PowerSwitch Action is a national network of leaders, organizers, and strategists. The network comprises 21 grassroots organizations that weave coalitions for campaigns ranging from labor and housing to racial and environmental justice. Together, they are building people power for a people- and planet-centered economy.
Their mission is to remake the economy as we know it by shifting power from corporations to working people. They are organizing for good jobs and workplace democracy, renter protections, clean local energy and healthy neighborhoods. Among many strategies, they're building worker power, shaping participatory public budget-making processes, winning innovative public policies, and organizing people to directly confront the corporations harming their communities.
"A lot of the work that we do is about creating infrastructure for the movement. Part of our conviction is that in order to solve long-term problems, we need long-term agendas and strategies. And we need the places where we can come together as power-building organizations to create that shared vision, to have a deep shared analysis of the problems, and to set a transformational agenda that we can all commit to,” said Elly Matsumura, PowerSwitch Action’s California Director.
To create an economy that is equitable, we must get out of the short-term thinking. “The fights our communities really need us to win are the big ones that cannot be won in a single year,” explained Matsumura. That’s why PowerSwitch Action is not only thinking about what legislation or corporate campaign they can drive this year. They are dreaming and strategizing for transformative projects that might take years.
It is one thing to have strong labor laws and standards, and another to have those standards implemented. And for that, workers need to be able to organize.
“California has some of the strongest labor laws in the country. And yet, we continue to have people working multiple jobs to make ends meet. We have warehouse workers flooding clinics in the Inland Empire because of the severe musculoskeletal and stress-related injuries that they're suffering from work,” noted Matsumura.
“You can't just change laws. You have to fundamentally shift power. All of the laws that we pass to create standards in the workplace only matter if workers can say, ‘Hey, I think we actually are supposed to have rest breaks and the ability to use the restroom’ or, ‘Hey, there's money missing from my paycheck,’ without fear of getting fired or moved to a schedule that means that they will never see their children or being transferred to a role that's more dangerous or hurts their body.”