What's Happening

  • Contract to Cheat

    Across the country companies have found that they can save money and increase their profits by misclassifying workers as independent contractors. In doing so they avoid their responsibilities as an employer and put the burden on workers and the state. In Texas, nearly 40% of construction workers are misclassified. That comes out to more than 300,000 workers.

    When these businesses don’t play by the rules, we all pay the price. Workers are left without safety nets when they get hurt on the job or when employment is scarce. Other businesses struggle to compete. And the state loses much needed tax …

  • Labor Day Reflections

    For one hundred and thirty years Labor Day has been a chance for the nation to come together and celebrate the contributions that working men and women make to our communities every day. But honoring workers must extend beyond the first Monday of every September. At a time when over half of the men and women who build our state earn poverty level wages and only 40% are covered by workers compensations, we must stop and reflect on what broad changes need to be made.

    Read Cristina Tzintzún’s Huffington Post Op-Ed, in which she discusses the reality faced by …

  • Juan Speaks Municipal IDs

    On Thursday, August 7th WDP member Juan Becerra spoke to KXAN about the Austin proposal for municipal IDs. As he explained, “The problem is that people feel very insecure to go to the police, or go to the school, or go to the bank. So it’s about security.” The new cards will address his concerns by making Austin accessible to all residents, regardless of documentation status, gender identity, or age.

    We are proud of our participation in the coalition, Recognize Austin, which has spearheaded the campaign for a welcoming and safe city. Learn more about our work by signing

  • Build It Better

    Our campaign urging Gables Residential to Build It Better is in full swing. We continue to keep the pressure on Gables to ensure that their projects are built with dignity and respect. If you are curious about the standards we are asking Gables to comply with, visit our Better Builder website. There you will find information about the low-road norms in the construction industry, and the ways honest businesses are setting the bar for how construction is done in Texas.…

  • WDP responds to incentives debate

    Workers Defense Project Responds to Recent Discussion on Tax Incentives:
    Mayor Lee Leffingwell is Misleading the Public

    AUSTIN— Last year, Austin City Council took an important step to enhance the city’s economic development policy by expanding provisions to ensure that companies receiving tax breaks invest in the long-term growth of our local communities and workforce by agreeing to pay a living wage to long-term employees and contract workers. Previous to this vote, there were few guidelines or rules on what large companies received tax breaks and what Austin taxpayers got in return for granting them.

    WDP recognizes that this was …

  • Rest Breaks Enforcement

    WDP has been working with the City of Austin to ensure the local rest breaks ordinance for construction workers is enforced and workers’ complaints are addressed.

    In 2010, WDP members held a “thirst strike” to call attention to the dangers of working outside in blistering summer temperatures without breaks. In response, the City passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid 10-minute rest breaks for every 3.5 hours of work on construction sites.

    The ordinance was a huge victory, but questions of responsibility for enforcement have lingered until recently. WDP has been working with the City’s Code Compliance Department and …

  • Tell Gables: We deserve to be paid

    RodimiroTamez2_crop My name is Rodimiro Tamez, and I’m a member of Workers Defense Project.

    Two weeks ago, my co-workers and I filed a legal claim for $7,878 in unpaid overtime from working at Gables Park Tower.

    My co-workers and I are not alone. Workers have reported over $130,000 in wage theft and unsafe working conditions at other Gables Residential sites.

    What we’re asking for is simple: pay us for our work.

    Can you take a minute to support us by signing this petition urging Gables to Build it Better? Last time nearly a thousand of you sent e-mails to Gables, now …

  • We Reached Our Goal

    UPDATE: We’ve exceeded our goal of $10,000 by over $3,000! We raised $13,893 in 24 hours. Thank you for all your support!


    Amplify Austin begins 6 pm CST on March 20, 2014! Donate $25 now to help us reach our $10,000 goal.

    Here at Workers Defense Project, we hear stories everyday about unfair and illegal practices on construction sites across the state.

    Dagoberto, a WDP member and leader in his community, wrote a song about the challenges immigrant workers face.

    Workers Defense Project is fighting to win better working conditions to turn these stories of individual injustices into community

  • Take Action: Overtime Pay for Overtime Work

    UPDATE: The petition blast is now closed. Nearly 1,000 people sent e-mails to Gables Executives asking them to Build it Better. Thank you for your continued support!

    RodimiroTamez2_cropClick here to sign the petition asking Gables to Build it Better!

    Rodimiro Tamez is a painter at Gables Park Tower but could not even dream of living in one of Gables’ environmentally-certified luxury apartments. With his wages, he can’t even afford to live in the city of Austin.

    Rodimiro is 63 years old and plans to work until he’s 70. He’d like to retire but he has to support his family. …

  • Risking your life for poverty wages

    Construction workers risk their lives every day on the job, but still can’t make ends meet.

    That’s why we launched the Better Builder program, which guarantees safe, living wage jobs on the sites of participating developers.

    With your help, we can expand the program and improve the lives of thousands of construction workers. Take 5 minutes to schedule your donation to Workers Defense Project for Amplify Austin, a 24 hour online fundraising campaign on March 20-21. 

    Or mark on your calendar to donate to WDP on March 20 or 21 (you don’t need to create a profile if you donate …