Guest post by Rod Wilson: Is your rent too high?

Tell your legislators today that working families deserve rent control. This winter, we talked to thousands of voters about the need for rent control in our city and state and we heard it over and over again - people are struggling to keep up with rising rents. In nine wards across the city, voters were asked if we should lift the ALEC-backed statewide ban on rent control and over 70% of them said yes.

Now legislators in Springfield are considering a bill that would both repeal the ban and bring rent stabilization to Illinois!
Today, housing advocates, renters, and small landlords are on their way to Springfield to ask for a YES vote on the Rent Control Act (SB 3512), which would lift the ban and regulate how much rent can increase. Will you join them by sending an email to your State Senator and Representative and let them know you support SB 3512?
Lift the Ban's Jawanza Malone talks rent control at United Working Families' First Thursday
If you're tired of ever rising rents, send an email to our lawmakers today and tell them you support the Rent Control Act.
In Solidarity,
Rod Wilson
People United for Action & UWF Delegate

PS -- If you haven't already, please consider making a $15, $25, or $50 donation today to help us keep this work going. We're 100% funded by the dues of working people--we can't do this important work without you!

Guest post by Candis Castillo: Black Women Lead.

Working for Delia Ramirez was my first experience managing an electoral campaign. I saw firsthand how powerful it is to have women of color who come from our movements in leadership on the campaign trail--a role that is traditionally dominated by white men.
As a Black woman coming from the labor movement, I'm passionate about growing the next generation of progressive candidates and campaigners of color. So I couldn't be more excited to invite you to a special conversation on May 19 about the strength and brilliance of Black women and how we build an independent political and social movement centered on our issues.
I hope you'll join us for We Rise Up: How Revolutionary Black Women Lead, a collective conversation with Nina Turner, President of Our Revolution, IL State Representative Litesa Wallace, and IL State Representative Carol Ammons.

WhatWe Rise Up: How Revolutionary Black Women Lead

When: Saturday, May 19, 1-4 pm

Where: Chicago State University Breakey Theater, 9501 S. King Dr, Chicago

Space is limited and registration is required to attend. Register here.

Trusting Black women doesn't mean propping us up as symbols--it means putting us in positions to lead the way. Come be a part of a conversation about how we do it.
In Solidarity,
Candis Castillo, Organizing Director

This May Day, support working-class politics.

This May Day, help us build the political power of working people. Last month, United Working Families slate of first-time Black and Latinx candidates was victorious in the Illinois primaries.

Not only that, but our first class of Movement Leader Fellows--young people of color from the rank and file of our movements--were trained and placed on successful campaigns where they laid the foundation for the organizing we need to do after election day.

United Working Families is building the real working-class political power we need to take back our city and state. But we can't do it without you.

In honor of International Workers Day, please consider donating $25, $50, or $100 today to help us build the progressive, people-powered political alternative we need.

Guest post by Aaron Ortiz: I got my start with UWF.

Three years ago, I participated in the United Working Families Fellowship, where I learned how to knock on doors and have real conversations with my neighbors. It helped me realize that I have what it takes to run for office. Just last month, I fought and won against one of the most powerful machines in the state.
During this past election cycle, UWF took up this mantel again. They hosted a team of talented Movement Leader Fellows, who are considering running for office, working on campaigns, or building independent political organizations in their neighborhoods. This Fellowship program gave me an opportunity to be involved in progressive politics and laid the foundation to my campaign, so I am excited to see where this year's cohort is headed!
That’s why I’ll be joining the UWFellows Graduation Celebration on Saturday. Will I see you there?

WhatMovement Leader Fellow Graduation

When: Saturday, April 14th, 2018 from 3 - 5 pm

Where: Cobra Lounge, 235 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607

*a parking lot is provided, street parking on Fulton is free, and the Ashland green line stop is one block away

Who: Brandon Johnson, Delia Ramirez, Aaron Ortiz, Alma Anaya, and the 2018 class of Movement Leader Fellows

RSVP Here!

4/4

On March 20, voters came out in force for our UWF slate of candidates - Brandon Johnson and Alma Anaya for Cook County Commissioner seats, and Delia Ramirez and Aaron Ortiz for State Representative. They are all first time candidates, young people of color who have been active in movements for education justice, immigrant rights, and more.  It was a stunning upset for machine politics and a progressive victory for working families.

These are not just electoral victories. They are organizing victories. They were seeded by our work in the 2015 Chicago elections and powered by the independent political organizations that grew out of those efforts. And they demonstrate that when we organize, we can win.

Can you donate $25, $50, or $100 today to help us keep up the momentum?

This election, United Working Families knocked on thousands of doors, talked to hundreds of voters, and trained a class of fellows in the skills they need to keep organizing and winning. Our staff and board members ran these grassroots campaigns. And we invested early to make sure that our challengers would have the resources they needed to be competitive.

The result? We went four-for-four with first-time candidates and young people of color. And we’re ready to keep taking on corporate politicians with movement candidates.

We’re ready for 2019, 2020, and beyond. But we can’t do it without you! This can be a warning shot for Rahm Emanuel and his rubber-stamp aldermen, but we can’t do it without you! We're building a challenge to the parties of billionaires. Please consider chipping in today.

STATEMENT: People-Powered Victories a “Warning Shot” for Complacent Dems in 2019, 2020

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on the victories of UWF-endorsed candidates in today’s primary elections: Brandon Johnson (Cook County 1), Delia Ramirez (IL House 4), Aaron Ortiz (IL House 1), and Alma Anaya (Cook County 7). “Today, voters came out in force for movement candidates Brandon Johnson, Delia Ramirez, Aaron Ortiz, and Alma Anaya. The United Working Families slate—all first-time candidates and young people of color—took on big-money interests in the Democratic Party, and won.

