Workers Defense Project

Remote Postion/Austin, TX

This is the 2022 fellowship description for this mentor organization. This position has been filled.

Workers Defense Project is a leader in the movement for good, safe jobs. Founded in 2002, WDP began as a small legal aid project for immigrant workers suffering wage theft. Since then, the organization has developed a member base of low-wage and immigrant workers, and gained notoriety for its ability to translate direct services and grassroots organizing into concrete policy wins in one of the toughest climates for workers in the country. WDP focuses on winning better working conditions in the Texas construction industry, which is both one of the most powerful special interest groups in the state and one of the largest employers of immigrants. We have received national acclaim from media outlets like The New York Times, which in 2013 named us one of the most creative organizations for immigrant workers in the United States. Founded in Austin, WDP opened an office in Dallas in 2012, and another in Houston in 2017.

WDP is a statewide, membership-based organization devoted to workers’ rights and advocacy, chiefly aiming to build power among Texas construction workers. Its mission—to empower low-income, Latinx, immigrant workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing, and strategic partnerships—is accomplished through a network of dedicated staff, volunteers, and members. The Employment & Legal Services department helps low-wage workers directly address serious workplace problems through legal services and direct action. The Organizing department uses education, advocacy, direct action, and leadership development to empower our worker-members to effect systemic change. The Better Builder® & Policy (BBP) improves conditions for working and immigrant families across Texas by advocating for higher standards in the construction industry and beyond.

The fellow will assist in the development of employment cases on behalf of WDP members as well as conduct legal and policy research to support WDP’s ongoing strategic campaigns. This includes interviewing clients and potential clients of WDP, supporting any ongoing litigation on behalf of WDP or its members, and assisting individual workers in filing and pursuing claims with administrative agencies. Fellows will be supervised by WDP’s staff attorneys, but will also likely collaborate with WDP organizing and policy advocacy staff across the state. During the pandemic, WDP has refrained from in-person activities as much as possible and has conducted its legal and organizing work over the phone and on virtual platforms. This position provides a unique opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment that connects legal advocacy to innovative policy and organizing initiatives.

Spanish language proficiency is highly preferred.

Position is Remote.

$7,000 stipend for the 10 week fellowship.

Address cover letter to:

Hannah Alexander
Staff Attorney
Workers Defense Project
5604 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78723