Founder of Workers' Rights Law Center of New York (WRLC)
2004 Global Fellow
New York’s Hudson Valley is presently undergoing great population and job growth as the suburbs of New York City move northward. The new, largely immigrant workforce faces poor workplace conditions and systemic abuses including wage loss, injury, and sexual harassment.
By offering free legal services to this population, the WRLC addresses workers’ urgent legal needs stemming from workplace abuses. At the same time, WRLC uses litigation, educational outreach and relationships in the community to serve as a bridge between immigrant workers and organized labor unions. Located in Kingston, New York, WLRC’s strategy for supporting the Hudson Valley’s new immigrant workforce is built on the belief that unions, with their resources and community support, can provide immigrant workers with important access to power. WLRC offers three programs: Know Your Rights Workshops; trainings of volunteers who accompany workers to small claims court to recover unpaid wages; and litigation.
Dan Werner manages the SPLC’s immigrant justice initiative, which combats workplace exploitation and other human rights abuses of immigrants. He is an expert on human trafficking law and the co-author of A Guide to Civil Litigation on Behalf of Victims of Human Trafficking. Werner has lectured and testified in the U.S., Europe, and Asia on issues affecting victims of human trafficking and other forms of severe labor exploitation. Previously, he co-founded the Workers’ Rights Law Center of New York with an Echoing Green fellowship after six years as a lawyer with Farmworker Legal Services of New York. Werner also has represented citrus workers in Florida under a NAPIL fellowship. He is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.