Erin Johansson of JWJ inspires and educates at WNDC’s first ever “Table Talk”

On Thursday, January 25, 2024, Jobs with Justice Research Director Erin Johansson inspired and educated the audience at the inaugural “Table Talk” organized by the Women’s National Democratic Club. Erin is also the coordinator of the Labor Rights Action Network (LRAN) and a member of the DC LERA board.

WNDC’s Table Talks are designed to bring experts from various walks of life to speak to WNDC members in an informal and interactive discussion. In April, WNDC’s second Table Talk featured Barbara Briggs, who spoke about moving from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Erin’s remarks focused on how she got her start in the labor justice field and on the history and work of Jobs With Justice. Jobs With Justice was established in Miami in 1987. Some of the organization’s aims are to stand up for the rights of working people, support workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively, and fight to secure family wage jobs. In addition to the national office, JWJ consists of a network of local organizations advocating for worker rights in communities throughout the United States. In 2012, JWJ merged with American Rights at Work, another worker advocacy organization.

After her remarks, Erin led the audience to discuss work and workplace rights. She observed that one thing we all have in common is that we have a job. The first jobs held by audience members included restaurant busgirl, newspaper writer, call center customer service representative, seamstress, housecleaner, Ma Bell operator, factory worker, and union organizer.


DC LERA submits 4 successful panel proposals for LERA-ILERA-FMCS in NYC (June 2024)

In 2024, the ILERA 20th World Congress, the LERA 76th Annual Meeting, and the FMCS 2024 National Labor-Management Conference will all be held simultaneously in New York City from June 26-30, 2024.

The Washington, DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association will be well-represented at the ILERA – LERA – FMCS conference next year, having submitted four successful chapter proposals for consideration by the conference committee.

DC LERA Board Member Jeff Wheeler will be moderating two panels featuring international members of the board, including Marcos Fraile Pastor of the Spanish Embassy, Yasmin Hilpert of the German Embassy, and Benoit Sevcik of the French Embassy. The titles of these two panels are:

  • Panel 1: The Role of the Labor Attaché: Diplomacy, Research, Analysis and Dialogue (LERA)
  • Panel 2: Hot Topics and Trends for Labor Attachés: US, National, and Global (LERA)

DC LERA member Stacy Hickox will be moderating DC LERA’s panel US and International Perspectives on Sexual Harassment in Organized and Unorganized Workplaces (LERA). This panel will reprise DC LERA’s successful 2023 webinar with an Asia Pacific twist.

Anannya Bhattacharjee of AFWA and Anna Lee Fos Tuvera of ITUC-Asia Pacific will also participate in a panel organized by Emily E. LB. Twarog on Building Women’s Union Leadership Globally through Education (ILERA). This panel will also feature Pinar Ozcan and  Stephanie Fortado and will be moderated by DC LERA President Tequila Brooks.

DC LERA member and President of the African Labour Law Society (ALLS) Pamhidzai Bamu will moderate DC LERA’s panel Constructing and Deconstructing Racism: Tales of Work and Life in Virginia, Europe, South Africa, South America, and the U.S. (ILERA) This panel will be a reprise of DC LERA’s successful 2022 webinar with the addition of a Latin American perspective and deeper discussion of affirmative measures to address racism in the workplace and society. In addition to all of the original speakers, the panel will feature Professor Mariela Noles Cotito of the Universidad del Pacifico (Lima, Peru).

Congratulations to the submitters, moderators, and speakers! We also wish success to everyone in the DC area who is submitting an individual paper proposal.

Tequila Brooks, Pamhidzai Bamu, and Emily E. LB. Twarog will be working to raise funds to assist speakers in traveling from outside the U.S. to the conference in New York next June. Please email if you would like to make a contribution or have an idea about funding sources.

DC LERA votes to adopt Early Career, Nonprofit, and In Transition membership categories

At its February 22, 2023 board meeting, DC LERA voted to adopt three new reduced price membership categories. These include:

  • Early Career Member – $20. This includes recent graduates, apprentices, and those who have switched to a new career.
  • Nonprofit / Not for Profit Member – $20. This includes nonprofit employees and people who work for not for profit organizations like trade unions or on Capitol Hill (for example).
  • In Transition Member – $20. This includes jobseekers who are unemployed or underemployed.

In adopting these new membership categories, the Board of Governors hopes to make membership in DC LERA accessible to a broader section of the Washington, DC area community working in or interested in pursuing workplace-related fields.

Click here to join DC LERA!

Erin Johansson of Jobs with Justice joins DC LERA Board

At its February 22, 2023 board meeting, DC LERA approved the nomination of Erin Johansson to serve as a member of the DC LERA Board of Governors.

