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PowerSwitch Action (formerly Partnership for Working Families)

PowerSwitch Action
(formerly Partnership for Working Families)


Staff Attorney for Worker Power

This is a REMOTE position

 

PowerSwitch Action is a national network organizing to realize and build multi-racial feminist democracies in our cities, towns and regions. Together with our 20 affiliates and one regional project we are driving an agenda to bring the billions of dollars in local public investments under the oversight of the communities most impacted, to expand decision making and power to more of the residents in our regions, to support the building and growth of member- based organizations, and to fight when necessary corporate actors who use their power to extract and cause harm to our communities.

Leaders of our network and national staff recently completed our long-term agenda on our path to collective liberation and towards a multiracial, feminist democracy that is powered by abundance, freedom and self-determination, radical inclusion, and meaningful work that is valued. Our long term agenda is guided by four interwoven core strategies:

  • Build Authentic Inclusive Democracy, by creating a body of campaigns and programs that develop ways in which to open government to resident voices.
  • A People’s Economy, for the many not the few. The racial wealth gap, the gender gap, the rampant racism, and human exploitation are in the design of the machine. We need a new apparatus that is accountable to people, to the many.
  • Grow Civic Organizations: Labor, Tenants, Borrowers, Ethnic. An organized citizenry is best able to take on questionable or corrupt practices. We need to dramatically increase the numbers of people organized in order to effectively contest capital, stave off authoritarianism, and bring out the democracies that we envision.
  • Rein in Corporate Power. If our ultimate goal is to develop the capacity of people to govern and manage democracy and the economy then they must have experience of their power to bring corporations to heel. We can prove to the American people that it’s possible to reclaim public goods from corporate capture, reject extreme exploitation of workers, and beat back corporate overreach — all while fighting for our collective liberation.

Building power for and with workers is a critical piece of all of these strategies and PowerSwitch Action is doing just that in multiple ways. We are co-leading powerful coalition campaigns that take on some of the biggest corporate threats to workers’ rights and power like Amazon and Uber. Our affiliates are building and running campaigns with low-wage, immigrant and BIPOC worker for better wages and working conditions and the freedom to organize in exploitative industries like warehousing and logistics, rideshare and delivery, trucking, and agriculture. To support these campaigns, we seek a California attorney with deep experience in providing a full range of legal services to campaigns focused on building the power of low wage workers through organizing and policy.

Responsibilities

  1. Provide wide-ranging legal support and strategic thought partnership to worker organizing and policy campaigns in the PowerSwitch Action network that build worker power, including our app-based worker campaign, Athena and the California Coalition for Worker Power (CCWP) “Our Voices, Our Jobs” campaign.
    • Support coalition campaigns in understanding the legal landscape, formulating impactful and defensible demands, and negotiating, drafting, enforcing and defending policies and agreements that expand worker protections and power.
    • Support coalition campaigns in assessing and exercising legal leverage, including through affirmative legal action and obtaining public records and research on corporate campaign targets. However, we do not expect undertaking litigation to comprise a major part of the role.
  2. Lead PowerSwitch Action’s identification of legal tools and strategies that will shift power to workers.
    • Build on research and co-lead and/or lead conversations with allies regarding innovative worker organizations and formations, policy and administrative strategies that promote organizing and worker power, including, e.g. co-enforcement mechanisms, standards boards, and cooperative formations.
    • Develop and assess strategies (both available under current law and requiring legal reform) for organizing workers lacking legal and social protections, including misclassified workers, farmworkers, immigrant workers and others.
    • Formulate an approach to legal advocacy and organizing that supports worker power through the interaction of direct representation, worker organizing, impact litigation and comprehensive campaigning.
  3. Contribute to the organization’s legal team by: writing and editing briefs; sharing legal landscape updates; and recruiting and supervising outside counsel, fellows and law students.
    • Maintain current working knowledge of relevant areas of law and share that with colleagues in brief, accessible write-ups and oral presentations.
    • Author and co-author briefs in litigation in which the organization is involved, particularly amicus briefs in high impact cases, and coordinate with co-counsel and recruit amici in those cases. As needed, author and co-author articles and reports.
    • Help build and maintain a network of allied expert attorneys, law professors, law students and subject matter experts.

Qualifications

  • Experience in both employment and labor law: Minimum 5 years’ experience as a workers’ rights attorney. A track record as a highly capable legal and strategy advisor of low-wage worker organizing and/or policy campaigns. Experience formulating impactful and defensible worker protections and defending or preparing the defense of policies against challenges based on preemption or other theories. Experience litigating wage and hour, employment discrimination, worker classification or other cases involving basic workers’ rights. Experience in traditional labor law and working with labor organizations.
  • Range of legal skills: Able to undertake legal advocacy and litigation as well as policy and contract negotiation and drafting. Experience litigating in court and administrative forums. (However, significant trial advocacy experience is not required.) Experience drafting and reviewing legislation, administrative rules, settlement agreements, labor neutrality agreements, collective bargaining agreements and other contracts that protect workers or worker organizing rights. Experience with multi-party workers’ rights enforcement systems. Scrupulous in meeting professional responsibility obligations.
  • Works exceptionally well with organizers and campaigners: Has enthusiasm for meeting and engaging with people; is able to put people at ease, especially when there are lines of difference; can communicate legal concepts in lay terms, think collaboratively about legal strategy with non-lawyers, and put people in a position to strategize for themselves; listens closely to understand needs or concerns and takes steps based on that input; gets back to people in a timely manner; takes pride in providing clear, helpful information.
  • Recognizes ways that race and other identities intersect in the work: Is able to reflect on and describe the impact of one’s own identities—and those of others—in a given situation, decision, or process; proactively advances equity outcomes.
  • Produces high quality work efficiently and on time. Produces compelling, effective written and digital materials; organizes and shares information effectively — whether drafting a brief, writing an internal email or delivering a presentation. Has strong attention to detail. Has a system for keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks; able to juggle competing demands and prioritize without sacrificing quality. Plans backwards to make deadlines.
  • Licensure: Licensed to practice law in California, but may consider exceptional candidates licensed to practice elsewhere. Being licensed to practice law in NY, MO, IL, TX, or FL is helpful but not required.

Compensation and Location
This is a full-time, exempt position and reports to the Legal Director. We offer a competitive starting salary between $91,000 – $101,000 (based on experience) and generous benefits, including:

  • 401(k) with 5% employer contribution
  • 100% of health, dental, and vision premiums for employees and their family members (spouse/domestic partner and children)
  • Life insurance for employees
  • Flexible Spending Account: Employees may contribute up to $5,000 a year for childcare expenses and up to $2,500 a year for medical expenses (no employer contribution)
  • 12 days of vacation increasing with tenure up to 20 days
  • 12 days of sick leave per year
  • 6 week sabbatical for full time employees after five years of employment

This position may be performed remotely, but residency in a metropolitan area that contains a PowerSwitch Action affiliate is preferred.

To Apply
Please send a letter of interest, résumé, and a list of 3-4 professional references, including at least one supervisor, to: jobs@powerswitchaction.org, and include “Staff Attorney” in the subject line.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Position open until filled. Candidates invited to interview will be asked to provide a writing sample; second round candidates will be asked to participate in an exercise.

PowerSwitch Action is an equal opportunity employer and committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce. We strongly encourage and seek applications from gender oppressed (women, transgender, and gender non-binary) people, people of color including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and broader queer communities. We do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender/gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status.

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