“These are not just electoral victories. They are organizing victories. These campaigns were seeded by our work in the 2015 city elections and powered by the independent political organizations that grew out of those efforts.

“And we’re not letting up. United Working Families knocked on thousands of doors, talked to hundreds of voters, and trained a class of activists in the skills they need to keep organizing and winning long after today’s election. We’re ready to take on the complacent Democrats who have let violence, gentrification, and unemployment ravage our communities. We’ve said that parties controlled by billionaires can’t represent working families and tonight’s results show that the voters are with us.

“This matters for 2019. Tonight is a warning shot. Rahm Emanuel and his rubber-stamp aldermen should be very afraid.”

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United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, People United for Action, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.

Weekly canvasses for UWF-endorsed candidates

There's no better way to win elections and build our movement than by having one-to-one conversations with our neighbors. Can you spend a Saturday out talking to voters and helping build a Chicago for the many, not the few? If you are ready to get out and talk to voters about some great movement candidates and the issues they'll help move forward, connect to a weekly canvass! Here are the details for all UWF-endoresed candidates. When can you join us? Canvass for Brandon Johnson Saturdays @ 10 am AND 1 pm at 6610 W North Avenue RSVP here!

Canvass for Delia Ramirez Saturdays @ 10 am at 2559 W Division Ave RSVP here!

Canvass for Alma Anaya Saturdays @ 10 am AND 1 pm 3520 S. Archer Ave RSVP and details here!

 

Canvass for Aaron Ortiz Saturdays @ 10 am AND 1 pm 3520 S. Archer Ave RSVP and details here!

 

We can't wait to hear about your conversations at the doors. Send your photos and stories to info@unitedworkingfamilies.org and check back here to hear about what folks are saying. RSVP today and we'll see you out there!

United Working Families Adds Endorsements to 2018 Candidate Slate

United Working Families adds the endorsement of two more movement candidates, who are ready to build for the many and take on the Rahm, Rauner, and Trump agenda, to our 2018 Candidate Slate United Working Families is pleased to announce additions to their slate of candidates for the 2018 March primaries, including:

Alma Anaya, Cook County Commissioner, 7th District

Alma Anaya grew up undocumented in a working-class Latino household on the Southeast Side of Chicago. Alma worked as Commissioner “Chuy” Garcia's staff for six and a half years, rising to the position of Director of Administration at the young age of 28. She is now running for Cook County Commissioner of the 7th District. She is a leader in Pilsen where she was a member of the local elementary school’s Local School Council and has volunteered countless hours to Mujeres Latinas en Accion, an organization that services survivors of domestic violence – an issue that Alma has experienced and feels passionately must be addressed.

UWF believes Alma is the best choice to fight for working families in Cook County. She will lead the push to strengthen and improve the County Health and Hospital system, making it accessible and affordable to all. As an immigrant, Alma is passionate about protecting immigrant rights, and she will be a strong advocate to keep ICE out of Cook County. She is a people’s candidate and embodies the desire to have representation that is rooted in and accountable to our communities.

 

Aaron Ortiz, State Representative, 1st District

Aaron Ortiz, at 26, is running for State Representative in the 1st District. He is running against the heart of the Chicago machine to represent the state's largest Latinx district. Aaron has been a counselor for hundreds of CPS high school students in Back of the Yards and Gage Park. He's seen the struggle families go through to try to put together enough resources for their children to get into college, which led him to volunteer with United Working Families on an aldermanic campaign and mayoral bid in Gage Park and Back of the Yards in 2015.

Now he's ready to take the fight to Springfield for families of the 1st District. Aaron will be a voice for youth looking to continue their college education by advocating for free college for all, a progressive income tax to properly fund our schools, a $15 minimum wage in our state, and universal healthcare.

We are proud to support these progressive candidates who have a deep roots in communities on the Southwest side. Like our the rest of our 2018 Candidate Slate, these are two first-time candidates of color with the communities ties to fight for the many, not the few.

UWF STATEMENT: No Surprises from Rauner and Trump; Real Question is What Dems Will Do

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address:

“Just one day after Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, here comes Bruce Rauner with more of the same. Slapping a new catchphrase on schemes that help the rich get richer is no bold idea.

“Rauner, like Trump, is just another political boss looking out for his elite friends and donors. No surprises there. The question is, when will the Democrats provide a real alternative?

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, Jesse Ruiz, and Paul Vallas have built their political careers on closing schools, attacking workers, and privatizing public services.

“They’re not alone. Democratic majorities have approved budgets that laid off social workers rather than ask the 1% to pay more. They have resisted bringing elected school boards to CPS and City Colleges. They have presided over sky-high rates of gentrification, violence, and unemployment that have forced tens of thousands of African-Americans out of the city entirely.

“That is why United Working Families has endorsed Brandon Johnson, Delia Ramirez, and Aaron Ortiz in the March 2018 primaries. The time is right for a real alternative to Trump and Rauner. The time is right for a real alternative to Trump and Rauner. If the Democrats and their ultra-rich donors won’t provide it, then it is up to independent political organizations to fill the void.”

###

United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, People United for Action, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.

Meet Political Director Jason Lee!

