Some highlights from 2023:
We reached our end-of-year fundraising campaign goal! As of January 4, 2024, we raised $33,804. This is a huge accomplishment! Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped out! Meeting our fundraising goals allows us to expand our scope within other teams.
In 2023, EWOC advanced over 150 graduates of the Foundational Training Program, a total of 480 participants, as well as 49 EWOC Fellows Program participants; and we offered the first of many Foundational Trainings in Spanish! We also saw 14 successful union drives among approximately 333 active campaigns. In order to keep up with these numbers, we’re multiplying our reach with local EWOC chapters popping up in Denver; Austin, Texas; St. Louis; Pittsburgh; and other cities from coast to coast. Read here for more about our organizing wins in 2023.
We’re also extremely excited to introduce you to two new EWOC staff members: Ru Mehendale, who has been hired as our distributed organizer/volunteer coordinator, and Grant West, who will coordinate EWOC’s ever-growing tech systems.
Ru hails from Somerville, Massachusetts, with a background in public transit research, data viz, book publishing and grassroots legislative organizing. They joined EWOC in the spring of 2022 after trying to organize their last workplace. As a volunteer with EWOC, Ru has co-led the Case Management Team over the last year and helped manage EWOC’s data infrastructure as part of the Data Team. They’re really excited to help grow EWOC by empowering current volunteers and to scale EWOC’s efforts through coalition building! In their free time, you can catch Ru painting weird animals, playing fetch with cats, and demolishing walls in their co-op.
Grant has been with EWOC since March 2020 and started working on our digital infrastructure shortly afterward. He has collaborated heavily with our Intake, Case Management, External Organizing, Volunteer Engagement, and Training Teams to design tech systems that maximize the impact and effectiveness of activities. Outside of EWOC, he has worked as an educator, an analytics engineer, and a data infrastructure consultant.
Upcoming Events 🗓
ZOOM Event: Author Talk with Hamilton Nolan | New Labor Book Series #15
February 8, 2024, 5–6:30 p.m. ET / 2–3:30 p.m. PT
Join Siena Chiang and acclaimed labor journalist Hamilton Nolan to discuss his new book, “The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor,” which is a timely, in-depth, and vital exploration of the American labor movement and its critical place in our society and politics. Everyone who joins the conversation gets a free copy of his book! Register here.
EWOC Event: The Importance of Building Multiracial Organizing Campaigns
February 12, 2024, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
Please join us for a critical discussion on race and labor organizing, facilitated and paneled by experienced worker organizers. The focus will be on, but not limited to distributed organizing. Register here.
The EWOC Fellows Program is starting a new cohort this February 22 with Ellen David Friedman. Over the course of six weeks, workers from a variety of workplaces and campaigns discuss specific challenges and assess campaigns together. It is an invaluable opportunity for workers to hone organizing skills, identify and develop leadership among coworkers, and win a majority in their campaigns. Whether you are early in the process or further along, this space offers support in making strategic decisions and connects individual campaigns to the broader labor movement. One participant’s review: “I went from downloading a bunch of information about what organizing is in the Foundational program, to becoming a real organizer in my own right through the EWOC Fellows program.” For more information contact [email protected].
2024 Labor Notes Conference: April 19–21, 2024, Chicago, Illinois
Come join us for a weekend of education, inspiration, and connection at the largest gathering of union activists from all over the country! EWOC representatives will be there. New organizing and first contracts will be featured topics at this exciting conference. EWOC workers and organizers will be leading organizer trainings, and sharing their stories on panels. There will also be plenty of time and opportunity to meet fellow EWOC activists and travelers. Be sure to connect with us! Don’t miss out, register here!
When: Friday, April 19, 9 a.m. CT until Sunday, April 21, 3 p.m. CT
Where: Hyatt O’Hare, Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois
Registration: $185. Get $45 off if registered by March 1. Scholarships are available!
With all of the visible successes in labor last year — major wins for UPS Teamsters, celebrity level attention for the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike, and worker friendly decisions from the NLRB — it was hard not to feel optimistic about the potential increases in last year’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) union density survey numbers, which were released on January 23, 2024.
Although private-sector density did increase slightly by 6%, this boost is dominated by the longer term ongoing decline in public-sector density. Overall, the numbers stayed relatively flat at 10%. There are a few caveats to keep in mind (e.g., union density decreases when more jobs are added to the market); however, there’s clearly a lot more work to be done.
