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Research & Policy

The Research and Policy (RAP) program generates policy and private sector solutions to serious workplace problems by filling the gap in reliable research on the working conditions of low-wage workers and the construction industry. The goals of RAP are to:

  • Conduct groundbreaking research on the construction industry to collect relevant and useful data that demonstrates the need for policy and private sector innovations.
  • Enact policies that protect the rights of workers at the local and state level. WDP members lead organizing efforts and carry out direct action and media campaigns to win these policy victories, and mobilize community members to engage working Texans in the political process.
  • Raise standards in the construction industry by signing agreements with developers to improve wages, safety standards, and training opportunities for workers on their sites.

Important Victories

Better Builder certification: over 5,000 good construction jobs and counting in Austin.

Investigation into Texas’ deadly construction industry by OSHA: 60% increase in construction safety inspections throughout the state, saving countless lives.

Austin rest breaks ordinance: the first of its kind in Texas, guaranteeing all construction workers in Austin the right to paid rest breaks during the workday.

Won one of the nation’s most progressive economic development policies: To be eligible for tax incentives from the City of Austin and Travis County, companies must now agree to ensure higher standards on construction projects including: Living and prevailing wages, OSHA basic safety training, workers’ compensation coverage, protection from misclassification for all workers on the project, and project owners are incentivized to hire from “disadvantaged” worker populations (those that are low-income, have a criminal record, and do not have a high school diploma).