Raise the Floor Alliance

Chicago, IL

This is the 2023 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

Raise the Floor Alliance (RTF) is a coalition of Chicago-area worker centers whose mission is to empower low-wage workers to uphold and improve workplace standards. RTF achieves its mission by providing shared legal, policy, communications, organizing, and development capacity with its member worker centers. RTF worker centers include Arise Chicago, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Chicago Community & Workers Rights, Chicago Workers Collaborative, Latino Union, Warehouse Workers for Justice, and Workers Center for Racial Justice. Workers’ centers provide assistance, training, and empowerment to low-wage workers in all low-wage industries and in various geographic locations in northern Illinois. Collectively, RTF reaches thousands of workers in food production, warehousing, manufacturing, restaurant, janitorial services, gig work, childcare, temporary staffing, domestic work and other jobs in the care economy, as well as other low-wage sectors. These workers have historically been excluded from accessing even basic employment benefits such as the minimum wage, overtime benefits, unemployment, earned sick time, retirement, workers compensation and more. Both a learning hub and a space for collective action, RTF brings Illinois-based worker centers into a united voice for dignified, family-supporting jobs.

Together, RTF and these organizations have worked to pass state legislation providing some of the country’s strongest protections for Illinois low-wage workers. Some notable accomplishments are assisting in the drafting and passage of the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act in 2006, as well as the passage of the 2010 Amendments to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, which created an administrative process within the Illinois Department of Labor for workers to file wage claims and more effective enforcement and deterrent mechanisms. RTF and two of its member organizations assisted in passing The Responsible Job Creation Act (HB690), which strengthened workplace protections for temporary workers.

RTF also litigates cases on behalf of low-wage workers to help workers enforce their rights. RTF brings cases under wage and hour law, discrimination statutes, and also enforces workers’ rights to privacy in their biometric information under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). RTF attorneys appear in state and federal court, as well as before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Since its founding in 2004, RTF has helped to provide workplace rights training to hundreds of leaders and, working with these leaders, has assisted laborers in recovering over $20 million in owed wages.

The Peggy Browning Fund Summer Fellow will work under the supervision of the RTF Legal Director in the following areas:

• Develop workplace rights curriculum and materials for training of workers’ center leaders;
• Assist in conducting trainings of workers’ center leaders;
• Assist in conducting Know Your Rights presentations to workers;
• Assist in conducting intake interviews with laborers and identifying legal issues;
• Participate in active litigation drafting complaints, motions and conducting research; and
• Assist in conducting research on policy initiatives.

RTF will be flexible in permitting remote working arrangements given the impacts of COVID-19 and will prioritize Fellows' safety.

The total ten-week stipend for this fellowship will be $7,000.

In addition to the basic application requirements (cover letter, application form, essays, resume), applicants for this fellowship must also include a legal writing sample.

Address cover letter to:
Raise the Floor Alliance
1 N. LaSalle, Suite 1275
Chicago, Illinois 60602