Labor Foundation

The Michigan AFL-CIO Labor Foundation is our affiliated charitable nonprofit organization established in 2019.

The organization:

The Michigan AFL-CIO Labor Foundation is our affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization established in 2019. Our mission is to combat economic and social injustice by connecting the working people with resources within Michigan’s charitable, educational and legal systems. Our work focuses on:

  • Investing in education to fuel long-term economic justice. The Labor Foundation believes that worker power is rooted in early education about the labor movement, and an understanding of the utility of collective bargaining, from preschool through higher education. We invest in projects that foster a responsibility to economic justice work.
  • Engaging the legal system to defend workers rights. The Labor Foundation believes that legislation only benefits workers if it is properly interpreted, and that workers have access to legal action. We believe there is a role for the labor movement to play in our legal system and ensuring economic justice through Michigan’s courts.
  • Connecting training and service delivery to those in need. The labor movement has a long-standing relationship with the Michigan Association of United Ways in delivering services and trainings to communities across Michigan. The Labor Foundation works to coordinate those efforts to build economic and social justice at the local level.

Our Partnerships

United Way

The MAUW and Michigan AFL-CIO Labor Foundation partnership allows for specific United Way-Labor Liaisons to coordinate resources and services, among and for, community members and stakeholders. This unique partnership between Michigan union families and the United Way, gives our members opportunities to create meaningful change in their own communities!

Combined, in those communities across the state, there are over one million Michigan citizens who are active or retired union members. United Way-Labor Liaisons support community events, coordinate emergency response efforts, advocate for working families on local and state issue campaigns. Labor Liaisons work with CLC’s and local affiliates share the history of labor in their community while continuing to the deepen the bond between local union members and the communities they live, work, pray, and play in.


University of Michigan COVID-19 Volunteer Corps

As we recognized the immediate need for assistance for our displaced members, new to Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance process, our communications with the Michigan Department for Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) highlighted specific areas where they lacked structural capacity, and where additional coordination could alleviate barriers to service delivery.

Working in collaboration between the Michigan Labor Foundation and the University of Michigan, the Michigan Law COVID-19 Corps formed as a group of law students organizing to help those affected by the pandemic. With over 250 volunteers, the Michigan Law COVID-19 Corps was ready to take on meaningful COVID-related projects, ranging from legal and policy research to creating visuals or fielding intake calls. Folks with an inquiry or in need of assistance were encouraged to connect with the team through a convenient online portal.

In total, hundreds of union members and their families were able to better navigate some of the complicated systems and bureaucratic barriers to getting the services they needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Michigan State University’s Labor Education Program (LEP) 

Michigan State University’s Labor Education Program (LEP), as part of the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, brings together University faculty and Union leadership to provide education and training for union leaders and members. Since 1956, the LEP’s  nationally known programs have provided the vehicle for a real world focus on the concerns of working people. Click here to view LEP’s new labor resources website.

Wayne State University’s Labor Studies Center

The Labor Studies Center (“Labor@Wayne”) is a comprehensive labor and employment educational extension center that is dedicated to improving the lives of working people while contributing to an organization’s economic success. The Foundation provides scholarships to their Labor School, a two-year online certification program to develop crucial labor knowledge and leadership skills.

University of Michigan Labor Center

The newly re-established U of M Labor Center provides an important source of research and information on unions and the changing workforce for students, scholars, policymakers and the public. It also empowers traditionally under-represented constituencies in labor by holding space to discuss issues that uniquely affect them and providing opportunities for leadership skill-building.