Covid-19 Response and Aid

The Labor Institute is currently engaged with the Covid-19 crises focusing on the health and safety of essential workers. We have provided support for immigrant worker centers, Native American tribes, and unions.

The Labor Institute assisted the Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health Safety and Environmental Education to provide support through funding from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for immigrant worker centers fighting COVID-19 health and economic impacts.

We raised private foundation money to support organizations in New York City affiliated with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read more, click here.

Building Health and Safety Capacity

We develop and design educational programs on occupational health and safety for trade unions, immigrant workers centers and Native American tribes.

Our partners include Make the Road New York, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, City University of New York, the United Steelworkers of America and the Communications Workers of America.  Our programs are conducted in Spanish and English with a major focus on HAZMAT and OSHA train the trainer programs.

For more details, click here.

Runaway Inequality Education Project

We are developing a new national network of lay trainers who conduct workshops on how runaway inequality impacts our economy, our society and our environment.

With over 500 volunteer trainers, we seek to provide an educational framework that links together often fragmented and isolated social justice organizations. Our goal is to build a 30,000 strong educational infrastructure for a new economic justice movement, modeled after the American progressive populists of the 1880s and 1890s.

Current partners include the Communications Workers of America, NJ Educational Association, United Steelworkers, United Automobile Workers, Citizen Action NY, American Postal Workers Union, Wilmington, North Carolina, AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, and several Indivisible groups around the country.

(For more information and curricula in Spanish and English, visit

Environmental Education and Policy

We provide training on the economy and the environment that brings together environmental activists and workers in hazardous industries.

By focusing both on job insecurity and key environmental issues like climate change and cancer-causing chemical production, we create safe spaces in which working people and environmental activists can have productive discussions and develop common policy solutions. Our partners include the United Steelworkers, the Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club, the BlueGreen Alliance, the Washington State Labor Council, the Oregon AFL-CIO, the NJ Work Environment Council and the Cancer Free Economy Network.

For more details, click here.

Publications and Articles

Les Leopold

READ Les’s Substack newsletter. Click here!

NEW! Wall Street’s War on Workers: How Layoffs and Greed are Destroying the Working Class and What to Do About It (Chelsea Green, 2024)

Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice (Labor Institute Press, 2015)

How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour: Why Financial Elites Get Away With Siphoning Off America’s Wealth (John Wiley and Sons, 2013)

The Looting of America: How Wall Street’s Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It(Chelsea Green, 2009)

The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi (Chelsea Green, 2006)

Address to the Great Lakes International Joint Commission, 1995 (click here to read)