Raise the Floor Alliance

Chicago, IL

This is the 2018 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

Raise the Floor Alliance (RTF), formerly known as Working Hands Legal Clinic (WHLC), is a coalition of eight Chicago area community-based workers’ centers, including Arise Chicago, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos, Chicago Community and Workers Rights, Chicago Workers’ Collaborative, Latino Union, Restaurant Opportunities Center – Chicago, Warehouse Workers for Justice and Workers Center for Racial Justice. These workers’ centers provide assistance, training, and empowerment to low-wage workers in all low-wage industries and in various geographic locations in northern Illinois.

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. Most recently, RTF and two of its member organizations assisted in passing The Responsible Job Creation Act (HB690), which strengthened workplace protections for temporary workers.  It is also in the middle of a multi-year co-enforcement project with the Illinois Attorney General's Office focusing on pattern and practice cases of employment discrimination, and has begun working on collections and enforcement of the Illinois Domestic Worker's Bill of Rights Act as well as the Chicago and Cook County Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinances.

RTF seeks to ensure that low-wage workers have access to quality jobs and are empowered to uphold and improve workplace standards. RTF achieves its mission by providing research, communications and legal support for efforts to win public and private policy changes that raise the floor for all workers. Since its founding in 2004, RTC has helped to provide workplace rights training to hundreds of leaders and, working with these leaders, has assisted laborers in recovering over $15 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.

The total ten-week stipend for this fellowship will be $6,000.

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:

Lydia Colunga-Merchant, Legal Director
Raise the Floor Alliance
1 N. LaSalle, Suite 1275
Chicago, Illinois 60602


Tel: 312-795-9115

www.raisetheflooralliance.org