Since the creation of JwJET in 1996 we have actively supported efforts by working people and their organizations to achieve decent wages and benefits, safe working conditions, and the right to a voice both in the workplace and the community. Important themes of our past work include:
- Our abiding support for a living wage both on campus and beyond,
- Our solidarity with immigrant workers who fight to claim their legal right to stand up against employer abuse and to enforce rules that are supposed to protect all workers;
- Our belief in the importance of a vigorous public sector that serves the interests of all people and not just the wealthy few;
- Our conviction that elected officials should embrace high-road strategies in contracting and development in order to attract and reward more employers that provide safe workplaces, decent wages, and respectful treatment;
- Our recognition that a true democratic culture can only flourish in a society that protects the right of working people to freedom of association and the right to speak out about their jobs free from fear of retaliation.
Over the years we have stood beside many different workers in our area, including Knox County school custodians campaigning to save their jobs from contracting out, UTK housekeepers seeking a living wage and respect on the job, Latino poultry workers in Morristown fighting for a first contract that would improve working conditions and wages, fast-food employees pushing for “$15 and a union,” tomato pickers asking food industry giants to pay ten cents more a bushel to growers to help farm laborers escape extreme poverty, post office staffers seeking to prevent branch shut-downs and the end of Saturday mail delivery, construction workers subjected to life-threatening conditions on bridge projects and other public works, nurses raising issues of inadequate staffing to assure patient care, and public school teachers raising an alarm about what is happening to teacher salaries and the education of our children.
We welcome participation from organizations and individuals who share our values and want to help us make a difference.