We are thrilled to welcome Jason Lee as our new Political Director for United Working Families. Jason is no stranger to UWF, having worked as a regional field director for UWF on Chicago's west side in the 2015 city elections. Since that time, he has engaged tens of thousands of AFSCME members in key elections in New Jersey, Nevada, and Ohio. Read more about Jason's story and his return to Chicago in his own words:

I grew up in and around politics in my hometown of Houston, TX. However, for most of my youth and early adulthood, I was pessimistic about the possibilities for meaningful change through electoral politics. I thought that our electoral system had been so co-opted by powerful monied interests that it was no longer a viable area of contestation. I decided that with little will to change the broken system and few institutions strong enough to challenge it, the only workable path forward was to accrue the resources that would give me the power to bend it to my will; to fight fire with fire.

After several years on this path, working within global corporate finance, I came to several stunning realizations. The first was that injustice was global and systemic. As a black American I had been keenly attuned to racial injustice, particularly in the United States, but my travels around the globe made clear that as long as we lived in a class-based political economy, that every marginalized identity group would find themselves carrying the yoke of oppression. I realized the answer wasn’t to re-shift the unjust hierarchy, but rather to work towards a just world for all. Secondly, I learned the meaning of Dr. King’s axiom that the “ends are pre-existent in the means.” If my goal was truly to create a just world, I decided that I could not use unjust means--like accruing wealth to undermine democratic norms--to achieve those ends.

It was this latter realization that led me out of my job and to search for a democratic and just means of change. The first criteria I had was “organization.” I wanted to find a place where real people were organizing for real power. That search led me to Chicago, where the Chicago Teachers Union had just waged and won one of the greatest labor battles of the twenty-first century. I didn’t know much other than I wanted to learn how they did it. On a whim, I flew to the Labor Notes Conference in Chicago, hoping to meet the leaders that I had read about in articles. Fortune was on my side, because after wandering around for hours, I did meet CTU leaders Jesse Sharkey, Norine Gutekanst, Jackson Potter, and Brandon Johnson. From there I was blessed to be invited to the CTU Summer Organizing Institute, where I met the member-activists that continue to inspire me to this day. During that summer, many Chicagoans became inspired by the possibility of a Karen Lewis mayoral run. I was no different. I decided to withdraw from business school to stay in Chicago and help bring the movement to its political fulfillment. While Karen ultimately did not run, the movement (and I) soldiered on behind Chuy Garcia and dynamic west side Aldermanic candidate and educator, Tara Stamps.

Working on the west side, I fell in love with the spirit of the people and my heart broke for the unjust conditions that too many lived under, especially in a city of so much wealth. After the election, I committed myself to continue organizing for change on the west side. I was fortunate to be able to do that work through the vehicle of United Working Families and meet the good folks at SEIU HCII who were equally committed. Emboldened, I also helped create the Greater Austin Independent Political Oranization, a group of dedicated Austin residents willing to take on the power structure to strengthen their neighborhoods. I left Chicago to join AFSCME International, where I had the chance to wage political struggle with public sector workers all over the United States. Now I as I return, I bring those lessons with me, along with my deep appreciation for the people and fight in Chicago and Illinois. Together we will fulfill the political promise of this movement and wield real power to changes the lives of those that inspire our work.

Meet Director of New Organizing Kate Barthelme!

We are thrilled to announce that Kate Barthelme will be joining United Working Families as our first Director of New Organizing! Kate was a founding member of a successful all-volunteer independent political organization in Albany Park following the 2015 elections, and comes to us with almost twenty years of political and organizing experience. Read more about her story in her own words here:

For me, politics has always been personal. After a struggle to find affordable, confidential, and caring healthcare, I started my organizing work at Planned Parenthood, at a time when right-wing attacks on women's healthcare were on the rise. In the ten years I was at Planned Parenthood, we fought again and again to stop bad judicial nominations, budget cuts and restrictions, abstinence-only policies, and the harassment of women trying to access healthcare. With each campaign, we met new leaders and volunteers, won back legislative seats across Illinois, and eventually the presidency. On election night in 2008, we stood in Grant Park and celebrated.

But in the months and years that followed, we realized we had to fight just as hard for basic demands around funding for birth control and access to healthcare for working women and women of color. It taught me that our work is never done and it’s not enough to win on Election Day. In fact, Election Day is when our hard work as organizers starts.

In 2015, I worked with my neighbors in Albany Park to run a local teacher for a city council seat that’s long been held by the Mell political dynasty. We came within a heartbreaking 17 votes of forcing the first runoff the ward has seen in decades. Election Day was over and we started organizing. Together, we’ve built 33rd Ward Working Families and in the last two years, we’ve pushed our Alderman to take her first votes against the Mayor, helped to build an immigration defense coalition, elected five community members to Local School Council seats, and put questions on charter schools and rent control on the ballot.

While these victories have been important, I am most inspired by the opportunities we've created to meet my neighbors in new ways. We’ve had hard and important conversations about what’s wrong in our ward and in Chicago and worked together to find and fight for the solutions we want. It’s been an important reminder for me of how politics is both personal and local.

My day job for the last six years has been as a trainer at the Midwest Academy, a national institute for community organizing, where I’ve worked with a broad range of progressive organizations and coalitions fighting for an even broader range of issues. I’ve helped develop campaign strategies for issues from family medical leave to environmental regulation to employment discrimination. At the end of the day, the opposition is the same: the undue influence of corporate greed in our political process.

