Our Goals and Mission

What we do

The Center for Work and Democracy was founded in 2019 to connect university research to the challenges facing working people in our increasingly undemocratic society. Inequality has reached historically unprecedented extremes, undermining avenues for social mobility and driving growing political extremism at the expense of social solidarity and collective care. It is the conviction of the Center that the renewal of social solidarity and democracy will be driven by working people. The mission of the Center is to rebuild the power and voice of working people and to facilitate a more inclusive polity, economy, and civil society.

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Working people have been marginalized in our society. Both political parties rely on working- and middle-class support, but both mostly reflect the policy priorities of businesses and the wealthy. This has destabilized American politics to the point that our democratic institutions are themselves threatened and will only be corrected when working people again have institutions and organizations that represent them.

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Working people need new organizations to amplify their voices and power. Rebuilding the labor movement is essential for this, but so is imagining and building new organizations including community unions, political organizations, and social movements. Working people have taken the lead in activism around immigrant rights, police abolition, housing rights, and environmental justice. All of these organizing and protest efforts are of interest to the Center for Work and Democracy.

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For democracy to survive it is necessary for the economy to be democratized as well. This can happen through unions which give workers a voice on the job, but it can also happen through organizations like cooperatives and worker associations, or through policy interventions like the creation of alternative currencies and increased regulation of monopolistic firms.

The Center acts on our aspirations through our research, our teaching, and our collaborations with unions, labor centers, movement spaces, and civil society organizations. We aim to ensure that the voices of working people, activists, organizers, and leaders are represented in the governance of the Center, in our day-to-day activities, and in our research.

(Photo courtesy of United Healthcare Workers West)

Our Allied Organizations

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SEIU-UHW is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare consumers united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians.

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Healthcare Rising Arizona is a membership organization of everyday Arizonans– patients and caregivers; family, friends, and neighbors– dedicated to improving their standard of health and living.

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GFGM was created to conserve stories of resistance to racial injustice and to curate spaces for all people to grieve, pay respect, and be a voice for justice.

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Faculty at the Labor Center at UMASS Amherst research issues important to workers and workers’ organizations.

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If you feel especially moved by the Center’s work, please consider donating! Donations contribute to further projects dedicated to labor research, community organizing, and the elevation of the working class as well as staff wages and Center events.

You can complete a secure contribution using the link below.


Contact us




Mailing address

P.O. Box 874308

Physical location

777 S Novus Place, Suite 302A

Tempe, AZ 85281


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