Non-profit

National Guestworker Alliance

Website:

www.facebook.com/NGAdignity/%20

Project of:

NEO Philanthropy

Executive Director:

Saket Soni

The National Guestworker Alliance advocates for left-leaning immigration policies, particularly those related to migrant workers. The organization is a project of NEO Philanthropy, a fiscal clearinghouse for many left-of-center campaigns and organizations. The group was founded in the New Orleans area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in concert with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.

The group’s main project is Resilience Force, which supports left-leaning policies regarding environmentalism and illegal immigration and claims to represent disaster-aid workers. The organization was founded by Saket Soni, an organizer who also founded Resilience Force and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. While not a labor union, the alliance promotes many left-of-center labor union policy priorities and is listed as an “allied organization” of the AFL-CIO. [1] [2]

Background

The National Guestworker Alliance was founded in 2011 out of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice’s Alliance of Guest Workers, a project that organized migrant laborers working in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The organization claims to represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who come to the United States annually on temporary worker visas. [3] [4]

The organization was initially a project of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and in its early days focused on organizing efforts and advocacy campaigns at labor camps along the Gulf Coast. [5]

By 2013, the organization had begun to focus on migrant worker organizing throughout the country and led a campaign against the use of J-1 (temporary student) visas for workers in McDonald’s restaurants in central Pennsylvania. The organization also led a 2012 campaign that was mediated by the U.S. Department of Labor against the Exel Corporation, a national warehouse operator whose customers included Hershey’s and Walmart. [6]

The organization has also target Walmart through campaigns against its suppliers including a seafood provider that led to an investigation by the New York Times. The group also operated a campaign called the [email protected]’s campaign that it claims helped lead to changes to the J-1 visa program. The organization also supported Obama administration changes to “worker protections” within the H-2B visa program. [7]

NEO Philanthropy

In 2018, NEO Philanthropy announced that it would become the fiscal sponsor of the National Guestworkers Alliance, along with eight other organizations. NEO Philanthropy (formerly Public Interest Projects) is a vehicle for center-left foundations to pool resources, hosts donor-advised funds, and sponsors advocacy and activism organizations such as the National Guestworkers Alliance. [8] NEO Philanthropy described the National Guestworkers Alliance’s work as fighting migrant worker conditions that “frequently rise to the level of forced labor and involuntary servitude.” [9] [10]

Activities

While the National Guestworker Alliance claims to be a membership organization comprised of migrant workers, the group does not have a notable public facing presence outside of a few targeted advocacy campaigns. Much of the group’s focus currently is on promoting Resilience Force, a project of the organization also sponsored by NEO Philanthropy that promotes left-leaning immigration and environmental policies around disaster relief workers. The National Guestworker Alliance website is down as of July 2022 and redirects to the Resilience Force website. [11] [12]

Campaigns operated by the organization outside of Resilience Force include petitions targeting the temporary worker employment policies of McDonald’s, in particular its employment of those on student visas, as well as alleging that Walmart and Whole Foods source from “forced labor.” Such petitions are hosted by left-leaning labor organizing group Coworker. [13]

Resilience Force

Resilience Force is the largest current project of the National Guestworker Alliance. It is a group that is also founded by Saket Soni that that supports local governments aiming to create more left-of-center policy around environmentalism and illegal immigration. It claims to represent what it calls the “resilience workforce” of disaster aid workers. [14]

Resilience Force focuses on many of the same issues that the National Guestworker Alliance does. Resilience Force led organizing efforts following Hurricane Irma in Florida in 2017, where the group helped lobby local governments for legislative waivers for illegal immigrants working after natural disasters. Resilience Force also attempted to sway local governments against cooperating with federal immigration authorities. [15]

Environmental Activism

Saket Soni, executive director of the National Guestworker Alliance, co-authored a September 2019 article that praises the Green New Deal and called for greater restrictions on private companies. The article also claimed that “wealthy and disproportionately white men make money during recoveries; poor black and brown people lose money,” and proposes that “contracts for recovery” be drafted by labor unions that would have the power to protect illegal immigrants and force companies to pay workers amounts greater than local prevailing wages. [16]

Leadership

The National Guestworker Alliance is led by Saket Soni, who is also the executive director of Resilience Force and founded both organizations along with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. Soni contributes to many left-of-center publications as an opinion writer and columnist and is a board member of the left-of-center environmentalist group Greenpeace. [17]

References

  1. “Our Unions and Allies.” AFL-CIO. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://aflcio.org/about-us/our-unions-and-allies ^
  2. “Saket Soni.” Greenpeace. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/bios/saket-soni/ ^
  3. National Guestworker Alliance.” MigrantWorkersRights Global. Accessed July 1, 2022. http://www.migrantworkersrights.net/en/actors/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  4. “Saket Soni.” Greenpeace. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/bios/saket-soni/ ^
  5. “National Guestworker Alliance.” MigrantWorkersRights Global. Accessed July 1, 2022. http://www.migrantworkersrights.net/en/actors/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  6. “National Guestworker Alliance.” MigrantWorkersRights Global. Accessed July 1, 2022. http://www.migrantworkersrights.net/en/actors/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  7. “National Guestworker Alliance.” MigrantWorkersRights Global. Accessed July 1, 2022. http://www.migrantworkersrights.net/en/actors/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  8. Callahan, David. “Inside NEO Philanthropy: An Unusual Funding Group Works to Unify the Social Justice World.” Inside Philanthropy. June 30, 2015. Accessed June 27, 2022. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2015/6/30/inside-neo-philanthropy-an-unusual-funding-group-works-to-un.html ^
  9. “NEO Philanthropy’s New Fiscally Sponsored Projects Provide Support to Headline-Making Issues.” NEO Philanthropy March 1, 2018. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://neophilanthropy.org/neo-philanthropys-new-fiscally-sponsored-projects-provide-support-headline-making-issues/ ^
  10. “National Guestworker Alliance.” MigrantWorkersRights Global. Accessed July 1, 2022. http://www.migrantworkersrights.net/en/actors/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  11. “National Guestworker Alliance.” Coworker. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://www.coworker.org/partnerships/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  12. “Resilience Force.” Resilience Force. www.guestworkeralliance.org ^
  13. “National Guestworker Alliance.” Coworker. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://www.coworker.org/partnerships/national-guestworker-alliance ^
  14. “Transforming America’s Response to Disasters.” Resilience Force. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://resilienceforce.org/ ^
  15. “Hurricane Chasers: An Immigrant Workforce on the Trail of Extreme Weather.” Jordan, Miriam. New York Times. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/05/us/hurricane-undocumented-immigrants-workers.html/ ^
  16. “How Workers Can Demand Climate Justice.” TODD E. VACHON, GERRY HUDSON, JUDITH LEBLANC & SAKET SONI. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://prospect.org/labor/workers-can-demand-climate-justice/ ^
  17. “Saket Soni.” Greenpeace. Accessed July 1, 2022. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/bios/saket-soni/ ^

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