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Friday, June 13, 2014



About Workers Defense Project:

Created in 2002, WDP is a statewide, membership-based organization devoted to workers’ rights and advocacy, chiefly aiming to build power among Texas construction workers. Its mission – to empower low-income workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing and strategic partnerships – is accomplished through a network of dedicated staff, volunteers and members.

WDP is one of the few organizations in Texas focused on addressing workplace abuse faced by low-wage laborers. Among the most established worker centers in the South, and a leader in the national movement of worker centers fighting for fair conditions for working people, WDP has won numerous awards for its cutting-edge achievements within one of the country’s most difficult climates for workers. The New York Times described WDP as “one of the most creative organizations for immigrant workers in the country”.

Each year, WDP serves over 2,500 workers through offices in Austin and Dallas by way of various social-service and organizing programs. WDP concentrates its efforts on winning better work conditions in the construction industry, among the most powerful special interest groups in Texas, employing over 900,000 workers, half of whom are undocumented.

  • Recovered over $1,150,000 in back wages for 1,100 low-wage workers through negotiation, legal and direct action.
  • Won 5,000 good construction jobs that pay living wages, include expanded safety protections, and provide job training to help workers advance in the workplace by signing landmark agreements with large scale commercial developers.
  • Passed Texas’ first misclassification protection law that imposes fines on employers caught misclassifying employees on state contracts – protecting not just construction workers, but any worker employed by a state contractor.
  • Won one of the nation’s most progressive economic development policies. To be eligible for tax incentives from the City of Austin companies must now agree to ensure higher standards on construction projects including: Living and prevailing wages, OSHA basic safety training, workers’ compensation coverage, protection from misclassification for all workers on the project, and project owners are incentivized to hire from “disadvantaged” worker populations (those that are low-income, have a criminal record, and do not have a high school diploma).
  • Passed a statewide wage theft law that allows police departments across Texas to arrest employers who don’t pay their workers.
  • Won a federal OSHA investigation into Texas’ deadly construction industry. Under the initiative, OSHA conducted nearly 900 inspections throughout the state, resulting in close to 1,500 citations and fines totaling almost $2 million. Overall the investigation resulted in a 60% increase in construction safety inspections throughout the state, saving countless lives.
  • Won paid rest breaks for Austin’s 60,000 construction workersby holding a “thirst strike” with WDP construction worker members and leaders outside of City Hall during the summer.
  • Won changes in city contracts to require basic OSHA 10 hour safety trainings for all construction workers on city-funded sites.
  • Trained over 15,000 low-wage workers about their employment rights and how to best defend them.

Job Description:

The Employment and Legal Services (ELS) Director will oversee one of WDP’s most premiere programs. The Employment Legal Services Program represents low-wage workers to address employment rights violations such as wage theft, injury on the job, discrimination and sexual harassment. The Employment and Legal Services program educates low-wage workers about their employment rights, recovers back wages for workers who have been denied payment for their work, and assists injured workers obtain the benefits and care they need. The ELS program combines both legal tactics and community-based tactics (such as direct action and public pressure) to resolve legal violations. Additionally, WDP will expand its legal services to provide critically needed immigration legal services in the event of passage of comprehensive immigration reform. In Texas it is estimated that 1 in 10 workers are undocumented, and conservative estimates cite that 50% of the construction workforce as undocumented.

The ELS director is charged with overseeing this program in Austin and Dallas by:

(1) designing and implementing innovative legal strategies, including direct action, that support WDP’s broader strategic campaigns to address the systemic causes of employment abuses;

(2) overseeing a team of attorneys and support staff to successfully resolve cases;

(3) executing administrative and financial oversight of the ELS program and identifying opportunities for innovation and growth.

(4) directly representing WDP members in workplace-related employment and labor claims.

The ELS Director will work in close collaboration with other WDP staff to develop legal strategies that support WDP’s organizing goals and to ensure strong coordination on campaigns.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage the ELS Program statewide to ensure strong program coordination and uniform development and implementation of new strategies and methods
  • Represent WDP members on employment issues through negotiation, legal and direct action
  • Train, supervise, and evaluate ELS program staff
  • Recruit and train a team of program volunteers
  • Manage programmatic financials and expenditures to ensure good financial stewardship and that deliverables are met for grantors
  • Research relevant legal topics and draft memos to expand the legal strategies utilized by WDP
  • Establish and manage partnerships and collaborations with ally institutions including law firms, law schools, state agencies, other legal service non-profits, and other community allies.
  • Work collaboratively with other WDP staff to ensure cross-program collaboration to advance WDP’s strategic objectives
  • Represent the organization publicly to partner institutions and funders, as needed
  • Work with WDP leadership to hire qualified ELS staff
  • Develop recommendations to strengthen the work of the ELS program
  • Oversee administrative functions including completion of monthly reports to guide program evaluation
  • Support ELS staff to fulfill worker leadership development and organizing goals
  • Any other activities that are necessary to carry out the work of WDP


