Joel Dillard & Associates

Representing Working People

Three steps to take control of life at work.

There are three basic steps workers can take to gain control of their work.

  1. Exercise their free speech rights. Workers have the right to speak out---and act out.
  2. Bring democracy to the workplace. Workers can get a seat at the table in determining their own wages and working conditions if they form a democratic organization and elect representatives.
  3. Take ownership of the work. With hard work, workers may be able to buy out their boss entirely. Then the workers will get to keep the profits of the business, and can take complete control of their own working conditions.

Like rungs in a ladder, each of these steps leads to the next. By exercising free speech rights, workers learn courage and gain power in cooperation and support of other. This gives workers the know-how to bring true democracy to the workplace. Through this experience, workers grow much better at cooperating and working together with each other. And in the bargaining process, workers learn how the business is run and where profit comes from. This will ultimately make it easier to transition into ownership, and the workers will be able to run the business together.

Of course, it isn't always a direct ascent, and not everyone wants to climb all the way to the top. For this reason, perhaps it is better to think of these as phases than steps.

Many workers take one or two steps and decide that they are content. Some are fortunate enough that they can skip a step or two. In fact, there are some who think that step 2 should be skipped, as it has the danger of creating an institution with interests in diverting the continued progress of the employees. I think anyone who can skip the second step certainly should, but there are many occassions when the second step is really essential, and I tend to think that union certification can still have significant benefits.


This site is for general information only, and creates no attorney-client relationship. Sending inquiries to the firm does not create an attorney-client relationship.

To get legal advice about an employment law, labor law, federal employee law, whistleblower protection, labor unions, worker cooperatives, immigration, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, severance, or any related question, you must first have a conflicts check by the firm. We represent exclusively workers, worker cooperatives and unions, but we still must check for potential conflicts of interest, for example, between a supervisor and employee.

First provide the firm with your name, and the name of the person you are making claims against - and no other information. This allows the firm to check for such conflicts of interest. Until you receive confirmation from an attorney that there is NO CONFLICT, none of the information you provide will be considered confidential. Do NOT provide any confidential information before we have asked you to do so.

Once we have confirmed there is no conflict, you may discuss your matter with the attorney in a little more detail, and, if requested, make an appointment. If at your appointment the firm accepts you as a client in writing, then the attorney will be able to provide you with employment law advice.