In order to win on all the issues we care about in this moment, I think we need to start locally and build large-scale political power that can take on the 1%. Right now, the power of money in politics stands in the way of the things that we need most: access to equitable health care; safe, affordable neighborhoods; quality public education; and a fully-funded public sector. To see these things realized, we need a new governor, a new mayor, and real progressive majority on our city council AND the people power to hold these newly elected folks accountable to our agenda and solutions.

I am so excited to work with more neighbors and local groups around the Chicago area that can unite working families around the vision and solutions that we choose together. I see a network of vibrant, powerful, local groups working on issues that matter and coming together to shift the balance of power in favor of working families.

 

 

United Working Families Announces 2018 Candidate Slate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

United Working Families Announces 2018 Candidate Slate

Movement Candidates Ready to Take on Trump, Rauner

 

WHAT: United Working Families (UWF), an independent political organization by and for the 99% backed by progressive labor and community organizations, will announce their slate of candidates for the 2018 March primaries.

At a time when the combined policies of Trump, Rauner, and Rahm are wreaking havoc on the working families of Chicago and Cook County, the UWF candidates will call for a bold new direction: aggressive public investment in public jobs and schools to break the cycle of violence, displacement, and unemployment.

United Working Families is endorsing Brandon Johnson for Cook County Commissioner 1st District and Delia Ramirez for State Representative in the Illinois 4th District. Both are first-time candidates of color with deep roots in labor and community fights to win a Chicago for the many, not the few.

WHO: Emma Tai, executive director of UWF, together with members and leaders from United Working Families and its affiliate organizations, and the 2018 United Working Families endorsed candidates:

  • Delia Ramirez (IL-4)
  • Brandon Johnson (Cook County-1)

WHEN: Wednesday, December 6th at 12:30 pm

WHERE: Grace Episcopal Church, 637 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL

 

###

 

United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%. UWF affiliate members include: Action Now, Chicago Teachers Union, Cook County College Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, Warehouse Workers Organizing Committee, Workers United CMRJB, 22nd Ward IPO, 25th Ward IPO, and 33rd Ward Working Families.

Meet Organizing Director Candis Castillo!

We are so excited to announce that Candis Castillo will be joining United Working Families as our first Organizing Director! Candis, a daughter of Chicago's south side, is a proven and passionate labor leader.

Read more about her story in her own words here:

I grew up in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago. My grandparents, who lived next door, were strong union members and from an early age I knew the union made a difference, because my parents had jobs without one. I began to organize in high school, where we developed a direct action strategy against the principal of the school, who had created racially discriminatory policies on hairstyles and nail color. Through direct action, we were able to have the polices revoked and have the principal removed. It was the first time in my life that I saw the power of organized people and realized that I could be an agent of change. I went on to attend Alabama A&M, a Historically Black College/University where I was able to dig into my own Afro-Latino history and heritage even further.

After graduation, I began organizing teachers with the American Federation of Teachers/United Teachers of New Orleans, where I met Black women who made the work of uplifting and educating the community their life mission. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita these women did not stop seeking justice. As they lost their homes, their jobs, and nearly lost their union, they continued to fight for their community.

On my very first organizing campaign with United Teachers of New Orleans, the teachers came up one vote short of winning back their collective bargaining rights that they lost after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Even though over 75% of the teachers had signed cards in support of the union and we had overwhelming community support, it was not enough to persuade four of the seven board members to recognize their union. That was when I first realized the importance of having elected officials who are on the side of working people.

As my organizing career moved further along, I built more and more support and organization with workers--but encountered more and more opposition from politicians. While working with airport workers in Chicago, for example, we could feel the momentum from the workers, but the rigged political process intervened to deny workers a living wage.

By the time I started working with graduate employees at the University of Chicago, I had had enough. Rights as workers of graduate employees have been subject to the whim of whichever political party holds power. It doesn’t matter that graduate employees touch almost every aspect of university life, it doesn’t matter that they do ground-breaking research in disease and medicine, and it definitely did not matter that in many cases they voted overwhelmingly to be union in the first place. Graduate employees' very existence as workers have been questioned in our current political system for over 20 years. In October, Graduate Students United won a decisive union election and are now a certified local of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)!

Around this time last year, still very much in shock from the election of Donald Trump and in the midst of the University of Chicago campaign, I was watching the news  and saw that 43 percent of union households voted for Trump. My very first reaction was ‘fake news,’ but then I thought about the 2015 mayoral campaign in Chicago. We voted overwhelmingly for an elected school board but we didn’t vote for the candidate that would give us one. In fact, we voted for the person that said they definitely wouldn’t give us one!

That was when I decided not only did that have to change but that I actively wanted to work to change it. That led me to United Working Families: an organization built by the workers, seeking out candidates who will hold up the values of the workers, and not the super-donors. I'm thrilled to be joining United Working Families as Organizing Director. I look forward to listening to our members, growing our membership, and winning for workers across Illinois!

UPDATED! Strategic Priorities Resolution

Below is the strategic priorities resolution with the amendments adopted by the November 4 convention. Additional edits to the full platform and points of unity based on recommendations from the convention are currently being made by party leadership. Guided by: The need to win the political and governing power necessary to win a city and state that provides for the many, not the few.

Recognizing: That the pathway to securing this political power lies with the people, that we must recruit new people to our vision and strategy,and that the best way to do that is through issues that are widely and deeply felt.

Recognizing: That on these issues, we must offer alternatives to a harsh and narrow status quo in order to define the sides of the debate between us and our opponents and clarify the decision.

Recognizing: That our side of the debate must raise expectations for what elected officials should be doing and offer hope that things could be different.

