Mission: Worker Justice Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially workers in low-wage jobs. IWJ is the leading national interfaith organization promoting the rights of workers. It creates partnerships between workers, religious leaders, attorneys and government agencies that protect worker rights. Since its founding in 1996, IWJ has consistently stood for the protection of disadvantaged workers regardless of faith tradition, race, ethnicity, gender or immigration status. Over the past decade, IWJ has grown in size from a single office based in Chicago into a national organization with more than 60 affiliates in 22 states. It has created a network of interfaith workers’ centers that provide a safe space for workers to learn about their rights and take concrete steps to improve their workplace conditions. Workers’ centers help workers by filing wage claims with government agencies, sponsoring legal clinics, developing worker rights educational resources and educating workers and on their rights in the workplace. IWJ has helped obtain over two million dollars in back wages for low-wage families and assists over 30,000 workers per year in campaigns to improve wages, benefits and working conditions Cy pres funds will help IWJ further its mission of protecting the rights of low-wage workers.
The “Next Best Use” of Unclaimed Funds You can help make access to justice a reality for more working families by proposing that unclaimed funds be designated to Interfaith Worker Justice. Awarding cy pres funds to Interfaith Worker Justice would help further the aims of class action suits addressing workplace problems. Examples of cases might involve: Unpaid wages Unpaid benefits ● Discrimination ● Workplace injuries ● ●
Cy Pres Directing Class Action Residuals to Interfaith Worker Justice
For more information on designating cy pres awards to IWJ, please call or write: Kim Bobo Executive Director Interfaith Worker Justice 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., 4th Fl. Chicago, IL 60660 (773) 728-8400 x13 For more information on IWJ’s work, please visit www.iwj.org.
Improving Conditions for Workers in Low-Wage Jobs
Cy Pres – “Next Best Use” of Unclaimed Funds The cy pres doctrine (from the Norman French term cy pres comme possible meaning “as near as possible”) is a court-approved method of distributing a damage fund when the original cannot be achieved. In class action lawsuits, if there is to be a payment of damages to class members, a fund is created. After class members’ claims are paid, there is often an amount remaining. Under the doctrine of cy pres, judges and class counsel can recommend that residual funds be distributed to the “next best” use. The cy pres remedy can also be used for the entirety of a statutory damage award when the amount of damages to each class member is too small to warrant distribution.
Making the Case for IWJ Interfaith Worker Justice seeks to protect workers from injustices similar to those litigated in workplace-related class action lawsuits. The work IWJ does makes it an appropriate recipient of cy pres funds from cases involving workers and problems in the workplace.
Workers’ Rights Materials: IWJ publishes user-friendly educational materials on workers’ rights by state in English and Spanish. Currently, there are materials for nine states. Cy pres awards could help fund the creation of materials for more states and expand distribution to reach more workers.
Consider Interfaith Worker Justice for cy pres awards of residual funds from cases involving:
Workers’ Rights Website: IWJ is developing a user-friendly, yet comprehensive worker advocacy website that provides tools and resources to empower workers to learn their rights and advocate for themselves. Cy pres awards could help IWJ expand its web-based workers’ rights resources.
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Unpaid wages Unpaid benefits Workplace injuries Discrimination
Because IWJ and its workers’ centers serve so many immigrant workers, it is also a good fit for many cases involving immigrants.
Interfaith Worker Justice has many worker rights initiatives that could be supported or expanded with cy pres awards, including:
IWJ Makes Cy Pres Simple
Interfaith Worker Justice acknowledges the work that goes into preparing cy pres awards. To make it easy for attorneys and judges to include IWJ in a settlement agreement, IWJ can provide: ●
Workers’ Centers: IWJ has a network of 19 workers’ centers that help workers address workplace problems. These centers, with multi-lingual staff and ties with religious communities, are grassroots operations that have the trust of workers, especially immigrant workers. Cy pres awards could help expand the capacity of existing centers and add centers in more communities.
Sample orders approving IWJ as a cy pres recipient. Sample projects that the cy pres awards might fund. Senior staff availability to meet with counsel or provide testimony at fairness hearings. Quick turnaround on general documents, such as the 501(c)3 tax determination letter or annual report. Accounting for use of earmarked funds at the end of award period, if desired.