Organizing for Access to Good Jobs

Metro IAF leaders know that the root cause of community violence, mass incarceration, and neighborhood blight is the lack of living wage jobs and the training required to access those jobs for thousands of unemployed and underemployed residents in the communities where we organize. Metro IAF has a long tradition of organizing to address this issue: Winning the First Living Wage Ordinance in Baltimore, leading to a national movement; Creating Hiring and Training Requirements for DC residents on Publicly Financed Economic Development Projects, including the Nationals’ baseball stadium; and pushing Duke University to be a Living Wage Employer. Now, Metro IAF is breaking new ground on green infrastructure, small manufacturing, and anchor institution jobs strategies that it seeks to replicate across its network.

WIN Delivers Jobs Agreement; National Model For EPA Waste Water

Clean-Ups. Washington Interfaith Network won a Memorandum of Agreement between DC Water, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to invest $90 million for Green Infrastructure and local hiring of DC residents on its massive $2 billion EPA-mandated storm water clean up project. Using a mix of green and gray infrastructure will create 190+ additional living wage jobs. WIN also won a 51% local DC residents hire agreement, affecting thousands of jobs annually on all DC Water work—both green, gray and regular maintenance jobs. VICTORY OF REGIONAL AND NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE: DC Water is one of the earliest and most advanced EPA- mandated storm water consent decrees. A strong labor-citizen alliance is organizing and winning to make sure that new work is created, the new jobs are living wage jobs, and the poorest communities in DC, including returning citizens, unlock the opportunities in this emerging industry. Metro IAF wants to expand this organizing to other cities/suburbs where it has strong broad-based organizations (Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicagoland, Milwaukee, etc.) and where there is an EPA mandate to clean-up storm water waste; 750 jurisdictions across the US have EPA storm water clean up mandates.


BUILD Secures Jobs Partnership with Johns Hopkins University to address the systemic issues underlying the unrest in Baltimore by launching the BUILD One Baltimore Campaign Making Two Cities One. President Ron Daniels of Johns Hopkins University committed to developing a large-scale employment strategy with BUILD to hire returning citizens and residents living in distressed neighborhoods. BUILD’s jobs movement, Turnaround Tuesday, serves primarily ex-offenders with job readiness training and connections to employment. Read Baltimore Sun, Business Journal, Financial Times articles.


DuPage United in suburban Chicago Launched Career Connect Metro West, to Connect and Train Unemployed and Underemployed People to quality living-wage jobs in Chicago’s western suburbs. DuPage County alone has an estimated 50,000 working poor who need a way to be prepared for and connected to quality living wage careers in growing employment sectors that lack qualified candidates for existing openings. Career Connect’s first effort will be to target the mid-skills jobs gap in the local manufacturing sector. Over the next 10 years, DuPage County’s 1,700 manufacturers will need to replace 9,000 retiring employees. Manufacturing companies have turned down business due to lack of skilled workers. Starting pay for these jobs are $12-15 per hour and with on the job training employees receive about $20 per hour within a year or two years.