First Workers' Corporation Records
An Inventory of the Collection
The First Workers’ Day Labor Center is an employment program that facilitates matching qualified day laborers with employers who need them in Austin, Texas. The First Workers' Corporation was a nonprofit organization under contract with the City of Austin that oversaw the operations of the First Workers' Center. City Council Resolution 990722-64 created the corporation in July 1999, established bylaws and appointed the initial Board of Directors to oversee the corporation. The Center was developed in response to problems with Austin's original day labor program located at the corner of Cesar Chavez and San Antonio Street.
Labor Connections, operated by HOBO under contract with the City of Austin, officially opened at the corner of Cesar Chavez and San Antonio Street on August 1, 1993. In April of 1997, management of the program was transferred to Austin/Travis County Mental Health and Mental Retardation (now Health and Human Services Department). In that same year the Day Labor Task Forces was created to review the day labor program and develop recommendations for improving its safety and program operations. The Task Force evaluated day labor programs from throughout the country, conducted surveys of day laborers and employers and met with key players in the city to collection information on possible improvements. In summer of 1998 the Day Labor Implementation Plan Work group was established to begin implementation of the Task Force's recommendations. The new day labor program opened its doors for operation on August 16, 1999. The new name, First Workers' Center, was meant to reflect the programs change in focus to employment, not social services.
In the end of 2001 the possibility of dissolving the First Workers' Corporation in favor of a City of Austin funded and administered day labor program with an advisory board was discussed. The new policy and advisory board would be absolved of administrative responsibilities; this would cut down on the need of an accountant, payroll system and legal services thus saving the City money. On January 1, 2002 the City of Austin Health and Human Services Department assumed management responsibility for the day labor program and City Council established the Day Labor Community Advisory Committee (Resolution No. 021205-57) to assist with addressing neighborhood concerns, recommend methods to facilitate more employers utilizing the day labor workforce and access the sustainability of the day labor program.
The First Workers' Corporation records consists mainly of documents related to the organization, including financial and administrative records, reports, meeting minutes and support materials and operational records. The Administrative Records series (1999-2000) includes bylaws, articles of incorporation, the contract with the City of Austin, policy and procedure documents and the evaluation criteria. The Operational Records series (1999-2001) consists of surveys of the workers, incident reports, neighborhood concerns and information about the ESL program run by Austin Community College. In addition to operational reports submitted to City Council from the Corporation, the Reports series (1997-2001) includes reports written by day labor specialist Lynn Svensson assessing the original day labor program and then evaluating the first few month of the new day labor program, First Worker' Center. The Board of Directors series (1999-2001) contains meeting minutes and supporting materials document the day to day operations of the Center and includes Treasurer's report, Organizer's report, neighborhood and worker's complaints, incidents related to the Center, staffing and any policy or procedure changes.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
Transferred to the Austin History Center by the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department that now manages the First Workers' Center.
First Workers' Corporation Records (AR.2012.019). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: COA transfer
Donation Date: 2012
Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2012.
The organization of the records within the original folders was largely maintained, but the processors created the overall arrangement.
Detailed Description of the Collection