Low-Wage Workers Went on Strike. Now What?

Low-Wage Workers Went on Strike. Now What?

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 17 1:00 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 17 2:15 PM (Eastern)

Room: 141

More and more low-wage workers have started organizing and have gone on strike in the last few years. People who would never have considered themselves “labor activists” are now protesting outside their local Walmart or clicking “like” on the President’s call for a higher minimum wage. As alt-labor movements grow up, how do we measure their success? What does winning look like for these workers and their communities?

Moderator

Nathan Henderson-James

Nathan Henderson-James

I’ve been around community organizing since 1993 when my best friend recruited me as the newest staff member for the Twin Cities affiliate of the aggressive membership-based organization of low- and moderate-income families called ACORN. I finished my tenure there as the organization’s first real online campaigner and have been working since then to help community organizers deeply integrate online tool into their everyday organizing work. I helped (along with a group of other much more talented people) create the www.occupytheboardroom.org site during the rise of OWS.

Outside of my commitment to organizing, I love to travel, I enjoy taking pictures, some of which kinda look good, I like hiking, and I’m a giant fan of Major League Soccer (a phrase rarely heard or written). Follow me on Twitter at @nathanhjb.

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Panelists

Bene’t Holmes

Bene’t Holmes

Bene’t Holmes is a single mom who works for Walmart in Chicago, Illinois. She bravely went out on strike and traveled across the country to Arkansas to attend Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting. She originally got involved with the Organization United for Respect at Walmart after she experienced problems with Walmart’s pregnancy policy. Bene’t requested light duty work while pregnant. She was denied small accommodations and later that day she experienced a miscarriage in the store. She is now a vocal member of OUR Walmart and Respect the Bump, as she continues to stand up for just work policies for expectant mothers and all Walmart workers.


Dolly Martinez

Dolly.Martinez

Dolly Martinez is the campaign organizer with the Retail Action Project, She started as a member and is the lead organizer in the Zara campaign. RAP is an organization of retail workers dedicated to improving opportunities and standards in the retail industry. As a Brooklyn native Dolly is also an artist who uses her art to deliver empowering messages to her peers and the community. In partnership with RAP, Dolly successfully organized the Utrecht/Blick art supply store where she worked and now the store’s workers are in contract negotiations. Dolly is also on the committee board for Queer survival Economies and the young workers group and has spoken in major events such as NextUp Young Workers Summit, at Debt-free collage conferences and Netroots Nation. Dolly looks forward to organizing many more stores and fighting for improved working conditions across the retail industry.

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Shyquetta McElroy

Shyquetta.McElroy

Shyquetta, an organizer for WJN, has been dedicated to the movement for social justice for the last four years. She started as an activist speaking out against the disparities of being a single parent of two and trying to survive on low-wage jobs. She loves talking to folks and bringing them along to share their story with the world. Shy is currently working on the Fight for 15 campaign with fast food and retail workers, and she loves it.

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Lenore Palladino

LenorePalladino

Lenore Palladino serves as the Vice President of Policy and Outreach at Demos, spearheading a campaign-oriented approach to Demos’ issue advocacy work. Prior to Demos, Lenore was the Organizing Director at MoveOn.org, leading all facets of the organization’s campaigning. She helped set MoveOn’s strategic priorities and mobilized millions of Americans to participate in campaigns on crucial issues, including voting rights and democracy reform, economic justice, the 2008, 2010, and 2012 election cycles, health care, and women’s rights. She has led multiple collaborations with organizations throughout the progressive movement.

Other sessions: Domestic Workers: Leaders for a New Economy

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