Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO)

What Is CIWO?

CIWO team

CIWO’s mission is to promote strong workers’ organizations and shift the balance of power towards greater equity in our economy and society. Since its inception, it has leveraged the resources of a highly respected research university to become a centralized go-to institutional resource on strategy and organizational development. Facilitating 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 are CIWO’s primary objectives. 

CIWO has pioneered an innovative strategy which combines a holistic approach to organizing with movement building synergy. Movements, organizations and the individuals within them need support improving their internal structures and practices as well as their external organizing, outreach and training (or professional development) operations. To meet these needs, CIWO has developed a variety of programs that focus on capacity building and internal and external organizing efficacy. The programs are tailored for rank and file activists, for executive and intermediate level leaders, for emerging women leaders and leaders of color, and for organizations as a whole. 

Programs include:

Bargaining for
Common Good

Build the Bench 







Reinventing collective bargaining for the 21st century.

Strengthening the peer networks of senior leaders.

Build the Base 

Strengthening Labor Standards Enforcement

Growing the capacity of civic institutions.


Studying and facilitating solutions to non-compliance problems with basic wages.

WILL Empower

(Women Innovating Labor Leadership) 
Increasing women's leadership in the labor movement.



  • We are accepting applications for the Emerging Leaders Cohort of Learning and Mentoring. Applications are due by January 31, 2019, and the opening retreat is April 11 - 14, 2019. Click here to apply.  

  • We proudly introduce WILL Empower's Advisory Council. View our council members
  • In late February 2018, the ‘Bargaining for the Common Good in Higher Education Convening” brought together over 200 labor, community and racial justice leaders representing 50 campuses across the country to strategize about common good bargaining and organizing. Learn more about this event.    

  • Women’s Work? Voices of Vermont Educators by Rebecca Kolins Givan and Pamela Whitefield
    In the past few years, public schools in Vermont have been at the center of far-reaching policy debates and numerous administrative changes. Often absent from these policy debates are the voices of educators themselves, the majority of whom are professional women. These educators have firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing Vermont schools. This report details the reality. 
    Download the report: Women's Work? Voices of Vermont EducatorsView the early press coverage.
To learn more about the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, view our news and events. 

    Partners and Supporters

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


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