Jose Oliva, a director for the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a prominent worker center, recently explained how worker centers are nonprofit groups that are an alternate form of labor organizing. Most major unions have established and funded their own worker centers to further their own causes.
According to Oliva, a union can collect dues from their members’ paychecks, but a worker center cannot do that. Worker centers do not have a steady flow of income, which means most of their money comes from private foundations – (most of which are funded by union dues).
Because there is a huge growth of worker centers and a sharp decline of traditional unions, Oliva believes workers centers are just third-wave unions. “We had craft unions, then industrial unions in the Industrial Revolution, and now we have a new economy. That new economy has given rise to a new form of unionism that we right now call worker centers.” Oliva went on to admit that one of the major advantages of worker centers is that since they are IRS 501(c)(5) charities, they are not “constrained by the National Labor Relations Act” and do not have to file LM-2s.