Why DC needed a place like DC Jobs with Justice
Former President, Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO
“When I became president [of the Metro Labor Council AFL-CIO], which was in 1982, you had a city that was really dominated by the business community. They had the power up on the Hill, because the Hill ran the District of Columbia. So it was a struggle for labor to get a real foothold in this city and make things happen. We really did not have a place where we could go and have an impact and get things done. Whether it was housing, whether it was wages. A small group of us started talking. How do we work together?
How do we build a movement where people don’t see each individual part, but see the bigger group coming together to work for common issues?
Hence this concept of an institution that could bring us all together, that would be the hub, you would have all these spokes and we were all tied together through that hub. And the hub became DC Jobs with Justice.
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Together with immigrant justice organizations and service providers, faith communities, unions, sex worker organizations, and returning citizens organizations, DC JWJ led the Excluded Workers campaign calling for cash assistance for excluded workers.
In 2005, DC JWJ convened a broad coalition of labor unions, grassroots community organizations, social service providers and faith leaders to pass a law to ensure a base wage of $11.75 per hour for all direct DC employees, and employees of DC contractors.
In 2013, 32BJ and DC JWJ and a coalition of partners worked together to achieve a historic law making District residents eligible for a driver’s license or DC identification card regardless of citizenship or immigration status.