St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle among 14 groups nationwide to receive AFL-CIO LIFT Fund grant

Fund first of its kind to support collaboration and innovation around new forms of organizing

The St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle was awarded an AFL-CIO LIFT Fund grant Jan. 29 for its innovative efforts organizing workers outside of traditional models.

The LIFT Fund is the first of its kind to support collaboration with local unions and innovation around new forms of worker organizing between grant recipient organizations and traditional labor.

Pat White

“This important investment in local organizing is good news for St. Louis workers,” said Pat White, President of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council. “The LIFT grant for our area acknowledges the efforts being made by the local union community to empower people in the most vulnerable areas of our region and expand needed work for economic justice.”

The LIFT Fund was established in 2011 as a partnership between the AFL-CIO and philanthropic institutions that share the federation’s vision for a world in which workers are treated with the dignity they deserve. The primary purpose is to support local and state level work focused on helping vulnerable populations of workers, including immigrants, African Americans, women, and rural workers. Partners include the General Service Foundation, the New World Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Solidago Foundation, and the Discount Foundation.


“We recognize that our struggle is inextricably linked to the fight for economic justice,” said Montague Simmons, director of Organization for Black Struggle. “The LIFT grant will support our work to engage and organize those who have been at the forefront of our fight and who also tend to be the most vulnerable to the economic violence waged against our communities.”

This year’s grant recipients and their labor partners are as follows:

  • Organization for Black Struggle, St Louis, MO (Labor Partner: International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 58)
  • CLEAN Carwash, Los Angeles, CA (Labor Partner: United Steelworkers Local 675)
  • Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco, CA (Labor Partner: UNITE HERE Local 2)
  • Community Voices Heard, New York, NY (Labor Partner: AFSCME District Council 37)
  • Lynn Worker Center for Economic Justice (Labor Partner: North Shore Labor Council)
  • Make the Road/NYCC (Labor Partner: RWSDU)
  • NDLON, Los Angeles, CA (Labor Partner: LA County Federation)
  • NDWA/Brazilian Immigrant Center, CT (Labor Partner: United Auto Workers Region 9A)
  • National Guest Workers Alliance, New Orleans, LA (Labor Partner: Ironworkers Union)
  • ROC-United, National (Labor Partners: UFCW Western States Council)
  • Sunflower/Kansas People’s Action, Wichita, KS (Labor Partner: Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation and CWA)
  • VOZ Worker Center (Labor Partner: Oregon AFL-CIO)
  • Vermont Worker Center (Labor Partner: Vermont State Labor Council)
  • Warehouse Workers Resource Council (Labor Partner: UFCW Western States Council)

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