3/2/08

Publicly-funded labor-activism in Rhode Island

For a quarter century, the Institute for Labor Studies & Research has been providing a wide variety of worker education programs. Over 50,000 Rhode Island workers have learned the skills they need to adapt to the changing economic and technological environment.

Working in collaboration with unions, employers, and the State of Rhode Island, the Institute has compiled an impressive list of achievements since its inception in 1980. Here is a partial list of the Institute's accomplishments:

* Provided literacy programs, Spanish, computer training, and adult education for thousands of Rhode Islanders;

* Created the Immigrant Workers' Rights Project to help thousands of immigrants understand their rights on the job;

* Started the Workers' Rights Project to provide books, pamphlets, and workshops addressing worker rights and health and safety on the job;

* Created and staffed the Workers' Rights Hotline to answer the questions and concerns of workers, students and employers on a wide range of workplace topics issues;

* Expanded the Labor in the Schools Program to train students and teachers from nearly every high school in Rhode Island about work- place rights;

* Broadcast LaborVision, a cable television program, shown three evenings a week, focusing on issues of importance to Rhode Island workers;

* Published Your Rights on the Job (brochures in several languages and student editions); Rhode Island Guide to Employment Law; Women in Non-Traditional Careers; Labor in the Schools Cur- riculum Resource Guide; and Steward's Guide;

* Designed a new website: RILaborInstitute.org which attracts 30,000 hits annually;

* Created Leadership for a Future, a training for new leaders from community groups, unions, and religious organizations, now in its seventh year;

* Founded the Rhode Island chapter of Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) to bring together Latino union members to fight for social justice;

* Offered the Hospitality Industry Training Program and the Dislocated Workers' Program to train hundreds of unemployed workers for new jobs;

* Started the Workforce Literacy and Education Project to bring unions and employers together to promote literacy in Rhode Island; and

* Conducted many Union Leadership Training programs to provide union stewards and union leaders with the tools to better represent their membership.

(rilaborinstitute.org)

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