Raising Wages is Common Sense Economics (sponsored panel)

Raising Wages is Common Sense Economics (sponsored panel)

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 16 5:15 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 16 6:30 PM (Eastern)

The first step towards fixing income equality is to make sure people understand that the economy isn’t inevitable —  it’s shaped by intentional policy decisions that can and should work for us all. This panel will talk about how our economy functions right now (spoiler alert: it’s broken!) and then we’ll explore ways to put participants in the driver’s seat to start creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1%.

This panel is sponsored by the AFL-CIO.


Rebekah Friend


Born and raised in Arizona. Been member of IBEW Local 387 for 35 years. First woman President and Secretary-Treasurer at Arizona AFL-CIO.

my website


Carmen Berkley


Carmen Berkley currently serves as the Managing Director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Over 15 years of experience, Carmen has served as the President of the United States Student Association, Field Director at NAACP and Choice USA, Digital Strategist at AFSCME, Executive Director at the Generational Alliance, and most recently Director of Civil, Human and Women’s Rights at the AFL-CIO, where she led an effort to develop a racial justice and criminal justice platform for the labor movement, and la large scale effort to build the electoral capacity of people of color and women. Carmen is the a co-host and producer on WPFW FM, shes been seen as a political commentator on MTV and TVOne, and she is frequently quoted and writes for magazines and blogs. She is on the Board of Directors for Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Advocates for Youth and the League of Young Voters.

Other sessions: Women Leading the Labor Movement, Mass Employment, Not Mass Incarceration, Labor and Worker Organizing Caucus

Adam Hersh


Adam Hersh is Senior Economist at the Roosevelt Institute and Visiting Fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for Policy Dialogue. Previously, he was a Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress. Hersh’s expertise includes inequality on economic growth, the U.S. and Chinese economies, and global economic governance. He publishes regularly in both academic and popular venues, and is a frequent commentator on economics and policy issues for a wide range of media outlets. Hersh earned a PhD in economics at UMass Amherst, and a BA at University of Puget Sound.

my website

Marayan Muse


Marayan Muse(pronounced Maryann Moo-say) is from Mogadishu, Somalia, and came to Arizona in 2010. She began working at Sky Harbor Airport in February 2013, and from the beginning she was a union supporter and felt solidarity with her coworkers. Among the issues that she has advocated for are appropriate accommodations for employees observing Ramadan and respect for employees wearing headscarves. Due to the efforts of UFCW Local 99 and her coworkers, and through her leadership, custodians at Sky Harbor Airport won their first collective bargaining agreement this past Monday, July 13th. “I’m thankful for my union family and my brothers and sisters at work,” Marayan says. “I look forward to the opportunities that I have been given.

Maria Neyoy


Maria Neyoy moved to Arizona in 1995, and has held many jobs in the service sector. After experiencing injustices while working for Wal-Mart and Ranch Market, Maria became determined to advocate for her coworkers and herself at her next job—which was at El Super, beginning in 2013. After standing with the union for dignity and respect at the workplace, Maria and a handful of employees received a $3/hour raise, which she believes was an attempt to bribe her into ending her union activism. When that didn’t work, she believes she was singled out for frivolous and arbitrary disciplinary actions at work for her continued union support—and, recently, the National Labor Relations Board agreed, by finding that El Super was illegally retaliating against her, and the company was forced to take back its illegal actions and post notices in its Arizona and California stores acknowledging that its workers have the right to organize without fear of intimidation. “I’m proud to work and provide for my family,” Maria says, “and I will not let the company try to scare my coworkers and I out of standing up for ourselves and into poverty.”

Damon Silvers


Damon A. Silvers is the Director of Policy and Special Counsel for the AFL-CIO. He joined the AFL-CIO as Associate General Counsel in 1997.

Mr. Silvers serves on a pro bono basis as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of New York. Mr. Silvers is also a member of the Investor Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department’s Financial Research Advisory Committee, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Investor Advisory Group.

Mr. Silvers received his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School. He received his M.B.A. with high honors from Harvard Business School and is a Baker Scholar. Mr. Silvers is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude, and has studied history at Kings College, Cambridge University.