugees and communities of color; and
  • Strong interpersonal, negotiation, and communication skills.
  • Proficiency in Spanish is strongly preferred.

Compensation.  The salary range is $50,000 – $70,000 per year, depending on experience, along with generous health, retirement and leave benefits.

Application: Please send your letter of interest, resume, three references, and legal writing sample to:  Elizabeth Ford, Legal Director, Fair Work Center, Liz@fairworkcenter.org or by U.S. mail at 5308 Martin Luther King Way, South, Seattle, Washington 98118.

We will accept applications submitted by close of business on March 15, 2017.  But please try to get your application as soon as possible.

If you need disability, language or other accommodation in the application process, please contact Hana Kawai at Hana@fairworkcenter.org.

The Fair Work Center is committed to a policy of pluralism and equal opportunity in an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices for its client communities, Board and staff.    Pluralism refers to the active promotion of mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among people who are diverse in work background, experience, education, race, color, national origin, sex, age, religious preference, marital status, sexual orientation, sensory, mental and physical abilities, veteran status, or any other perceived differences.  The resulting diversity is both a source of program strength and a matter of fundamental human fairness.

Fair Work News, February 2017 Edition

Fair Work News Logo

Greetings and welcome to the first edition of the Fair Work News, our new quarterly e-newsletter.

Nicole Vallestero KeenanAs we begin 2017, we do so with the belief that our work is more important than ever. All of us at Fair Work Center know we we’ve got our work cut out for us protecting the gains made over the past eight years. We are in the middle of a national assault on workers and our families, particularly those of us who are most likely to have our rights violated at work: immigrants, people of color and/or LGBTQ workers. I take hope in that our country has a long history of movement builders and lawyers working together to protect our basic civil liberties, and I was buoyed to see that collaboration on display at airports around the country over this past weekend.

Here in Seattle and in Washington State, our community has won some of the strongest labor standards in the country. We will continue to push that needle and ensure that all workers in our region know their rights and have the tools and support to enact them.

In 2016, Fair Work Center talked to more than 9,000 workers about their employment rights, helped recover tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and supported dozens of wrongfully-terminated workers in getting their jobs back. More importantly, we built collaborations with dozens of movement builders, community organizations and legal advocates who are prepared to work together in the coming years to protect all workers’ rights.

In 2017, we will expand our reach and our capacity to support more workers from across the state, regardless of immigration status. Despite the direction that our country may be headed, we are confident the Pacific Northwest will continue to lead the way in raising standards for workers and defending our civil rights.

Thank you for supporting Fair Work Center, and thank you for your role in protecting each other and our rights.

In Solidarity,

Nicole Vallestero Keenan

Nicole Vallestero Keenan
Executive Director

In this first edition of the Fair Work News:


2016 Annual Report

FWC Annual Report

We are excited to share our first Annual Report. The report highlights some of our successes from 2016 and includes stories from workers and our partners in the Fair Work Collaborative.

Link | PDF

Fair Work Legal Clinic Case Briefs

The case briefs contain a sampling of cases that have come in to the Fair Work Legal Clinic. Names and other identifying information have been changed to protect the privacy of these workers, but we share them to give .

 


Interview with Founder and President of Fair Work Center: David Rolf

David_Rolf

David Rolf is President of SEIU 775, the union of long-term care providers in Washington that founded Fair Work Center in 2015 and continues to invest heavily in our success. In this interview we talk to David about why he got involved the labor movement, where the idea of Fair Work Center came from, and what he would do to improve the welfare of all working people.


Interviews with Founding Donors

Fair Work Center is incredibly grateful to our Founding Donors: Breskin Johnson & Townsend, Terrell Marshall Law Group, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, and Frank Freed Subit & Thomas. These organizations have all made deep, lasting investments in the success of Fair Work Center.

In this newsletter we bring you interviews with:

We ask all of these leading employment attorneys how they got into employment law and some of the challenges and solutions they see for workers today.


SAVE THE DATE: Sing Into Spring, March 23 at the Royal Room

Please join us for Sing Into Spring on March 23, 2017 a the Royal Room in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. Sing Into Spring will be a karakoe fundraiser for Fair Work Center and we hope to bring together all of our friends, family, partners and allies in this work to raise the resources we need to continue fighting for the rights of all workers.

 

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SAVE THE DATE: Since Into Spring, March 23 at the Royal Room

Please join us for Sing Into Spring on March 23, 2017 a the Royal Room in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. Sing Into Spring will be a karakoe fundraiser for Fair Work Center and we hope to bring together all of our friends, family, partners and allies in this work to raise the resources we need to continue fighting for the rights of all workers.

 

Read more from Fair Work News: