Other Group

Rutgers University Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO)

Website:

smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo 

Location:

New Brunswick, NJ

Founded:

2014

Executive Director:

Marylin Sneiderman

The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization is a research and consulting sector of Rutgers University that partners with various labor unions and other left-leaning advocacy groups including the AFL-CIOAmerican Federation of TeachersAFSCME, the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, the National Black Workers Center Project, the Partnership for Working Families, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Institute for Policy Studies. [1] It focuses on training union activists.

It has also received a substantial amount of money from left-of-center organizations including the National Education Association and Ford Foundation. [2] [3]

Background

The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) is a research and consulting sector of Rutgers University that focuses on training union activists. CIWO promotes and trains its clients on left-of-center talking points on labor, race, and economics, including facilitating programs “tailored to the needs of rank-and-file activists.” [4]

Funding

The Center of Innovation in Worker Organization has received support from multiple left-of-center foundations including the Ford Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Arca Foundation. [5]

The Ford Foundation granted the Center of Innovation in Worker Organization $3 million in 2021 for “core support” in assisting the organization to promote “strong workers and community-based organizations.” The foundation labeled the grant under its “future of work(ers)” program. [6]

CIWO was named as part of a two-year grant by the National Education Association. The grant, which would make two payments of $1,778,336 from 2020 until 2022, focused on creating national, state, and local partnerships to “engage families and communities alongside educators in advancing a student-centered agenda on racial and social justice.” One aim of the grant was to directly connect CIWO and the National Education Association to fund the WILL Empower program. [7]

CIWO also received a $30,000 grant in 2020 from the Surdna Foundation, an advocacy and endowment management foundation that has moved away from its founding donor’s capitalist sentiments and currently focuses on funding organizations to advocate for left-of-center public policy. [8] [9]

Political Advocacy

Black Lives Matter

In a statement titled “All Black Lives Matter,” the Center for Innovation in Worker Organization called for a “mass collective action and accountability,” claiming that people are “standing up against the violence” of various subjects including a “racist” housing policy, the “violence” of the criminal justice system, and the “violence” of “state-supported poverty.” [10]

The statement continues by calling for reparations for the “racist past and origins” of Rutgers University, and that it “is no longer enough to not be racist.” The statement then likens “white supremacy/state violence” to COVID-19. [11]

Partners

The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization has a long list of left-of-center partners including labor unions and advocacy groups.

These groups include the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); the largest union for government workers other than teachers in the United States, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); the second-largest teachers’ union in the United States, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); the Institute for Policy Studies, a think-tank based in Washington, D.C.; the voter mobilization and policy development organization Center for Popular Democracy (CPD); America’s largest labor union representing nearly three million employees, principally teachers, the National Education Association (NEA); the left-of-center minimum wage advocacy group National Black Worker Center Project; the Partnership for Working Families, a national coalition of left-of-center nonprofits which support policies that redistribute wealth and grant preferential treatment to workers; and one of America’s largest, most controversial, and most politically involved labor unions the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). [12]

CIWO partnered with the seventh-largest private foundation in the United States, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in June 2020 to expand its WILL Empower program. The program was created to “elevate more women and people of color” into leadership in labor unions, and similar organizations. [13]

The Center for Innovation in Worker Organization also partnered with the LIFT Fund, a pass-through grantmaking organization that was created in 2011 as a partnership between the AFL-CIO and other grantmaking institutions. [14]

The LIFT Fund partnered with CIWO and PowerLabs to create a “peer learning space between grantee partners and other labor organizations.” The LIFT Fund notes that its donors “set the direction” of the fund. These donors include the AFL-CIO, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, the private grantmaking foundation created and funded by billionaire financier and liberal philanthropist George Soros. [15]

References

  1. “Partners and Supporters,” Partners and Supporters | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/partners-and-supporters. ^
  2. “2020-2022 Strategic Plan and Budget,” National Education Association, accessed November 15, 2021, https://ra.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NEA_Strategic_Plan_and_Budget_2020-2022.pdf. ^
  3. “Grants – Rutgers,” Ford Foundation, accessed November 15, 2021, https://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/grants-database/grants-all?search=%26SearchText%3Drutgers&page=0&minamount=0&maxamount=30000000&subjects=%26SubjectIds%3D5. ^
  4. “CIWO Mission and Goals,” CIWO Mission and Goals | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/mission-and-goals. ^
  5. “Partners and Supporters,” Partners and Supporters | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/partners-and-supporters. ^
  6. “Grants – Rutgers,” Ford Foundation, accessed November 15, 2021, https://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/grants-database/grants-all?search=%26SearchText%3Drutgers&page=0&minamount=0&maxamount=30000000&subjects=%26SubjectIds%3D5. ^
  7. “2020-2022 Strategic Plan and Budget,” National Education Association, accessed November 15, 2021, https://ra.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/NEA_Strategic_Plan_and_Budget_2020-2022.pdf. ^
  8. “Grants Database,” Surdna Foundation, May 11, 2020, https://surdna.org/grants-database/?program_id=1&grantsYear=all&sort_column=board_meeting_date&grantsSearch=Center%2Bfor%2BInnovation%2Bin%2BWorker%2BOrganization. ^
  9. “Social Justice,” Surdna Foundation | 2015 Year In Review, accessed November 15, 2021, http://www.surdna.org/annualreport2015/. ^
  10. “All Black Lives Matter: Statement from Ciwo,” All Black Lives Matter: Statement from CIWO | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/all-black-lives-matter. ^
  11. “All Black Lives Matter: Statement from Ciwo,” All Black Lives Matter: Statement from CIWO | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/all-black-lives-matter. ^
  12. “Partners and Supporters,” Partners and Supporters | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/faculty-research-engagement/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/partners-and-supporters. ^
  13. “CIWO Press Release: Kellogg Foundation,” CIWO Press Release: Kellogg Foundation | Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, accessed November 15, 2021, https://smlr.rutgers.edu/research-faculty/center-innovation-worker-organization-ciwo/bargaining-common-good/ciwo-press. ^
  14. “Labor Innovations for the 21st Century,” The LIFT Fund, accessed November 15, 2021, https://theliftfund.org/. ^
  15. “Labor Innovations for the 21st Century,” The LIFT Fund, accessed November 15, 2021, https://theliftfund.org/. ^
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Rutgers University Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO)

50 Labor Center Way
New Brunswick, NJ