We adopt the following strategic priorities, based on the party’s full platform and points of unity, in order to guide political endorsements, recruit members and build organization, and raise the party’s profile in the press and digital media:

  1. JOBS WITH DIGNITY TO STOP VIOLENCE: The cycle of layoffs, school closings, and violence pushes people of color out of the city and directly benefits the wealthiest. We can offer a real alternative by demanding a massive public sector jobs program to stop violence. These jobs must provide real living wages, the right to form unions and to strike, and opportunities for formerly incarcerated people.
  2. NO DEVELOPER DOLLARS: With gentrification on the rise and more people being priced out and pushed out of Chicago, UWF financial support should only go to endorsed candidates who refuse to accept campaign contributions from those who profit from displacement and gentrification.
  3. RENT CONTROL AND HOUSING: Rising rents are forcing poor and working people out of the city. City and state officials can and should take immediate action to protect renters and limit the amount that rent can be increased over time, as well as provide for evictions only with just cause, and for truly accessible housing for all.
  4. FREE EDUCATION FROM BIRTH TO COLLEGE: Child care, early childhood education, community colleges, and public universities should be a right provided by city and state government: universal, free, and public. This will reduce the strain on working families and create good jobs, with a particular focus on defending the rights to education of students with disabilities and English-language learners. We demand curriculum and content to education that respects our fights for social justice, to enable students to control their own destinies.
  5. MORATORIUM ON SCHOOL CLOSINGS, VOUCHERS, AND PRIVATIZATION: We need fully-funded, flourishing public schools, not more charter schools and school closings.
  6. CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE: We demand local, democratic supervision of police through elected civilian police boards that have real power to set priorities and enforce practices.
  7. TAX THE RICH: We demand a tax system that redistributes wealth and funds the public provision of basic rights such as jobs, schools, housing, and health care. Our demands include: a progressive income tax, a financial transaction tax, a corporate head tax, and closing the carried interest loophole.
  8. SANCTUARY FOR ALL: Stop the criminalization, incarceration, and removal of Black and Latinx people and immigrants by ending all coordination between local police and federal immigration agencies and eliminating the gang database.
  9. WOMENS’ RIGHTS: We demand action to change a culture that tolerates or condones sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence in our city and state – including passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Welcome our new at-large delegates!

At the November 4 convention, we elected our first six at-large delegates to the United Working Families Party committee. Read their candidate statements below! ------------------

Candidate Name: Roberto Clack

Preferred Gender Pronoun: He

Race/Ethnicity: Mexican-American Latino

Bio - Who are you?

Orginally from a working class community and union family in Joliet, Illinois, Roberto has been an organizer for over a decade in Chicago working in labor, housing and veterans organizations. Roberto's most recent focus is organizing with the veteran community via the Right to Heal campaign. The Right to Heal campaign is a community project that works with labor groups to protect patient safety and safe staffing at the Jesse Brown VA and beyond.

 

Why do we need to build an independent political party?

Our 2 party system from the national to local level has been corrupted by big money and corporations who back politicians that serves the interest of the wealthy and hurts the lives of everyday working people. There is a vital need to create independent political parties and organizations outside the Democratic Party structure to both hold political office holders accountable and to also field progressive and independent candidates that will advocate and fight for economic and racial justice. From the state house to city hall, our politicians have failed us and we need to build power to change politics as usual. We can only do this through building structure and organization and by running candidates on a clear & principled political platform that advances the needs of working families.

 

Why are you running for party committee?

I believe we need a party for the 99% that fights for working class people and I see UWF as a key institution in building the organization necessary to do this locally. I bring years of experience having worked with both community and labor organizations. I work on successful campaigns, such as being a steering committee member who passed Earned Sicked Time in the County & City as well as being involved in other successful campaigns such as the Keep Chicago Renting campaign, Source of Income County ordinance, to name a few. Growing membership and a base is essentially in accomplishing both electoral and issue based success. I plan on bringing my experience to the UWF party committee to both expand the organizational and individual membership base.

 

What's your vision for United Working Families?

Unions and community organizations are an essential part of this formation and as an open seat delegate I plan to recruit new unions and community organizations into the political fold of UWF. In September, I was a lead organizer in creating community support for the Illinois Nurses Association as they nearly went on strike at UIC hospital. Although not involved in progressive politics in the past, growing austerity in the public sector as well as emerging progressive leadership within the union make it possible to potentially recruit this labor union to join or ally with groups like UWF in the immediate future. As part of the Right to Heal campaign, we are in discussions with organized labor about uniting veterans and labor against austerity and privatization measures that hurt both communities. Veterans are disportionately represented in the public sector workforce, making up 15-20% according to some figures and as high as a third of the workforce in the VA system. In the context of a right wing austerity and anti-union agenda, The Right to Heal campaign plans to amplify veteran labor unionist voices as well as the patients served by these union members. The Right to Heal organization and INA are just 2 examples of groups I believe we can recruit to UWF in fighting for power for working class communities. Along with assisting my fellow delegates in recruiting these important organizational members, I will be on the forefront of signing up individual members to the organization. For the convention itself, I am bringing over 10 new dues paying members to join UWF. Grassroots individual donations and memberships are essentially in stregthening organization, structure and accountability. Our networks should be constantly growing our base and improving organizational discipline, democracy and capacity. Formal membership and growing commitment from our members is key to building power to win and take political power back for our communities.

 

What is your previous political and activist work?

