Using Technology to Connect Workers Across the Country

June 7, 2019

United for Respect is a multiracial movement of working people advancing a vision of an economy where corporations respect their work and recognize their humanity. Its WorkIt app helps people working in hourly jobs get answers to questions about workplace policies and rights from trusted and trained peer advisors. Thanks in part to Voqal’s support, WorkIt was able to expand adapt its technology to support a more diverse group of low-income worker organizations.

One of these groups is the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC) in Los Angeles. After spending decades as a community activist and labor leader in Manila, PWC Associate Director Lolita Lledo immigrated to the United States in 1997 in search of better opportunities for her family. Lledo now spends her days organizing California’s Filipino community of 1.5 million individuals to strengthen protections for immigrants and domestic workers. While her core work is as an organizer, much of her time is spent on the phone or Facebook answering individual employment and immigration questions.

In November, Lledo and a dozen PWC leaders attended a kick-off training about PWC’s new WorkIt powered app, Empleo Pinoy. While Lledo had been involved in the design process, it wasn’t until the training where it really sunk in how the app could transform the organization’s work. She realized that it would allow domestic workers, who often worked in isolation, to access peer support and real-time answers to their questions anytime, anywhere. This drastically reduces the wait list of dozens of individuals waiting for a call back from PWC on any given day, arms PWC with stories and data for their legislative campaigns and allows PWC to scale the number of worker connections it is able to make in any given year. For Lledo, it meant that it would free up her time to have the important deep conversations with workers about the systemic issues facing immigrants and domestic workers.

Innovative methods of organizing citizens around issues they care about are necessary to creating the more engaged and empowered public Voqal believes in. Voqal is excited to have been able to support WorkIT since its early days as a means to connect and elevate the voice of Walmart employees and to have helped its continued evolution as a platform for workers everywhere. We look forward to the increased capacity and effectiveness that organizations like PWC will experience as a result of this invaluable tool and the more social equitable movement it will no doubt create.