This #GivingTuesday2023, we are asking for your help! Your donation will support our Black Organizing for Power (BOP) Training Program. This skills building program centers the leadership development of Black Workers in the contingent workforce (temporary & gig workers) and ensures they have the skills necessary to organize their workplaces. Training our members is a fundamental part of transforming industries and building Black worker power. But before you pull out your wallet, we want to share more about who we are.
Who Are We?
In 2019, the Philly Black Worker project was formed by a group of Black organizers, primarily Black femme organizers, who saw the need to establish a Black worker center in Philadelphia. As Black women workers, we have encountered many forms of discrimination that inform our analysis. Because of this, we hold an intersectional framework that guides our praxis, organizational development and organizing principles. The Philly Black Worker Project is an organizing vehicle that utilizes collective action, policy change and community power-building to win quality jobs and improve working conditions in industries that employ significant amounts of Black workers.
The Philly Black Worker Project envisions a local economy that works for all of its residents. We long for an economic engine that doesn't grind down its hardest workers, but recognizes their labor as deserving of dignity and respect. We know this requires robust public investment in social safety nets through progressive taxation and high quality jobs that pay workers a living wage, offer benefits and center workers’ voices and demands. We must reimagine our local economy and build one that works for us all, while recognizing the deep need for repair in Philly’s Black neighborhoods.
What’s the Issue?
While the city’s poverty rate is at its lowest in two decades, Philly still remains the poorest big city in the country with a poverty rate of nearly 22%. Black communities in Philadelphia continue to experience poverty rates of approximately 30%. The median household incomes for Black households fall more than $13,000 dollars below the city’s median income and Black unemployment remains in double digits. The racial inequity we see in our city is a byproduct of racial capitalism and the concentration of wealth among the overwhelmingly white and elite. When legislators and policy makers fail to break from business as usual, they feed this insidious system as a result. Without recognizing the root cause of the inequities, Philadelphia will continue to be plagued by high poverty rates, low wages, and even rampant crime.
We recognize good jobs will not solve every problem in our communities. But we are clear that the experience of Working While Black is far too often synonymous with working while poor in this city. That must change.
So many of the low-quality jobs in Philadelphia exist because of the growing reality of the fissured workplace. Large companies continue to shift toward models that rid them of responsibility for the parts of their business and pass that responsibility on to companies that are less accountable, exist outside of standing labor contracts and are often able to exploit workers as a result- specifically low-wage Black and Brown workers. Common roles that are outsourced, many to staffing agencies, include janitorial staff, housekeeping, facilities maintenance and security. These are roles that historically have been both held by Black workers in Philadelphia and also represented by service unions in the city. This model of outsourcing to staffing agencies and gig workers has created a second tier workforce and undercuts workers ability to organize and collectively bargain. In conversations, workers have expressed the need for an organizing body that will support them in making change in the temporary work and gig industries.
What Do We Do?
We are proud to be a Black led, Black run worker center that centers non unionized workers in the contingent workforce- temporary workers & gig workers. As workplaces become more and more reliant on this invisibilized workforce, we recognize traditional organizing structures for traditional employers can no longer serve as the sole vehicle for worker organizing.The Philly Black Worker Project is a worker centered intervention melding traditional and newer organizing methods to keep up with the everchanging future of work. Our core focuses are:
Worker Organizing and Campaigns
Research and Advocacy
As we continue to grow, we hope to have you by our side. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past eleven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
We know our communities only see change if structures change, but we must not underestimate the need for community support. GivingTuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together, unlocking dignity, opportunity, and equity around the globe.
Support the Philly Black Worker Project in doing just that.