Economic justice is essential for securing basic human rights, alleviating poverty, and achieving a more peaceful and just world. UUSC's Economic Justice Program develops strategic partnerships and networks, builds movements, and influences local, statewide, and national policy on workers' rights.

UUSC recognizes that workers' rights are human rights and works to improve the lives of the world's most marginalized and vulnerable workers. Many workers around the world are employed in environments that violate their most basic human rights. Consequently, they struggle to earn a living, support their families, and live a life of dignity. In the United States, UUSC seeks to empower and advance the rights of workers in the food chain. Throughout the world, UUSC focuses its economic justice work on women in the informal economy.

Goals

  • Foster the creation of fair, safe work environments — free of intimidation and harassment — that respect the human rights and dignity of workers
  • Support movements to ensure living wages 
  • Hold corporations accountable for violations of their workers’ human rights
  • Empower and organize workers to advocate for their rights

Current projects

  • Supporting the training of workers and activists to promote the Good Food Purchasing Policy, governs institutional food procurement, in their communities
  • Partnering to support trainings for workers in the restaurant industry to increase their access to economic opportunities
  • Engaging in research on worker rights’ issues in the poultry industry in Northwest Arkansas
  • Supporting the expansion of a revolving loan fund for informal vendors and traders in Kenya
  • Engaging activists and supporters to call on Wendy’s and Darden to recognize the rights of workers in their food procurement policies

Impact highlights

  • Benefitted 5,000 people directly and a further 15,000 people indirectly, all in the informal economy in Kenya, through an expanded revolving loan fund, leadership development, capacity building, and awareness raising efforts about the rights of persons with disabilities
  • Supported the creation and distribution of a comic book — designed to educate youth and adults about food chain workers — that sold more than 500 copies in print and was received by more than 1,400 individuals at events and online
  • Supported training for 500 restaurant workers, an expanded network of 200 responsible restaurant employers, and three new training facilities for U.S. restaurant workers
  • Initiated a series of trainings that will each empower 36 workers to advocate for the Good Food Purchasing Policy, which benefits low-income students and seniors

Featured partner

Food Chain Workers Alliance, United States