The Worker Center Handbook
A Practical Guide to Starting and Building the New Labor Movement
Kim Bobo, Marien Casillas Pabellon
Worker centers are becoming an important element in labor and community organizing and the struggle for fair pay and decent working conditions for low-wage workers, especially immigrants. There are currently more than two hundred worker centers in the country, and more start every month. Most of these centers struggle as they try to raise funds, maintain stable staff, and build a membership base. For this book, Kim Bobo and Marién Casillas-Pabellón, two women with extensive experience supporting and leading worker centers, have interviewed staff at a broad range of worker centers with the goal of helping others understand how to start and build their organizations. This book is not theoretical, but rather is designed to be a practical workbook for staff, boards, and supporters of worker centers.
Geared toward groups that want to build worker centers, this book discusses how to survey the community, take on an initial campaign, recruit leaders, and raise seed funds. Bobo and Casillas-Pabellón also provide a wealth of advice to help existing centers become stronger and more effective. The Worker Center Handbook compiles best practices from around the country on partnering with labor, enlisting the assistance of faith communities and lawyers, raising funds, developing a serious membership program, integrating civic engagement work, and running major campaigns. The authors urge center leaders to both organize and build strong administrative systems. Full of concrete examples from worker centers around the country, the handbook is practical and honest about challenges and opportunities.