Mission: The brazilian worker center (bwc) is a grassroots, community organization that supports immigrants on issues of workplace rights and immigration. We work with the community, instructing them to execute their rights through organizing, advocacy, education, leadership, capacity building and civic participation. We join brazilians and other immigrants helping them to organize against economic, social and political exclusion in order to create a more just society.
Programs: The brazilian worker center ("bwc") has established itself as a reputable, engaged, grassroots organization that represents, supports, and organizes the brazilian and wider immigrant community to take leadership in defending and advocating for their rights, as workers and immigrant residents of the state and nation. It is a strong women-led organization that serves both men and women in the immigrant community with a concern for fairness and justice, civic engagement, cultural competence, and compassion. Bwc's three main project areas for the last seven years continue to be: 1) our traditional workers' rights project; 2) the domestic worker organizing initiative, extending bwc's historic activities as a workers' center to seriously include women workers; and 3) immigrant rights organizing. 1) in our workers' rights project, for 5 years our esol program has been funded by english for new bostonians, with a social justice curriculum focused on workers', immigrant, and tenants' rights, and now racial justice. We are also in our 5th year of offering portuguese- and spanish-language workplace safety courses to immigrant workers, in partnership with osha. We have expanded our menu of trainings, under support of a susan harwood capacity building grant, beyond fall prevention for construction to include three new trainings: construction four hazards, nail salon safety, and osha rights and responsibilities. We continue our core program of supporting workers in fighting for restitution in cases of wage theft and violations of labor laws affecting them, through direct mediation with employers, reports to state and federal labor authorities, and representation in courts. In the last seven years, through complaints filed with the wage & hour division of the us department of labor alone, we assisted workers to receive over $3 million dollars in back wages and other restitution. Recently we have been successfully using small claims courts to seek adjudication of dozens of claims of $7000 or under per worker. Our new "building justice" worker committee is breaking new ground in worker-led fights against wage theft in the construction and building maintenance and cleaning industries. 2) in our related domestic worker organizing project we now work actively on implementation and public education about the new ma bill of rights. We have created a new domestic worker two-hour safety and health course (in partnership with osha), a new telephone hotline for help and information for domestic workers (in partnership with studio rev, ndwa, and northeastern university's nu-law lab), and have completed 3 different research projects on domestic workers, two in partnership with sociological initiatives foundation (in both ma and ct), and another in partnership with osha region one, using them to shape training and progressive labor legislation. We have a history of using public art projects for public education about domestic workers: our still ongoing traveling portrait photo exhibit, "invisible no more: domestic workers, new labor laws, and a changing culture," was most recently on display at newton free library, tufts university, umass lowell, and the consulate of brazil in boston. 3) immigrant rights. Finally, we are in strong demand to support our community in improving their security as immigrants. The majority of our community lack secure status. We work with constituents in detention, advocate for the safe driving act, and defend those charged with infractions for driving without a license. We continue to assist constituents in the renewal of hundreds of daca cases they first filed through us beginning in 2013. We are seeking recognition by uscis as an organization qualified to assist community members in immigration applications, and representing them in us citizenship & immigration services processes. We work hard to be a resource for the entire boston area. Bwc is a key member of the advisory board of the mayor's office of immigrant advancement, and also it's daca learning network that links area universities, the boston public schools, and community non-profits in improving educational opportunities for undocumented youth. We also collaborate with the office of immigrant advancement to deliver programs in community education on daca. All this is needed, because brazilians now represent the largest single foreign-born national grouping in boston. We have also recently begun a new racial justice initiative involving educating members of our community about issues in understanding race, racism, and racial justice in the us context, a matter that affects them in their life in american communities, and also their relations inside the brazilian community.