CIWO in action

Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO)

All Black Lives Matter: Read CIWO's statement.

Innovative Movement Building in Unprecedented Times: Read CIWO's Summer Newsletter.

What is CIWO?

The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) is a “think and do tank” whose mission is the promotion of strong workers’ organizations. We seek to shift the balance of power towards greater economic and social equality. CIWO leverages the resources of a highly respected research university to create a centralized go-to institute for strategic and organizational development. Our primary objectives are to facilitate the generation and dissemination of ideas, strategies, and programs for newly emergent as well as established worker centers, community organizations, labor unions and their local, state and national networks.

Our mission and goals || Our Team || CIWO Fellows || Join our mailing list. 


Programs include:

Bargaining for the
Common Good

Build the Bench

BCG group

Reinventing collective bargaining for the 21st century.

Build the Bench

Deepening ties between networks to build organizational strength and leadership

Build the Base 

Strengthening Labor Standards Enforcement

Build the Base

Growing the membership base and organizing capacity of worker and community organizations.


Strengthening Labor Standards Enforcement

Working with state and local government agencies, worker and community organizations to  improve enforcement of wage and hour, paid sick/safe time and other labor laws.

WILL Empower

WILL Empower

(Women Innovating Labor Leadership) 
A bold initiative to identify, train and convene a new generation of women labor leaders.


Upcoming at CIWO:

Shifting Power: The Working Majority Transforming Religion and Politics

Can political, cultural, and religious power really change without changing the economic strongholds of power that fund them all?

Featuring KB Brower (CIWO Fellow & Organizing Director, Bargaining for the Common Good) and Betty Hung (Director, UCLA Labor Center)



Latest News:

NEW REPORT: Billionaire Wealth vs. Community Health

Bargaining for the Common Good and partners Institute for Policy Studies and United for Respect have released "Billionaire Wealth vs. Community Health: Protecting Essential Workers from Pandemic Profiteers," a report on the skyrocketing wealth of billionaires on the backs of frontline workers.  Read the report here.



  • Black Womxn Demands: A Dialogue Series
    • Dialogue #1 (8/13/20): Dr. Sheri Davis and Dr. Naomi R Williams in conversation about Black Women's "Equal" Pay Day.  Click here to watch!
    • Dialogue #2 (9/7/20): #BlackLaborDay discussion with Tanya Wallace-Gobern (National Black Worker Centers Project) and Dr. Chanel Craft Tanner (Center for Women at Emory and Crunk Feminist Collective).  Click here to watch!
    • Dialogue #3 (10/14/20): Unpacking the "Double Gap" - the dual gender & race wage gap experienced by Black women in the United States - with Dr. Michelle Holder.  Click here to watch!
  • WILL Empower celebrated the inaugural Executive Leaders Cohort with a final two-day virtual retreat in September 2020.  The retreat kicked off with grounding and resilience practices and capped off with a virtual reception commemorating the Executive Leaders' transition to the greater WILL Empower network of change-making leaders. Sessions focused on the future of work in the time of COVID, current racial uprising, election scenario planning, and experimental & innovative leadership practices.
  • Build the Bench hosted its 6th annual convening virtually on July 28-29, 2020.  Over 20 movement leaders came together to share their successes & challenges with supportive peers. Sessions included: Building Team Resilience & Re-imagining Productivity, Leading in Disruption, Exploring Habits of White Supremacy Culture in Ourselves and Our Organizations, Racial Equity and Justice Values in Practice Within Our Organizational Structures and Operations, and Peer Coaching.  Click here for more.


  • Build the Base Workshops (October 2020): co-hosted by PowerLabs/CIWO/The LIFT Fund and facilitated by Randall Smith of PowerLabs.
    • Volunteer Recruitment + Mobilization: Online & Offline Strategies (10/7) shared how to recruit, mobilize, and retain volunteers using insights from social science.
    • How to Design Tasks During & After This Virtual Pandemic World (10/16) focused on how to improve quality of volunteer work by designing better jobs and building a more motivated and satisfied volunteer base.
  • Enforcing Labor Standards in a Recession: An Opportunity to Support Workers Who Risk Their Lives.  CIWO co-hosted this webinar on 9/30 with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, sharing new research findings on how the COVID recession has impacted labor violations and wage theft for the most vulnerable U.S. workers. 
  • Mapping the Common Good: Lessons for Building BCG Campaigns on 9/15 featured a panel of on-the-ground common good organizers sharing insight for igniting powerful common good campaigns.  Click here to watch!


  • A new paper by Sheri Davis and Marilyn Sneiderman, Moneybags for Billionaires, Body Bags for Workers: Organizing in the Time of Pandemics, addresses organizing in this moment of COVID-19 and uprising for racial justice. Read here at New Labor Forum.
  • Low-wage workers are risking more than their health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York Times reports findings from a new CIWO study (published by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth) on wage theft nationally showing that wage theft increases during a recession. Read more here.

    CIWO in the Press:

    • CIWO has been awarded a new grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support CIWO programs and grow our work to elevate women of color in the worker justice movement nationwide, amplify underrepresented voices, and diversify leadership in labor and economic justice movements.  Read the full Press Release here.


      Our Partners

      CIWO collaborates with many local, regional, and national partner organizations, networks, and foundations. View the list of our partners and supporters.

      Contact us!

      To contact us, email You can also view the list of CIWO staff members.

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