our policy ADVOCACY

We are Black workers. From the warehouse to the board room, from the deep South[i]to Silicon Valley,[ii] we face discrimination in hiring,[iii] promotions,[iv] treatment, and pay.[v] We are the “last hired, first fired,”[vi] and it shows: Black unemployment remains at nearly 10% ,[vii] and underemployment is between 11 and 12.5%.[viii] Black women suffered the largest loss of employment in the current recession, and those who are employed only get paid about 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes.[ix] Black youth unemployment, which was nearly twice that of White youth pre-pandemic, peaked at 35% in May 2020 and currently hovers near 20%.[x]

We are and have always been essential workers. We are on the front lines even though we are nearly three times more likely to be hospitalized with, and nearly twice as likely to die from, COVID-19.[xi] On top of the devastation of this past year, we, along with Latinx workers, face further disproportionate job losses due to companies’ decisions around automation.[xii] Employers laud us in the spotlight as heroes, while they sacrifice our safety and dignity behind warehouse doors to boost their profits.

We will not be pushed aside. We demand seats, a say, and security at the policymaking table. And we create our own tables and spaces where Black workers are leading and driving the policy initiatives that we engage in and support. We already know that the current economy, which is built on structural racism, isn’t working. We know that policies designed without us won’t help us.[xiii] We have an opportunity to build an anti-racist economy that works for everyone. The policies that we advocate for will serve the purpose of moving us toward that new economy that centers Black workers, equity, care, and our wellbeing. When we thrive, the entire country thrives.

We are building out our transformative policy agenda that seeks to build worker power through engagement in community political education; policy reports and briefs to support local and national organizing; legislative advocacy with members and partners; and the development and application of participatory policymaking and decision-making models.

Stay on the lookout for future updates here!

[1] Andre M. Perry et al., “Amazon’s union battle in Bessemer, Alabama is about dignity, racial justice, and the future of the American worker,” March 16, 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2021/03/16/the-amazon-union-battle-in-bessemer-is-about-dignity-racial-justice-and-the-future-of-the-american-worker/

[1] Sidney Fussell, “Black Tech Employees Rebel Against ‘Diversity Theater,’” March 8, 2021, https://www.wired.com/story/black-tech-employees-rebel-against-diversity-theater/

[1] See Jason Del Rey, “Amazon’s Black employees report years of racism at the company,” February 26, 2021, https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/2/26/22297554/amazon-race-black-diversity-inclusion (describing discrimination in hiring, pay, treatment and promotions).

[1] See Alyse Stanley, “Facebook Is Reportedly Under Investigation for ‘Systemic’ Racial Bias in Its Workplace,” March 6, 2021, https://gizmodo.com/facebook-is-reportedly-under-investigation-for-systemic-1846423024 (describing discrimination in hiring, treatment and promotions).

[1] See, e.g., Nitasha Tiku, “Why Tech Leadership May Have a Bigger Race Than Gender Problem,” October 3, 2017, https://www.wired.com/story/tech-leadership-race-problem/.

[1] Jhacova Williams, “Laid Off More, Hired Less: Black Workers in the COVID-19 Recession,” September 29, 2020, https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/09/laid-off-more-hired-less-black-workers-in-the-covid.html

[1] Nate Rattner and Thomas Frank, “Black and Hispanic women aren’t sharing in the job market recovery,” March 5, 2021, https://cnb.cx/2NXiuo5.

[1] Ray Nunn et al., “Race and Underemployment in the US Labor Market,” August 1, 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/08/01/race-and-underemployment-in-the-u-s-labor-market/.

[1] Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson, “Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality,” June 1, 2020, https://www.epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/.

[1] Jazmin Goodwin, “It’s not just about money. Black youth will bear permanent scars from this recession,” July 7, 2020, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/07/07/economy/unemployment-black-youth/index.html; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate – 16-19 Yrs., Black or African American, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS14000018, March 18, 2021.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Risk for COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization, and Death By Race/Ethnicity,” updated March 12, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-race-ethnicity.html.

[1] Abigail Johnson Hess, “The pandemic accelerated job automation and Black and Latino workers are most likely to be replaced,” March 17, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/17/black-latino-workers-most-likely-to-be-replaced-by-automation-report.html.

