The long standing Labor-United Way Partnership annually combines the power of more than 12.5 million working families and their communities who work towards a shared vision where everyone has the opportunity to reach their highest potential.
In 2016, AFL-CIO/San Francisco Labor Council launched an exciting new initiative — the Labor Center for Immigrant Justice (WE RISE SF) — with a mission of providing one stop legal and wraparound services to immigrant union members and their families. This is the first center in the country supported by local city government as it is led by: SF Labor Council (SFLC), United Way Bay Area (UWBA), SFLC Community Services Director, and the UWBA labor liaison.
WE RISE SF has been successful in engaging a large group of residents in need and providing critical services to folks who have been historically under resourced. The initiative collaborates with unions to reach workers where they are, as the staff is permitted to conduct outreach and education for immigrant workers in the cafeterias and break areas where they work to inform and educate them about the extensive resources that are available.
“Through this work, we’ve learned a lot in regards to the needs and aspirations of immigrant union members, their families, and how they can play a role in the union movement and in San Francisco overall,” said Tom Ryan, SFLC Director of Community Services and UWBA labor liaison. “Hearing their excitement and joy on being able to be fully involved in their union and the greater community is a great feeling.”
The group works with local unions and employers to reach out to immigrant union members and their families to provide quality legal immigration and wraparound services. They also partner with immigration law firms to provide quality consultations to these workers. Through these services, immigrants are improving their worker status so they are able to significantly move towards greater self-sufficiency.
At the annual awards banquet of the Union Labor Party, WE RISE SF was awarded the Community Award. “We are proud that the United Way-Labor partnership is supporting the immigrant community by providing critical services through WE RISE SF,” said Amalia Chamorro, UWBA Vice President of Public Policy and manager for the Labor Community Services program. “This work is more important than ever, given the current state of uncertainty facing immigrant communities in today’s national political landscape.”
There are multiple opportunities for volunteering with the Labor Center for Immigrant Justice, including bi-lingual volunteers who assist clients in citizenship classes, accompanying clients to access records or fingerprints, assisting with interpretation, and helping with various tasks in the office.