Background

A fundamental promise of America is that work will be a ladder to economic opportunity and an anchor of economic security for working families. But that promise has unraveled over the past three decades. Globalization has combined with domestic policy choices to yield an economy that creates too many low-wage jobs and not nearly enough good ones. Lax enforcement of workers' rights, increased subcontracting and misclassification of employees as independent contractors, and failed immigration policies have heightened insecurity for all workers. Inequality has grown to historic levels, the middle class is imperiled, and many fear our best days are behind us.

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) responds by working to restore the promise of economic opportunity in the 21st century economy. In partnership with national, state and local allies, we promote policies and programs that create good jobs, strengthen upward mobility, enforce hard-won worker rights, and help unemployed workers regain their economic footing through improved benefits and services.

Read more about NELP's recent work in our 2013 Annual Report

NELP works from the ground up to build change. Our model is to develop and test new policies at the state and local level, then scale them up to spur change at the national level. We partner with strong advocacy networks, grounded in the full range of stakeholders - grassroots groups and national organizations, worker centers and unions, policymakers and think tanks. With our staff of lawyers, policy experts and researchers, we provide the following:

  • In-depth legal and policy analysis, developing innovative strategies to create good jobs, improve working conditions and bolster economic security;

  • Rigorous empirical research, documenting key trends in the economy and spelling out effective solutions;

  • Expert legal advice and technical assistance, helping advocates craft viable policies in light of legal restrictions;

  • Strategic leadership in coalitions, bringing together diverse constituencies to pursue common goals;

  • Communications, public education and messaging, shining a spotlight on the struggles of today's working families and helping to increase understanding of key economic problems and viable policy solutions; and

  • Capacity building through dissemination of policy and research reports, hosting conferences, and student training.

NELP has offices around the country and programs that touch the lives of workers across the economic spectrum. We welcome your inquiries and participation.