I have extensive backround in organizing having worked in housing, labor and the peace movement. I was formerly the director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center Chicago. As part of ROC, I organized low wage restaurant workers to stand up to their employers and demand better working conditions and the enforcement of their labor rights. We also worked on policy campaigns and were a key group in passing earned sick time in Chicago. I worked for over 5 years in housing as a community organizer in the Metropolitan Tenants Organization. As part of this organizing project, I worked with a wide variety of low income tenants, organizing them to stand up to their landlords to demand better living conditions. As part of these years of work, I saw tenant organizations successfully fight evictions, get their heat turned on in the winter, get long standing repair issues resolved and be a part of successful policy campaigns that helped thousands of renters. As a organizer of veterans, I was a lead organizer in make significant changes at the Jesse Brown VA, which includes hiring of needed staff and winning a female only space for women veterans being served at the VA. I also a lead organizer for the NATO ceremony uniting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to bring light to immoral wars that have cost innocent lives. I am a capable trainer on organizing and experienced in developing leaders both for immediate work and fights and over the long term.

 

Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc):

Right to Heal Chicago

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Candidate Name: Manuel Diaz

Preferred Gender Pronoun: He, Him, His

Race/Ethnicity: Latinx

Bio - Who are you?

27 year old organizer. Cicero raised. 1st generation everything. Mexicano. Tech and data aficionado

 

Why do we need to build an independent political party?

The two party system is a recipe for, at best, moderate policy. It forces pragmatic approaches to delicate issues that end up benefitting the ruling class. It's one reason why the US is the only modern country that doesn't guarantee healthcare as a basic right, amongst one of the more embarrassing facts.

 

Why are you running for party committee?

Representation of our community, our generation and our underrepresented & unorganized working class. I believe my capabilities and skill-set would be an asset to UWF.

 

What's your vision for United Working Families?

Short term: Back good people to run and win in strategic places to challenge machine candidates in Chicagoland. Long term: Challenge the Democratic Party and other right wingers and establish a powerful base to launch leftists into office all over the state.

 

What is your previous political and activist work?

College activist at UIUC around core campus issues. Community organizer in South Chicago around local issues. Dpty Campaign Manager in the 15th ward for Rafael Yanez. Workplace organizer challenging employers and driving pro worker legislation in Cook County.

 

Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc)?

Member National Writers Union Member United Working Families Member Democratic Socialists of America Internal Organizer at Arise Chicago

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Candidate Name: Sue Sadlowski-Garza

Preferred Gender Pronoun: She/Her

Race/Ethnicity: White

Bio - Who are you?

I am a lifelong resident and community activist of the 10th ward and have dedicated my life to creating a healthier and safer community for our children and families. In 2015, with the support of United Working Families, I defeated an Emanuel-backed incumbent to become 10th Ward Alderwoman, becoming the first-ever active Chicago Teachers Union member to be elected to City Council and the first-ever woman to represent the 10th Ward in City Council. I am a member of the Progressive and Latino Caucuses and served as a delegate for Bernie Sanders in 2016.

I worked in Chicago Public Schools for 20 years in various capacities, all towards the goal of giving children the tools they need to succeed. I was a counselor at Jane Addams elementary and the south side area Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union. I am also a member of East Side Pride community organization and have been proud to contribute to the fight against pollutants in the Southeast Side of Chicago.

My father was the rank and file Steelworkers union leader, Ed Sadlowski. He taught me from a very young age that when we unite and apply democratic principles rights we can build a stronger community. I am the mother of four children, David, Ryan, Tyler and Kate, and wife to Raul Garza, a member of AFL-CIO.

Why do we need to build an independent political party? *

In City Council, I have seen firsthand how the Mayor controls aldermen through his network of wealthy donors. We need an independent alternative that challenges the Mayor’s control of City Council and his vision for a Chicago that only the wealthy few can afford. That means doing the work of an independent political party: recruiting, training, and running our own people; getting them elected; moving an alternative agenda; and organizing year-round to make continued victories possible.

Why are you running for party committee? *

In 2015, United Working Families trained and supported me and my volunteers and helped me run a competitive campaign. I have been giving back informally by helping with fundraising, recruitment, and strategy. Being a member of the party’s leadership is meaningful to me because it means that I can continue to use my public profile as a member of City Council to raise UWF’s public profile, support fundraising efforts, advise on political strategy, and build the organization we need to achieve even greater victories in 2018, 2019, and beyond.

What's your vision for United Working Families? *

I believe that United Working Families is unique because of it combination of the strength and resources of the labor movement with the spirit and innovation of its grassroots membership.

My experience in the Chicago Teachers Union, as well as my father’s experience with the Steelworkers, taught me the power of the rank-and-file. I want to see United Working Families become a vibrant political party that can challenge the outsize role that corporations and the 1% play in our city and state governments.

What is your previous political and activist work? *

I have a long history of fighting for public education, workers rights, and economic, racial, and social justice. I was a Chicago Teachers Union delegate for Jane Addams school, a member of the Chicago Teachers Union Executive Board, and a strike leader in 2012. In 2015, I became the first-ever active Chicago Teachers Union member to be elected to City Council. I grew up in a proud union home with strong values of income equality, gender equity, racial harmony, and workers and environmental rights. As 10th Ward Alderwoman, I have fought back against the Trump-Rauner-Rahm agenda of privatizing public schools and services to enrich the wealthy.

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Candidate Name: Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

Preferred Gender Pronoun: He/Him

Race/Ethnicity: Latinx

Bio - Who are you?

