September 25, 2023


Future Depends on What You Do

Speaking for justice in the workplace

Jane Chung and Alex Catsoulis want their new communications company to be every single bit as pro-labor as they are.

The pair final thirty day period introduced Justice Speaks, a New York-based mostly business that offers strategic interaction, marketing campaign strategy and media relations providers, setting up off their parallel careers campaigning for workers’ rights prior to their specialist paths crossed at their previous jobs.

“When we discuss with potential purchasers, [Alex] constantly states, ‘Your fights are our fights.’ Which sounds like a extremely cliche matter for consultants to say. It appears awesome on a slide or in some form of advertising proposal, but it is true in many ways for us,” Chung said, pointing not only to their values, but also to their lifetime activities and identities.

“When we’re preventing for the doing work course and employee legal rights, we’re not fighting some abstract combat that we’re not a part of but we’re undertaking out of the goodness of our hearts — we’re battling for our households and communities,” Chung said.

She and Catsoulis fulfilled whilst at the Worker Company as component of the New York-dependent team out of a California-primarily based company.

The women of all ages discovered their way into occupations in arranging through diverse paths. Catsoulis worked at the California Labor Federation and the AFL-CIO. Chung’s job spanned from working at General public Citizen, as effectively as on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign, soon after commencing her put up-higher education vocation at Facebook.

Chung joked the do the job she does now is, in component, to “pay penance” for her time at the tech huge.

The two mentioned they’ve found an improve in motion and awareness in the pro-employee area in the tech market and past.

Catsoulis termed it a “different world” for labor arranging compared to the about half-decade in the past when she was working at AFL-CIO. Currently, she stated, she simply cannot even check out Twitter or study the information with no seeing a further group of staff unionizing, from Amazon warehouses and Apple outlets to people in Starbucks and Trader Joe’s.

A single of the teams Justice Speaks is doing work with is the Athena Coalition, a group of regional and countrywide corporations aiming to control power at Amazon and drive for workers’ legal rights.

Their shoppers also include things like United Academics Los Angeles, the labor union for a lot more than 35,000 community school educators in Los Angeles, as effectively as Detroit Motion, a housing, financial and racial justice team centered on city and point out laws.

A Gallup poll from August uncovered Americans’ guidance of arranged labor is at its maximum level since 1965, with 71 p.c of respondents indicating guidance for labor unions.

An Economic Plan Institute report produced in January showed an uptick in union organizing past calendar year.

The report, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Studies and the Nationwide Labor Relations Board, observed that 200,000 a lot more employees in the U.S. have been represented by a union in 2022 in contrast to 2021, for a overall of far more than 16 million union-represented employees.

Involving October 2021 and September 2022, the Countrywide Labor Relations Board also saw a 53 % enhance in union election petitions, the maximum solitary-calendar year improve since 2016, in accordance to the very same report.

“The labor motion is so encompassing to all these social justice fights that a great deal of folks are interested in now, particularly young people today. Even climate justice is at the forefront proper now,” Catsoulis explained.

“I believe the labor movement, as significantly as it is nonetheless in the earlier in some means, has the means to seriously propel youthful people today — and much more people today in this day and age — into the movement mainly because it genuinely does sort of address all the bases,” she added.

Provided the increase in arranging, Chung and Catsoulis stated they are wanting to fill a hole they see in the sector by launching a agency operate and led by two ladies of color.

“It’s a little globe, the progressive communications market, but it is remarkably missing in a good deal of ways. And that’s kind of what we aim to handle with starting Justice Speaks. First and foremost, there’s a serious dearth of numerous voices primary communications,” Chung reported.

At the minute, Justice Speaks is thoroughly operate by its two founders. As they increase, the founders reported they are leading with their values and won’t jump to include any new employees devoid of getting ready to give the working problems they assist their customers advocate for.

“The way that we want to run our organization is not driven by metrics, like amount of staff or income, but truly by values. And so, if and when we do develop, I feel we’ll be fully commited to guaranteeing that we’re in a position to be able to do that to genuinely nurture and mature expertise,” Chung reported.

Catsoulis reported she needs her and Chung’s vision to be “uncompromising.”

“I come to feel like females of color always have to variety of bend or sacrifice matters to form of in shape in a mold, and I don’t want Jane and I to do that. I do not want us to have to acquire on probably a company customer or another person we truly never believe that in due to the fact we experience we have to get a lot more income in get to aid a bunch of different men and women,” Catsoulis explained.

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