Nationally, Jobs With Justice (JWJ) was formed in 1987 and has a 30 year history of fighting for working families and their communities. Colorado has one of the oldest coalition chapters, founded in the late 1980's. The main strength of Colorado Jobs With Justice (CO JWJ) is our role as a long-term coalition that promotes solidarity from one struggle to another and links disparate constituencies.
As with most of the older coalition chapters and the national organization, CO JWJ was founded by progressive labor leaders and community organizations looking for a new strategy to fight the continuing attacks on working people and unions that had escalated dramatically throughout the 1980's. Specifically, JWJ was formed in recognition of the fact that while short-term coalitions built around specific issues or campaigns are a vital part of movements for social justice, transformative relationships that expand both individuals' and organizations' understanding of their own self-interest in the social justice movement are required to win significant and lasting change. Prior to JWJ there had been many short-term coalitions built in Colorado, but the deeper relationship building of a permanent coalition was needed. JWJ was formed locally to fill this gap in the CO landscape.
One of the key strategies we have deployed from the inception of JWJ is asking folks to sign on to our "Be There Pledge" which asserts: "I'll be there . . . Standing up for our rights of working people to a decent standard of living. Supporting the right of all workers to organize and bargain collectively. Fighting for secure family-wage jobs in the face of corporate attacks on working people and our communities. Organizing the unorganized to take aggressive action to secure a better economic future for all of us. Mobilizing those already organized to join to fight for jobs with justice. During the next year, I'LL BE THERE at least five times a year for someone else's fight, as well as my own. If enough of us are there, we'll all start winning."
As the Colorado landscape has changed, we have adopted a variety of strategies to strengthen our role as a permanent, multi-issue coalition that brings together diverse organizations to make change. In addition to engaging and mobilizing our base, in the past several years we have made great strides in developing and leading strategic campaigns, educating and communicating with our base and the broader public, and training and developing leaders.
And at the end of the day, the main strength of Colorado Jobs With Justice remains our role as a long-term coalition that promotes solidarity from one struggle to another and links disparate constituencies.