Candidates for this position must be able to demonstrate:
Juris Doctorate Degree

  • Admission to the Texas Bar (or willingness to apply for membership and sit for the next bar exam)
  • Two to three years of on-the-job legal experience.
  • Commitment to helping cultivate a high-performing legal program that utilizes the law creatively in the fight for systemic change.
  • Creativity and demonstrated willingness to take risks in crafting and executing legal strategies.
  • Computer literate (excel, Microsoft word, and internet)
  • Ability to work independently and juggle multiple responsibilities.
  • Excellent time management and administrative skills.
  • Two to three years of managerial experience with proven ability to supervise, mentor and develop staff.
  • Ability to publicly represent WDP and think critically in high stake meetings with employers and partner institutions.
  • Fluency in English and Spanish (strong written and verbal communication skills in both languages).
  • Excellent writing skills and ability to communicate with a diverse audience
  • Ability to work irregular hours, including nights and weekends (position is a full-time salaried exempt position).
  • Ability to travel monthly to provide support to Dallas-based staff.
  • Ability to work well with diverse groups of people (including faith, labor, Latino immigrants, and African American community, among others).
  • Commitment to social justice, furthering workers rights, and building a broader labor movement.
  • Must own a vehicle

Preferred Qualifications

  • 2-3 years of community and/or labor organizing experience
  • Previous experience with wage and hour and immigration law is a plus.


  • Competitive Salary
  • Generous Benefit package (paid sick leave, two-weeks of vacation, 403b retirement plan, health insurance, and maternity/paternity leave).

How to apply: Send resume, cover letter, writing sample, and three professional references to Emily at

As an equal opportunity employer, Workers Defense Project embraces diversity and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of age, race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Job Posting: CAIR Coalition: Supervising Attorney - Detained Children's Program

Job Description:

The Detained Children’s Program Supervising Attorney oversees the program, ensuring effective implementation of the program and compliance with CAIR Coalition’s Detained Children Services (DCS) federal contract. The Supervising Attorney provides direct supervision to two staff attorneys and one legal assistant. Job responsibilities include the provision of direct legal services to detained youth, recruitment and mentoring of pro bono attorneys representing youth referred by CAIR Coalition, and training and outreach efforts. This position reports to the Legal Director.

You can find more information here.

Harvard Kennedy School Rappaport Institute Boston 101 Spring 2014 Events

Opening the Gates of Opportunity: Realizing the Potential of Gateway Cities

Friday, April 18, 2014 from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Harvard Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Agenda available on-line

Gateway Cities are midsize urban centers in Massachusetts facing stubborn social and economic challenges, but with many assets that have unrealized potential. This event will bring together community leaders, public officials, policymakers, faculty and students to exchange ideas and information about workable solutions for cities and local economies. The agenda will feature speakers who represent a cross-section of new ideas for revitalizing our cities and neighborhoods. Out of these discussions we hope to capture innovative, cross-sector, collaborative ideas and models that will feed into the work that is being done by students and faculty in urban planning.

Ending the Zero-Sum Game: Regionalizing Economic Development

Monday, April 28, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.

Omni Parker House, 60 School Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Joe Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville
John Barros, Chief, City of Boston Economic Development Cabinet

The economy of Greater Boston has tremendous strengths and attracts businesses from around the world. Yet there is very little coordination of resources and activities around economic development among the municipalities that make up Greater Boston. In fact, many times they compete against each other for relocating firms. What would regional economic development look like and what structure would make it viable and durable?

Co-sponsored by Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, The Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

Technology's Promise: Can It Create Social Mobility?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.

Location TBD

Mayor Martin Walsh, Keynote Address

The Rappaport Institute’s spring conference will bring together political, industry, and academic leaders to explore the potential for greater Boston’s technology leadership to address social inequality and improve social mobility. It will explore technology’s promise in the spheres of school, life, and work.

Has CitiStat Worked in Greater Boston

Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.

UMass Campus Ballroom, UMass Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

Building on a 2003 Rappaport Institute policy brief that asked the above question, this forum will examine how Citistat has been implemented in both small and large communities in Greater Boston. The discussion will seek to draw lessons from the experience of different communities and provide a framework for deepening and broadening the use of performance management in municipalities.