More than ever, we’re seeing the necessity of tapping into our modern industrial workforce, the tech industry. Massive layoffs in gaming this month saw some of these companies eliminate more than 20% of their workforce. It’s important to highlight that union members were untouched by the recent Microsoft purchase of Activision Blizzard because of a unionization neutrality pledge that Microsoft had made before the merger in order to garner support. Public support for unions is at an all time high!
Solidarity, collective bargaining, and unions have more power than we realize in the face of a layoff crisis. If you’re a tech worker, unsure of how to protect your job, you’re not alone. Join EWOC’s tech workers’ campaign!
EWOC in the News! 📰
EWOC Campaign Wins
Let’s take a moment to celebrate!
- Workers at Labyrinth Books file unionization petition, likely to unionize (The Princetonian): Labyrinth Books, an EWOC campaign that just went public with their request for voluntary recognition!
- Board Game Cafe Workers Went on a Quest for a Union and Won (The New York Times): Excited to see Hex Workers United, an EWOC campaign being profiled by the paper of record.
- 5 NYC board game cafés now unionized (The Chief): Hex Workers United, expanding their reach to two more locations in NYC with props to EWOC.
- Congratulations to Planned Parenthood NorCal workers (East Bay DSA on X): With the support of EWOC organizers, 400 workers with Planned Parenthood of Northern California went public on their union drive with SEIU 1021
EWOC Mentions in the Press
- Building worker power from the ground up (The Chief): A robust look at EWOC’s organizing reach at Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Barboncino, and Hex&Co. with illuminating quotes from staffers Megan Svoboda and Patrick Cate.
- Coming Full Circle: Retired Labor Organizers Advise a New Generation of Unionizing Workers (The Indypendent): Wonderful profile of our organization and the work that we do with glowing mentions of our EWOC volunteers and staff members.
- Ten Predictions for Labor in 2024 (In These Times): In this prescient look at what’s in store for labor in 2024, Hamilton Nolan envisions a surge of grassroots organizing and directs fed-up workers to activist orgs like EWOC.
- How Unions Gambled Big on Strikes in 2023 and Won (Business Insider): Another nod to EWOC and the work that we’re doing to get young campaigns off the ground.
- Workers in 20 states miss out on minimum wage increases (Reckon): EWOC mentioned in this article about the wage increases in 22 states with some pretty good sized quotes from our very own Daphna Thier.
- Against Formulas in Organizing: Why Workers and Their Conditions Should Dictate Campaign Plans (Solidarity): An amazing article from EWOC’s Dawn Tefft articulating several great examples and strategic considerations from EWOC campaigns.
World of Work 🌍
- SIGN: Tell The New York Times to Respect Trans* Workers: Petition from New York Times Tech Guild telling CEO Meredith Levien to meet them in good faith at the bargaining table to provide contractual support and protection for trans* employees.
- SIGN: Preserve the Solidarity mural: Petition from UE Research and Education Fund to preserve the famous Solidarity mural at the Chicago United Electrical Workers Union Hall. Read here for more history and information about the mural’s significance.
- A Strike Is Coming to the Nation’s Largest Public University System (Jacobin): Nearly 3,000 faculty members conduct a week-long strike to protest tuition hikes and the administration’s mismanagement of the budget.
- Massachusetts Teachers Illegal Strike Wave Rolls On: Public school workers in Massachusetts are willing to defy a state ban and pay a hefty fine to fight against negotiation stall tactics and strike for better working conditions.
- SEIU Calls for Cease-Fire, Joins UAW and a Shifting Labor Movement: Labor calls for a cease-fire continue to grow among larger unions!
- More than 1,000 workers sign up to unionize at top US Volkswagen plant: Shawn Fain visits the VOC in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to prepare for an upcoming United Auto Workers union drive. Check out our exclusive photo!
New From Our Blog and Other Labor Resources 📚
We’re always energized by stories from the trenches. Natascha Elena Uhlmann shares with us a great new piece about a couple of FedEx workers who made waves at their workplace All It Takes Is One: How an Injury on the Job Spurred Organizing Efforts at FedEx.
For all of you labor history enthusiasts! Check out the following:
- The first episode of the Fragile Juggernaut podcast, a history of the CIO by a crack team including EWOC organizer, Gabriel Winant. Fragile Juggernaut: A CIO Podcast on X
- A Limited-run podcast called Organize the Unorganized, released on a weekly basis by the Center for Work & Democracy and Jacobin. Organize the Unorganized: The Rise of the CIO