For Immediate Release
May 13, 2020
Omidyar Network Announces Worker Power Vision,
$35 Million Investment
Amid COVID-19 pandemic and recession, philanthropic firm prioritizes worker rights, opportunities, protections.
Washington, DC – Today, Omidyar Network released Our Vision for the Future of Workers and Work, the social impact organization’s blueprint for growing worker power. While Omidyar Network has been focused on economic issues for years, the COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp focus why working people need more power.
In its blueprint, Omidyar Network identifies the systemic problems that have undermined worker power in the United States, explores how working people drive our success as a country, and lays out a path forward for increasing worker power within our economic and political system. As part of that framework, Omidyar Network is committing $35M in its effort to reimagine capitalism – with a focus on building worker power – over three years (2019-2021). Our Vision for the Future of Workers and Work continues Omidyar Network’s commitment to take on major structural issues to build a resilient, inclusive, and equitable economy.
The announcement and publication coincide with the release of an Omidyar Network/Data for Progress survey: Understanding Attitudes Towards Unions and Pro-Worker Policy–And Implications for Organizing. The survey underscores the broad support for worker power; despite party affiliation, most Americans view unions as positive for working people, and at present, most Americans believe working people do not have the power and voice they need in the workplace:
- 60% of Americans, nearly 8 in 10 Democrats and over half of Republicans, thought labor unions were good or excellent for the country as a whole.
- 69% of Americans, more than 7 in 10 Democrats and nearly 6 in 10 Republicans, said working people have too little power.
This survey follows an October survey in partnership with Gallup, Lumina Foundation, and the Gates Foundation: Not Just a Job: New Evidence on the Quality of Work in the United States.
Our Visions for the Future of Workers and Work continues Omidyar Network’s commitment to take on major structural issues to build a resilient, inclusive, and equitable economy. Established by Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, Omidyar Network has invested more than $1 billion to its network of partners and grantees since 2004, including a recent grant to support members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and others who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Much of the economic pain American working families are experiencing today was the inevitable result of economic and political systems that have been rigged to aggressively weaken worker power. For those who could not already see the fragility of so many millions of jobs, the uneven burden placed on our essential workers, and the immense challenges working people already endured every day, COVID-19 has ripped the blindfold off. Now, as we face the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it is vital that we rebuild our economy with equity, dignity, and power for all working people,” said Omidyar Network CEO Mike Kubzansky. “That is why the Omidyar Network is dedicating our resources to organizations and advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national level that are fighting for a new economic system in which working people have power and voice.”
“It’s deeply meaningful to be able to work in partnership with Omidyar Network, whose roots are in the business community, who are saying worker power is and must be the top economic priority in America. American working people need voice and agency now more than ever. The people most impacted by this unprecedented crisis are working people – primarily women and people of color – who were already paid low wages with no benefits or protections,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance.
“We’re eager to bring different parts of the labor movement together to advance the crucial goal underpinning all of our work – building and sustaining equality, dignity, stability, and power for all working people – and we are proud to work alongside Omidyar Network in this effort,” said Erica Smiley, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice.
Omidyar Network is focused on a number of ways to support building power for working people:
- Supporting new models for organizing;
- Discovering and bolstering revenue models to support organizing;
- Supporting policies that enable and build worker power, agency, and voice;
- Exploring business and corporate governance models that incorporate worker voice;
- Introducing data that better describes working people’s and working families’ experience;
- Correcting racial and gender inequalities in the workplace and in worker power;
- Challenging the hostile narrative around working people’s rights, protections, and benefits; and
- Tracking how the current COVID-19 pandemic impacts working people and our economy.
Omidyar Network currently supports the following organizations:
- Harvard Worklife (Clean Slate for Worker Power)
- Center for American Progress
- United for Respect
- LIFT Fund
- WorkersLab Innovation Fund
- National Domestic Workers Alliance
Through the LIFT Fund, Omidyar Network supports the following collaborative efforts:
- Awood Center & Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation
- California Domestic Worker Coalition & UDW/AFCSME Local 3930 The Home Care Providers
- Chicago Workers Collaborative & Chicago Federation of Labor
- CTUL: Centro de Trabajadores en la Lucha & Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council
- Fe y Justicia & Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
- Jobs to Move America & United Steel Workers, Communications Workers of America
- KIWA: Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance & UFCW 770
- New York Taxi Workers Alliance & National Taxi Workers Alliance
- Workers Defense Project & Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
Through the Workers Lab Innovation Fund, Omidyar Network supports:
- Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL)
- Co-op Dayton
- Migrant Justice / Justicia Migrante
- New Deal Home Improvement Cooperative
- Working Washington #PayUp
Omidyar Network seeks to create a more equitable economy, promote responsible technology that improves lives, and discover the emergent issues that will shape our future. Established in 2004 by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, ON has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to catalyze economic and social change.