WHO WE ARE
Woodbridge Workers Committee
The Woodbridge Workers Committee is a tax-exempt 501-c3 organization comprised of several hundred Woodbridge, Virginia area immigrant day laborers and a base of community volunteers. The Woodbridge day laborers have overwhelmingly recognized the Woodbridge Workers Committee (WWC) as their official representative organization by electing representatives and actively participating in the organization. The WWC Board of Directors, elected by the membership, functions through regular democratic decision-making meetings. The WWC works to obtain justice and dignity for immigrant workers by observing principles of solidarity, unity, mutual respect and democratic decision-making.
Among the ongoing programs carried out by Woodbridge Workers Committee are English classes, winter clothing and food distributions, a cultural program for Indigenous members in cooperation with the Piscataway Indian Nation, a wage recovery program, a legal representation program, and, most recently, development of the Serafin Negrete Alvarez Humanitarian Project in memory of a member murdered in a hate crime. We also serve as the principal link between the day laborers and their community and the broader community.
The Woodbridge Workers Committee links our local struggles with national and global struggles for justice and dignity. By reaching out across ethnic, racial and class lines, we have formed a strong base of community solidarity with faith and justice organizations, communities of color, and individuals of conscience in Prince William County and the Washington, DC metro area. Members of the Committee travel on a regular basis to various organizational meetings and cultural events in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware and Pennsylvania to help form coalitions and educate around immigrant issues. We speak regularly to area churches and community groups about the importance of showing solidarity with the new immigrants and about the difference between charity and solidarity work.
Increasingly, the Woodbridge Workers Committee is engaged in a public education campaign to counter a virtual tidal wave of anti-immigrant scapegoating. For example, we took the lead in forcing the Manassas City Council to withdraw an unconstitutional ‘over-crowding’ ordinance aimed at the Latino immigrant community which defined ‘family’ as parents, grandparents and children, and excluded unrelated persons and extended family members from sharing housing. WWC sent buses to the public protests in Richmond against the more than two dozen anti-immigrant bills proposed for the 2005 legislative session. As a member of the National Capital Area Immigrant Coalition, WWC played a leading role in organizing the mass immigrant rights mobilizations last spring and sent several dozen buses to the April 17 protest. TheCommittee is currently trying to prevent the Prince William Jail, already a regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, from participating in a program to train jail personnel in immigration law enforcement.
Woodbridge Workers Committee is raising funds to establish a privately funded community center and hiring hall in close proximity to where the immigrant day laborers currently congregate, which will provide employment services for up to one hundred fifty day laborers. English classes, food and clothing distributions, social service referrals and cultural activities will continue as part of the regular ongoing program of activities offered by and for the WWC. Such a community center will move the workers off the street into a more safe and stable environment, reduce widespread contractor exploitation, and afford the workers a measure basic justice and human dignity. Most importantly, the workers and the community, will operate the hiring hall and community center. Since most workers live in nearby low-income housing with no space for meetings and public gatherings, currently there is no central place for workers to safely gather and organize. The proposed community center will empower both workers and the community, and serve as an essential tool for involving, educating and organizing immigrant day laborers and the broader community.
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