Queer, Latinx, and a democratic socialist, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa has served as Alderman of Chicago’s 35th Ward since his election to the City Council in 2015. A deportation defense organizer prior to his election, Carlos has legislated by co-conspiring with movements for social and economic justice. Carlos is the chief sponsor of legislation to: tax the rich; achieve climate justice; strengthen city protections for undocumented immigrants; and end racist policing. Carlos was an elected Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 DNC, and was named an “emerging power player” by Chicago Magazine in 2017 for organizing a broad people-power base that holds him accountable and fights for progressive policies.

 

Why do we need to build an independent political party?

For decades now, the national political parties have acted like different sides of the same coin when it comes to the issues impacting working families. We have seen both Democrats and Republicans support policies that put the interests of the rich and big corporations before the interests of our working families. Corporations and the wealthy, using their money to buy influence in the halls of power, have successfully won bi-partisan support for disastrous policies like the TPP or the Keystone Pipeline. In the face of this growing corporate power we need to build independent political power, we need to build a diverse political movement of working people. This political movement must not be beholden to the people, not any existing political institution or rich donors. Only through building independent political power can we ensure that we are running and electing candidates that are accountable to us, not powerful corporations.

 

Why are you running for party committee?

I am running because I believe strongly that elected officials must govern from below, that is to say elected officials must obey the people and act in conjunction with the grassroots movements that elected them and are holding them accountable. During my time as Alderman I have sought to model the behavior of a "movement elected official," an elected official who coordinates their work organizing inside the halls of power with those organizing the grassroots movements in the streets. As one of the first individuals elected with the support of UWF, I would like to serve on the Board to continue building the organization and continue to grow our vision of independent, working class, political power that elects and holds progressive elected officials accountable.

 

What's your vision for United Working Families?

With the election of 45, and the failure of corporate Democrats, working people face a crisis like never before. From the assault on unions and working people, to climate change, to the attempts to roll back civil rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, and immigrant rights, working people must build a powerful grassroots movement to seize power and create a government that is truly of, by, and for the people. I envision a UWF that within the next two years is a powerful people-powered organization that elects working people to all levels of government, an organization that is diverse and engages in intersectional movement building. I envision a UWF that within the next ten years has elected a Chicago Mayor, a Governor, a Speaker of the Illinois House, a Senate President, and village Trustees and town mayors across Illinois that are principled, progressive, and accountable to the people-powered organization we have built. It is my hope that UWF will become an organization that puts 100s of working people in office and tens of thousands of people in the streets - so that the people and their elected representatives are fighting hand-in-hand for the changes we so desperately need.

 

What is your previous political and activist work?

2007 - Worked to elected CFL and SEIU endorsed Aldermanic candidates Greg Brewer (50th Ward) and Joe Moore (49th Ward). 2008 - Worked to elect Barack Obama and was elected Democratic Precinct Committeeman in Champaign, IL. 2008 to 2011 - Fought for immigrants' rights and workers' rights and affordable college tuition as a student organizer with MEChA, USAS, and various ccampus coalitions. Led succesful campaign to win funding for LGBT and women's programs at UIUC. 2010 - Worked to elect Rudy Lozano, Jr. to State House and Chuy Garcia to County Board. 2011 - Worked to elect Mayoral candidate Miguel del Valle. 2012 - Supported the deportation defense organizing work of the Immigrant Youth Justice League (now OCAD) as a deportation caseworker in the office of Congressman Luis Gutierrez. 2013 - Worked to elect Will Guzzardi to State House and worked on winning and enforcing good union contracts as a staffer with UNITE HERE Local 1. 2014 - Worked as a deportation defense organizer with the IL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

 

Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc):

United Neighbors of the 35th Ward, Reclaim Chicago / The People's Lobby, United Working Families, Democratic Socialists of America

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Candidate Name: Jay Travis

Preferred Gender Pronoun: She/her/hers

Race/Ethnicity: Black

Bio - Who are you?

I am an organizer with a 25-year track record of grassroots organizing and coalition building with low-income and working families. As one of the youngest Executive Director of Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, I led one of Chicago's oldest, Black, intergenerational organizations that organized to address the housing, employment, safety and senior (elderly) needs of families in North Kenwood, Oakland and Bronzeville. As a steadfast proponent of racial, economic and social justice, I have supported progressive candidates and worked to build infrastructure for working families to elect accountable people with a commitment to a progressive agenda. I was endorsed by United Working Families as a candidate for State Representative in 2016, and I played a supportive role in Karen Lewis' and Chuy Garcia's bids for mayor. I have also worked to build community and labor coalitions to strengthen our fight for education justice both locally and nationally.

 

Why do we need to build an independent political party?

Elected officials in both parties have become beholden to their billionaire donors, and less and less accountable to the needs of low-income and working families. Critical issues such as school privatization, the abuse of TIF funds and attacks on affordable housing enjoy bi-partisan support. Entrenched political machines have prolonged the passage of critical legislation at the state level based on political gamesmanship and not the needs of the people.

 

Why are you running for party committee?

I am interested in working to elect accountable political leadership at the municipal, state and federal level.

 

What's your vision for United Working Families?

My vision for working families is that it strengthens the infrastructure needed to elect representative, progressive, accountable political leadership. While I feel that the establishment of a full independent party will take time, I fully support that vision. I also support Working Families as a vehicle that is rooted in community and labor coalitions based on mutual respect.

 

What is your previous political and activist work?

I have a history of working to build political power through assisting grassroots organizers with connecting issue based organizing with voter engagement/turnout and identifying progressive candidates to run for office. I ran for State Representative of 26th (twice) and created a intergenerational, racially representative, community labor coalition that won over 11,000 votes in the 2016 election. People United for Action, a grassroots Independent organization, was created by people that worked on my first campaign, and is still active.

