History of WILD
WILD was founded in 1986 by a group of women labor activists and labor educators affiliated with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and Boston and Southeastern Massachusetts University.
WILD offered its Summer Institute in 1987, co-sponsored by these five organizations. The first full-time staff person was hired in 1989. Early efforts focused on developing the Summer Institute to support activism through training, recruiting a diverse group of women participants, translation of the curriculum into Spanish (1992) and the development of a comprehensive teacher training program, based on popular education principles (1994).
In 1991, WILD incorporated into an independent non-profit organization, with a Board of Directors recruited from WILD activists and program participants. Recruitment, training, and internal structural changes in the early 1990s enabled WILD to transition from a primarily white-run organization to a multi-racial organization with a multi-racial leadership body.
Over the years, WILD has also broadened its original labor constituency to include non-union working women and activists from community-based organizations that focus on economic justice issues. Building bridges between labor and community groups, increasing the diversity of WILD leadership, volunteers and program participants, and encouraging political and labor organizing remain priorities for WILD.
• Advocate for a vision of a labor movement that includes unions and all other organizations and people who join together to fight for the rights of working people and for social justice;
• Strengthen women’s influence in the Massachusetts labor movement by increasing the number and diversity of women leaders, and providing them with tools to be effective organizers in their unions and organizations;
• Increase democratic participation in the labor movement, particularly among women and people of color;
• Help build a labor movement that operates from an activist rank-and-file perspective;
• Build awareness of and stimulate debate about issues of racism, sexism, class, homophobia and other issues of oppression within unions and the larger labor movement.