Jobs with Justice- May 2018 Partner Spotlight
Photo: Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice
Everyone deserves the freedom to earn a decent living and a have brighter future. Yet millions of individuals today—in particular women, people of color and immigrants—aren’t able to support their families and afford basic necessities because the economy no longer works for workers. But when working people do come together in union, they achieve a fair return on their work. By negotiating collectively, men and women establish standards that improve conditions for people across communities and industries.
Jobs With Justice
is a national network expanding people’s ability to come together to improve their workplaces, their communities, and their lives. We create solutions to the problems working people face by leading campaigns, changing the conversation and moving labor, community, student and faith voices to action. With our network of 36 labor coalitions in 22 states across the country, we’re building a movement to ensure more of us can earn a fair return on our work. Jobs With Justice advocates for family-sustaining wages, and fair, safe, and equitable policies and workplaces. We win real change at the national and local levels by challenging corporate greed and demanding an economy that works for all.
Sarita Gupta is the executive director of Jobs With Justice and the co-director of Caring Across Generations
, and a nationally recognized expert on the economic, labor and political issues affecting working people across all industries. She is a key leader and strategist in the progressive, labor, economic justice, women’s, and caregiving movements, and in 2016, she received the Open Door Award of the Frances Perkins Center. Her background mirrors that of Perkins’, as well as her commitment to improving the lives of others. Like Perkins, Sarita attended Mt. Holyoke College with a focus on science coursework. However, her career path took a pivotal turn when she began exploring socioeconomic barriers to women’s healthcare, and gained greater exposure to student activism.
Under Sarita’s direction, alongside co-director Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Caring Across Generations is spearheading a national movement to transform the way we care in this country. By harnessing the power of social action, social media and storytelling, the organization seeks to spark connections across generations and strengthen family and caregiving relationships. As a member of the “sandwich generation,” Sarita is grappling with and speaks to the care issues facing more and more Americans,
balancing caring for young children with caring for aging parents.
Elder and child care are becoming critical issues. Our current care system, is costly, broken and unfair. Too often caregivers, who predominantly are women, have to leave their jobs because the burden of family care is not affordable or sustainable. And they often neglect their own health and personal needs. We’re testing out a bigger solution to the care dilemma with Home Care for All in Maine. In November 2018, voters will have the opportunity to pass the first universal home care program in the nation. Home Care for All will ensure all Maine families can access the care they need, invest in care jobs, support family caregivers, and keep vital members of our communities at home. We believe that Frances Perkins would approve of our efforts to dream big in creating programs that address working people’s needs in this era.
coworker.org- April 2018 Partner Spotlight
Coworker.org, Co-Founders and Co-Directors, Jess Kutch and Michelle Miller sharing tools to empower to today’s workers.
Coworker.org is helping to build a labor movement for the 21st century — one that is open to all workers and is powered by data and technology. When workers come together as a digital community and start to discuss the challenges they are facing inside a particular industry or company, they can surface problems that may not be so obvious to one individual worker.
In its four years, Coworker.org has been used by nearly half a million workers participating in hundreds of campaigns on issues ranging from aggressive sales goals, to dress codes, to sexual harassment, to wage theft. For example, employees at a major U.S. retailer led a Coworker.org effort to boost wages in their stores. Through their effort on Coworker.org, they recruited co-workers across the country, generated national media coverage, and enlisted support from elected leaders and community groups. After several months, the employer announced they were boosting wages by 10 to 15 percent in stores across the country. The employees at that retailer have gone on to launch new Coworker.org efforts and are currently urging their employer to commit to raising the wage floor to $15 per hour at stores across the United States.
Over the next few years, we aim to grow the number of workers using our platform and increase the rate of change in workplaces throughout the United States, Canada, and other regions. We believe that, by 2020, it will be possible to have 10 to 15 percent of the workforce of every Fortune 500 company engaging in leadership and advocacy on our platform. This representation would create a power center for workers to identify problems and advocate for improvements across workplaces and industries. If we are successful, we believe it will lead to a true shift in the checks and balances that are currently present in our economy.