Fuerza Laboral is a workers’ rights center in Central Falls, Rhode Island whose mission is to shift the balance of power in our economy towards labor by educating, training, and organizing workers to become community leaders; by taking direct action to recover unpaid wages and improve workplace conditions; by forcing institutional changes that will better prevent injustices; and — with our POWERNetwork Co-op Incubator program — by constructing a network of worker-owned co-ops that will provide living-wage employment instead of the low-wage, exploitative jobs typically reserved for immigrants and people of color.
Fuerza was founded in 2006 by a group of immigrant workers and has been organizing around issues of economic justice. Fuerza is member-led: the organization’s key decision-makers come from the community in which we organize. Our guiding philosophy is that those who directly experience economic and racial injustice must be leaders in the struggle to gain justice. Immigrant workers are themselves experts in labor exploitation and how systemic oppression operates and are thus in the best position to craft solutions.
Our Board of Directors is comprised of our most committed member-leaders who are elected to one-year terms each year by dues-paying members. The Board meets at least once a month to evaluate strategy and finances, make organizational decisions, and ensure our work continues to align with our vision. Each of our campaigns has two co-leaders from our membership who coordinate campaign meetings and facilitate consensus-based decision-making. Additionally, standing committees are each steered by two co-leaders from the membership. These structures provide specific tasks for interested members to take up, and the co-leadership model provides both stability and mutual support.
Fuerza has a transparent leadership-development process in which its members attend educational workshops and trainings where they are empowered to increase levels of involvement, responsibility, and organizational leadership. Fuerza’s members not only participate but also facilitate meetings, lead actions, communicate with media, prepare other workers for actions, make strategic decisions regarding campaigns, and represent our organization to legislators and decision-makers — that is, they take the lead in every aspect of our organization.
Our mission is to develop leaders to confront social injustice. As workers themselves are on the front lines of the injustices they face, they are the best equipped to solve their problems through powerful and creative actions that obtain concrete results. Our engine is our reputation, credibility, and confidence.
Cooperative Program Director
Board Of Directors
José Nicolás Henao / Miguel Henao / Maria Lopera / Etna Trujillo
INSTITUTIONAL PARTNERS AND FUNDERS
We’d like to give a special thanks to our institutional partners and funders for supporting and financing our work.
BuildRI, Center for Family Life, City of Central Falls
Direct Action for Rights and Equality
Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative
International Painters and Allied Trades
Justice at Work
Kirwan Law Office
Navigant Credit Union
National Education Association RI
North American Industries
Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA)
Plumbers & Pipefitters, Local 51
Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)
RI Building Trades, Laborers’ Local 271
RI Labor Law
RI Jobs with Justice
SEIU Local 1199
UFCW Local 328
Umass Dartmouth Labor Education Center
United Nurses & Allied Professionals
University of RI, RI Labor History Society
Working Rhode Island
Ben & Jerry’s Foundation
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
Community Training and Assistance Center
Dexter Donations Fund
Haymarket People’s Fund
Left Tilt Fund
Peace Development Fund
Presbyterian Fund for the Self-Development of People