Local News

Unknown shooter ‘opened fire’ into nonprofit’s office

Warehouse Workers for Justice in Joliet surpassed fundraising goal for repairs in 7 days

In the week since “an unknown shooter opened fire” into the Joliet office of the Warehouse Workers for Justice, the nonprofit was able to raise the funds for repairs – and then some.

The goal was $3,000 to pay for the boards that protects the space until the glass is replaced, a new front door and the installation of security cameras.

WWJ did not previously have security cameras, Roberto Clack, executive director of WWJ said.

“But that won’t be the case moving forward,” Clack said.

As of Monday evening, $4,305 was raised. Clack said WWJ received approximately 75 individual donations.

Anything above the cost of repairs will go into WWJ’s emergency outreach fund for services such as legal or rent assistance, Clack said.

“This was probably the most challenging year on record for our organization,” Clack said. “Warehouse workers were the second hardest hit by COVID infections. It was more dangerous than going out to a restaurant or a party or a school. We definitely had workers who got sick and infected. Some of them passed away. But like a lot of other nonprofits, we’re just happy that we could be around and do our best to support the community.”

Clack said he estimates five bullets entered the WWJ office at 3:15 p.m. July 12. Clack said the office was empty. Everyone was at an all-staff meeting in Chicago, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began, he said.

“We were just extraordinarily lucky that no one was there,” Clack said. “We’re grateful to be safe.”

On a typical day, five people might be in the office, Clack said. Others do outreach inside the actual warehouses, he added.

According to its website, WWJ is Warehouse Workers for Justice fights “for stable, living-wage jobs in warehouses and distribution centers.” WWJ teaches workers about labor rights and how to enforce their rights as well as how to organize to “fight for public and private policies” that promote fair wages and full-time work in warehouses, the website said.

Clack said the 501(c)(3) organization was formed in 2008 and opened its Joliet office in 2009.

“We’ve been around more than a decade now,” Clack said. “We’re just deeply appreciative of all the support we’ve gotten over the last decade. We definitely feel like we’re part of the community.”

For more information, visit ww4j.org.