On Tuesday, February 21st, JWJ held its 21st Annual Faith Labor Breakfast: Organize, Unite, Win!
In 2023, we returned to St. Andrew Catholic Church for the first time since 2020. Organized by the Faith Labor Committee and opened by Rev. Chris Dela Cruz, Associate Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church and Fr. Dave Zegar, Pastor, St. Andrew Catholic Parish, we began with a Land Acknowledgement and Interfaith Prayers including Rabbi Ariel Stone to ground and open the event.
Next, we moved into hearing from workers organizing across the community – moral struggles for dignity and fairness. Workers shared stories of being underpaid, overworked, understaffed and who, through solidarity and unity, are winning back power in the workplace!
We were honored to be joined by Arthur Pratt of Starbucks Workers United, Charlotte Garner of AFSCME Local 88 at Central City Concern, Nat Glitsch who spoke about Growing Seeds Workers Union, and New Seasons Labor Union. Workers shared their stories of great courage and determination as they and their colleagues work to create conditions beyond a status quo which is failing them. Several workers spoke about the fact that not a year ago, forming a union was unknown territory, but they started the essential work of a union by joining together to collectively confront workplace issues.
The Faith Labor Committee was honored to host as Keynote Speaker, Oregon Labor Commissioner Christina Stephenson. A longtime lover of math and statistics, Stephenson’s speech drew on mathematical concepts as a metaphor. She learned early on about the concept of multiplicity – that she could achieve more through getting others to join. The concept of multiplicity, when applied to organizing for social justice, is “solidarity” by another name. The common denominator that working people share is that the math of the global economy has failed to deliver prosperity in a very, very rich world. But we are stronger together and greater than the sum of our parts. When we organize and unite, we can win: we can all achieve a solidarity dividend! You can check out her full speech at the link below.
Faith Labor committee members and friends Hannah Sloane-Barton (Co-chair), CJ Alicandro, Joel Glick provided musical interludes and sing-a-longs that called us to our feet.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who made this event and our everyday work possible! Whether you purchased a ticket, organized members to attend and/or share with us, or stepped up to volunteer your time or services to make this event and many others a success– thank you! Thank you for being the base of support that keeps this movement running!
Check out our live Twitter thread here! If you are interested in joining an upcoming committee meeting, send a message to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a worker in struggle, we’d love to invite you for solidarity!
Please spend some time listening to Commissioner Stephenson’s speech, below!