[1] Margaret Teresa Brower and Jamila Michener, “Latina and Black women lost jobs in record numbers. Policies designed for all women don’t necessarily help,” February 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/09/latina-black-women-lost-jobs-record-numbers-policies-designed-all-women-dont-necessarily-help/.

[1] Level Up is an initiative by the National Black Worker Centers Project to provide more support, more knowledge, and more resources to organize and build up Black worker power. Black workers have been ready to destroy the systems that keep all workers in chains, and we’re leveling up so that we can take on larger more impactful campaigns to end discrimination in the workplace—because our people deserve it.

[1] Kendra Bozarth, Grace Western, And Janelle Jones, “Black Women Best: The Framework We Need for an Equitable Economy,” September 2020, https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RI_Black-Women-Best_IssueBrief-202009.pdf.

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[i] Andre M. Perry et al., “Amazon’s union battle in Bessemer, Alabama is about dignity, racial justice, and the future of the American worker,” March 16, 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2021/03/16/the-amazon-union-battle-in-bessemer-is-about-dignity-racial-justice-and-the-future-of-the-american-worker/ [ii] Sidney Fussell, “Black Tech Employees Rebel Against ‘Diversity Theater,’” March 8, 2021, https://www.wired.com/story/black-tech-employees-rebel-against-diversity-theater/ [iii] See Jason Del Rey, “Amazon’s Black employees report years of racism at the company,” February 26, 2021, https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/2/26/22297554/amazon-race-black-diversity-inclusion (describing discrimination in hiring, pay, treatment and promotions). [iv] See Alyse Stanley, “Facebook Is Reportedly Under Investigation for ‘Systemic’ Racial Bias in Its Workplace,” March 6, 2021, https://gizmodo.com/facebook-is-reportedly-under-investigation-for-systemic-1846423024 (describing discrimination in hiring, treatment and promotions). [v] See, e.g., Nitasha Tiku, “Why Tech Leadership May Have a Bigger Race Than Gender Problem,” October 3, 2017, https://www.wired.com/story/tech-leadership-race-problem/. [vi] Jhacova Williams, “Laid Off More, Hired Less: Black Workers in the COVID-19 Recession,” September 29, 2020, https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/09/laid-off-more-hired-less-black-workers-in-the-covid.html [vii] Nate Rattner and Thomas Frank, “Black and Hispanic women aren’t sharing in the job market recovery,” March 5, 2021, https://cnb.cx/2NXiuo5.

[viii] Ray Nunn et al., “Race and Underemployment in the US Labor Market,” August 1, 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2019/08/01/race-and-underemployment-in-the-u-s-labor-market/. [ix] Elise Gould and Valerie Wilson, “Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus—racism and economic inequality,” June 1, 2020, https://www.epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/. [x] Jazmin Goodwin, “It’s not just about money. Black youth will bear permanent scars from this recession,” July 7, 2020, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/07/07/economy/unemployment-black-youth/index.html; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate – 16-19 Yrs., Black or African American, retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LNS14000018, March 18, 2021. [xi] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Risk for COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization, and Death By Race/Ethnicity,” updated March 12, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-race-ethnicity.html. [xii] Abigail Johnson Hess, “The pandemic accelerated job automation and Black and Latino workers are most likely to be replaced,” March 17, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/17/black-latino-workers-most-likely-to-be-replaced-by-automation-report.html. [xiii] Margaret Teresa Brower and Jamila Michener, “Latina and Black women lost jobs in record numbers. Policies designed for all women don’t necessarily help,” February 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/09/latina-black-women-lost-jobs-record-numbers-policies-designed-all-women-dont-necessarily-help/.

[xiv] Level Up is an initiative by the National Black Worker Centers Project to provide more support, more knowledge, and more resources to organize and build up Black worker power. Black workers have been ready to destroy the systems that keep all workers in chains, and we’re leveling up so that we can take on larger more impactful campaigns to end discrimination in the workplace—because our people deserve it. [xv] Kendra Bozarth, Grace Western, And Janelle Jones, “Black Women Best: The Framework We Need for an Equitable Economy,” September 2020, https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RI_Black-Women-Best_IssueBrief-202009.pdf.