Co-sponsored by Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, The Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

Learning From Lawrence: Strategies for Turnaround Schools

Tuesday,June 10, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Bell Hall, 5th floor Belfer Buiding, at the Corner of JFK and Eliot Streets, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Josh Goodman, Harvard Kennedy School
Beth Scheuler, Harvard Graduate School of Education

In 2011, Massachusetts took over the Lawrence Public Schools. The state instituted a variety of reforms, including Acceleration Academies, reassignment of teachers, and new district leadership. As the state examines the possibility of school and district turnarounds, what lessons can be learned from the Lawrence experience. Have the reforms worked? Which reforms appear to be more effective?

Co-sponsored by Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, The Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

A full listing of spring events can be found on our website at

Job Posting: 2014-2015 Reproductive Justice - HIV Fellowship

LSRJ seeks applications from current 3Ls and recent law school graduates to work as a Reproductive Justice - HIV Fellow at a placement organization in either Atlanta, GA or Oakland, CA starting in late August 2014 through August 2015.

You can find more information here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Job Posting: VAN DER HOUT, BRIGAGLIANO & NIGHTINGALE, LLP is seeking a Litigation Research Fellow

VAN DER HOUT, BRIGAGLIANO & NIGHTINGALE, LLP is a nationally renowned, full-service immigration and nationality law firm in San Francisco. The firm was founded in 1980 and represents a wide range of clients.

We are seeking a licensed attorney with one to three years of experience or a recent law graduate (or current 3L) to serve as a Litigation Research Fellow. The position is initially one year with the possibility of a second year. The fellow will work directly with partners and associate attorneys on a wide range of immigration cases, including deportation defense, federal court litigation, family, asylum, naturalization, and a variety of cases involving the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Cases involve representing clients before the Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, CIS, ICE, CBP, and the federal courts. Fellow will work closely with attorneys in the firm, handling primarily legal research and writing in support of litigation and other advocacy in a cutting edge, diverse and complex immigration law practice.


  • Experience in/ Knowledge of immigration law strongly preferred.
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability and interest in taking on complex and difficult immigration cases.
  • Spoken and written Spanish helpful.
  • Interest in fast-paced, energetic work environment.
  • Admission in a State Bar Preferred.

Start date flexible between May and September 2014

Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Please send your resume, short writing sample and cover letter to:

George Phillips, Office Administrator
via e-mail to or Facsimile to (415) 981-3003.
No telephone calls please.

Job Posting: Commission on Immigration - Staff Attorney - Children Harlingen, TX

 Job Description:

Staff Attorney - Children
Commission on Immigration
Grant Funded
Hiring range: $43,800- $47,400

To give appropriate legal orientation presentations to immigration children at risk of deportation, complete detainee intakes following presentations and prepare and conduct pro se workshops and individual orientations to assist these children. Recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono attorneys, and directly represents children in their cases before the immigration court and/or review boards.

Doctoral Degree (JD)

The childrens immigration project attorney should have experience working with immigrants as well as a fundamental knowledge of immigration law and immigration court procedures. Must exhibit strong writing skills, excellent communication skills and client interviewing abilities as well as the ability to work under pressure. Must be fluent in Spanish, must have a law degree, and have been admitted to a bar or have taken a bar examination and be waiting for the results by the start date of employment. Must have a law degree, and have been admitted to a bar or have taken a bar examination and be waiting for the results by the start date of employment.

We are proud to be an EEO/AA employer M/F/D/V.

2014 Boston Campaign Manager Training Mass Alliance

Ever wonder what makes a good grassroots campaign?

This intensive two-day training introduces future campaign leaders to the theory and practice behind successful grassroots campaigning.

Saturday & Sunday
March 29th & 30th 2014  
9 am to 5:30 pm

SEIU 1199
150 Mt. Vernon St.
Boston, MA

Mass Alliance is a coalition of progressive organizations. We work with candidates from wondering to winning. We have a track record of helping candidates run successful progressive, grassroots campaigns.

Attendees will learn from some of the best progressive campaign operatives in Massachusetts.  The training will cover:

•    Field organizing
•    Message development
•    Working with the press
•    Grassroots Fundraising
•    Other time-tested tactics for winning campaigns

The workshop is great training for full-time paid work on campaigns and is also helpful for issue and neighborhood activists who are hoping to enhance their understanding of how to influence the outcome of campaigns.

The workshop is offered on a sliding scale. The regular price is $90. If you can, please pay more to help us make it accessible to others. If you need to pay less than $90, please contact Jordan to arrange that.

For more information, or to register, contact Jordan at Mass Alliance: 617.722.4320 or