Organizing for Change

WDP believes in achieving systemic change through grassroots organizing efforts with those most affected by the issues of workplace inequality, WDP’s  achieves this by:

  • Engaging members in civic participation that seeks to achieve positive social change, such as with voter registration and candidates forums.
  • Developing the leadership skills of grassroots community members to better advocate for themselves and their community. WDP achieves this through 10-week leadership courses for its constituents.
  • Creating leadership outlets where WDP members can come together to address serious workplace issues at a systemic level. Earlier this year WDP’s members were successful in winning the passage of a rest break ordinance for construction workers by Austin City Council- the first of its kind in the state.

This program engages its members in organizing campaigns that encourage leadership development and make positive social change. Through this program WDP develops committees of low-income families to advocate for community improvements such as increased protections for workers in dangerous occupations and access to public services. In 2009, WDP constituents won a federal investigation into Texas’ deadly construction industry by OSHA, after WDP released a study with the University of Texas about working conditions in the industry in our state. The study found that every 2.5 days a construction worker dies in Texas. The investigation resulted in a 60% increase in construction safety inspections throughout the state, saving countless lives.

Industry Research

WDP places a special focus on improving conditions in the construction industry given that 85% of its members work in the industry. Additionally, WDP’s research shows that the majority of construction workers in Austin experience serious employment violations, resulting in high-levels of poverty and high rates of death and injury on the job.

To address the systemic abuse in the construction industry, WDP has teamed up with the University of Texas to undertake one of the most comprehensive studies on the industry in the country, entitled Building Austin, Building Justice. To read the full report and learn more visit buildtexas.org

Innovative Solutions

WDP brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to build a strong and sustainable industry by rewarding good business practices and leveling the playing field so honest businesses can compete.

The Texas construction industry is one of the top ten employers in the state, with nearly 600,0001 Texans employed in the industry and contributing over $15 billion to the Texas economy in direct costs for commercial construction alone2. Because of these important economic contributions, it is essential that we ensure that honest businesses can successfully compete in the industry.  We do this by:

  • Researching key challenges facing construction industry leaders
  • Developing solutions to industry needs such as safety and misclassification
  • Bringing stakeholders together to develop innovative ideas to improve industry practices that reward good business practices, invest in workforce development, and level the playing field in the industry

1 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2 AFL-CIO. “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect—A National and State-by-State Profile of Worker Safety and Health in the United States.”