Erin brings a wealth of experience to her role. In addition to managing the research program of Jobs with Justice Education Fund, she coordinates the Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN), which brings together scholars and practitioners to build workplace and economic power for working people. She has written numerous publications for Jobs With Justice and American Rights at Work, on topics ranging from labor law, contingent work, the National Labor Relations Board, Walmart, and the broader value of unions to communities. Erin served on the board of national LERA and serves on the editorial board of the Labor and Employment Relations Association’s publication, Perspectives on Work.

We are delighted to have Erin join the Board and look forward to working with her.

DC LERA makes successful transition from Virtual to Live events in 2022

The Washington, DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (DC LERA) benefits from the participation of a very rich community of practitioners, policymakers, academics, and labor attaches from a number of embassies (including France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan) in Washington DC.

In 2022, DC LERA continued to host and co-host several events featuring members of this community – all while making the not-so-easy transition from virtual to live and hybrid events. We organized sessions on the future of work, global labor rights, the gig economy in Europe, labor issues at the USPS, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the legacy of slavery and construction and deconstruction of racism in the US, Europe and South Africa, the history of 925 and equal pay for women in the US, the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, the concept of “dirty work,” and an update on the NLRB.

Our speakers were leading thinkers and practitioners on all of these topics, including Karen Nussbaum of Working America, Lane Windham of the Kalmanovitz Initiative at Georgetown University, Ernie DuBester of the FLRA, Thea Lee of US DOL, Sunnie Rucker-Chang of Ohio State University, Mark Clark of the Kogod School of Business at American University, Randolph McLaughlin of Pace University in New York, Anton Hajjar of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, Rebecca Dixon of the National Employment Law Project, Mark Pearce of the Georgetown Law School Worker Rights Institute, Richard Bock of the NLRB, and Melissa Fisher of the NYU Institute of Public Knowlege.

In addition, we hosted several international experts on workplace issues, including Annamaria Westregård of Lund University, Kgomotso Mufamadi of the University of Johannesburg, Mijke Houwerzijl of Tilburg University Law School, and Roman Kormann of the German Trade Union Federation.

As we transitioned from purely virtual to live, hybrid and some virtual events, we met at the ILO, the Kogod School of Business at American University, and Georgetown Law Center in order to reach out to our publics – especially students. Our partners included the Worker Rights Institute at Georgetown Law School, the American Constitution Society DC Lawyers Chapter, the Workplace Prof Blog, and the African Labour Law Society.

It is the hope of 2022 DC LERA President, Dr. David Jacobs, that we inspired some students to think about the field of labor and workplace relations for their careers – and that our events and activities gave participants and attendees a bit of hope as the pandemic continued to shape our lives.

In 2023, we plan on continuing the DC LERA tradition of bringing professionals and students of all stripes to the table to discuss topical and timely workplace matters.

DC LERA hits the ground running with great in-person event on Nonprofit Union Organizing

DC LERA started 2023 off with a great event organized and moderated by incoming Membership Secretary Ben Kreider, All Workers are Workers: Union Organizing at Nonprofits. The event was held at the Economic Policy Institute. Many thanks to outgoing DC LERA President David Jacobs for organizing all the logistics.

Our guest speakers were Katie Parker and Justin Schweitzer, both of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), International Federal of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70. Both Katie and Justin gave eloquent presentations discussing both the need for and the complexities of organizing workers in nonprofit organizations – not to mention negotiating collective bargaining agreements. An active and engaged audience posed several questions.

Thanks everyone for turning out! Stay tuned for more DC LERA events this year, and please reach out

2023 DC LERA Officers confirmed at January 26 event on Nonprofit Unions

The Washington, DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (DC LERA) confirmed the 2023 DC LERA Officers at its in-person event on January 26, 2023.

Serving in 2023 are:

  • Tequila Brooks, President (2023)
  • Steve Silvia, Treasurer
  • Valentina Ahumada, Recording Secretary
  • Ben Kreider, Membership Secretary

Many thanks to outgoing President David Jacobs, who was at the helm as DC LERA navigated the transition from the Virtual environment back to the Live and Hybrid world. Thanks also to outgoing Recording Secretary Mindy Reiser for her excellent service on the Executive Committee and her ongoing service as a DC LERA Board Member.

Congratulations to the new DC LERA officers! Looking forward to a great 2023. Please reach out to become more active!

In Memorium: Rudy Oswald

The Washington DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (DC LERA) remembers the legacy of Rudy Oswald who passed away September 28, 2022. Rudy was an active member of DC LERA and its parent organization LERA.  He served as DC LERA President in 1972 just prior to becoming the Chief Economist for the AFL-CIO in 1976.  Rudy led the AFL-CIO’s economics and research efforts for 20 years, influencing multiple generations of union researchers. He led national LERA as president in 1980. Rudy earned his Master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Economics from Georgetown University.  He actively participated in DC LERA events even through the pandemic when we moved to all virtual meetings.  DC LERA remembers Rudy’s soft spoken but sharp analysis and will miss his presence.