 

Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc):

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, People United for Action

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Candidate Name: Mayra Lopez-Zuniga

Preferred Gender Pronoun: She/Her

Race/Ethnicity: Latinx

Bio - Who are you?

Mayra is the proud daughter of immigrant parents who moved to Chicago from Mexico in search of a better future. Her family settled in the Back of the Yards community, where she grew up confronted by the realities of growing up in a low-income immigrant community. Mayra has been organizing in Chicago for the past 8 years. The majority of that time, she organized with The Resurrection Project (TRP) where she organized around education, redistricting, and immigration reform in Back of the Yards. Mayra led a successful campaign in 2011 to advocate for a new ward in the City of Chicago’s redistricting process. The campaign specifically demanded to consolidate the number of wards that encompassed the Back of the Yards community, leading to the creation of the new 15th ward. In 2013, Mayra’s work shifted to focus on education and parent engagement. She led the implementation and expansion for the Parent Mentor Program and created the organization's base for parent engagement. In 2015, Mayra took a short break to work as a field organizer for the Garcia for Chicago campaign where she was the field director for all of the southwest side wards with a Latino majority population. In 2016, Mayra helped elect the first Asian American legislator to the Illinois Legislature, State Representative Theresa Mah. Early in 2017, Mayra became District Director for Representative Mah. She continues to be actively involved in Back of the Yards, Pilsen and McKinley Park where she currently resides. Mayra graduated from University of Chicago in 2010 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Latin American studies. She is proud graduate of Chicago Public Schools and an alumni fellow of UnidosUS's National Institute for Latino School Leadership.

 

Why do we need to build an independent political party?

We need an independent political party to elect people whose values and desire to run for office align to a political platform that aims to represent working class people, people of color, undocumented folks and any group who is often disenfranchised from the political system. Every day, more and more, money and special interest corrupts the way our political system works. Currently, machine politics has monopolized the way people become elected officials. If people are interested in running for office, they must align themselves to elected officials, even if their values and work ethic is questionable. This is why it is so imperative for us to create a alternative way for people, specially everyday people, to become involved with politics and run for office.

We need to create a way for our progressive moment to elect people to office and I think United Working Families should and can be that vehicle. Together we can create a way for elected officials to become accountable to their constituencies and empower people to vote people out of office when they are not doing right by them. At the same time, we need to broaden the pool of candidates, create a bench of progressive elected officials who come from our movement. I think UWF can become the vehicle to run and elect movement elected officials and to keep them accountable too.

 

Why are you running for party committee?

I am running for United Working Families' party committee because in my short time doing electoral politics in the City of Chicago, I have observed a hunger for change among the Latino community. People are tired of politics as usual and although that has created a deep distrust of the way politics works, people are also challenging the way they see elected officials. People are challenging the perception of their agency within the system. If we set forth higher standards for our elected officials, hold them accountable for listening to constituent concerns, and taking action on issues relevant to the communities they represent - perhaps our quality of life would improve. However, there is a gap between the organizing happening on the ground in the communities and building the capacity needed to run successful campaigns. I believe my skills as community organizer, field director for political campaigns and my current role as District Director for an elected official can be helpful to UWF as we create a platform for the upcoming year leading up to 2019. I want to help create a platform that encompasses issues that matter to people in the southwest side of Chicago. I have plenty of relationships in the southwest side of Chicago that I would love to activate and bring forth to UWF to grow our movement and power.

 

What's your vision for United Working Families?

As mentioned before, I think there is great need for an alternative political space in Chicago. I space for people politics. My vision is that United Working Families becomes that space. I hope UWF becomes as space where people on the ground can find support to run people from the community to office. My hope is that the work and platform of UWF is shaped by the membership and in turn it's membership define and keep accountable the work of the organization so that the work and politics of the organization are always relevant to the communities it encompasses. This way, the organization can also be supportive when people on the group wish to hold their elected officials accountable. I want UWF to become a powerful coalition of people in Chicago who are defining the standards for good, accountable, community centered elected officials.

 

What is your previous political and activist work?

I have 8+ years organizing in Chicago, sometimes with institutions and lately a lot of my organizing work is centered on community and political organizing with individuals in Pilsen and Back of the Yards. My first organizing campaign was around redistricting in 2011 negotiating with the Latino and Black caucus around a unified and compact ward encompassing Back of the Yards. At the time Back of the Yards was split in 6 wards (3,11,12,15,16,20) and now the majority of Back of the Yards is in 3 wards (15,20,16) although 11 & 12 still have the industrial corridors of the community. In 2014, I helped Rafael Yanez at the early stages of his campaign for 15th ward and in 2015 I was one of the first Field Directors hire by the Garcia for Chicago campaign where I oversaw most of the wards in the Southwest Side of Chicago (11,12,14,15,23,25) . Last year, I assisted running field in Pilsen for Theresa Mah during her campaign against Alex Acevedo, son of the incumbent whose home base is in Pilsen. The campaign lost Pilsen by a couple of percentage points but won the race. I am currently organizing a group of residents interested in running an alternative candidate in the 15th ward during 2019.

 

Organization affiliations (unions, community groups, etc):

Mijente, We are Back of the Yards, UWF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategic Priorities Resolution

**Below is the resolution that the party committee will present to the convention for amendment and debate at the convention on Saturday** Guided by: The need to win the political and governing power necessary to win a city and state that provides for the many, not the few.

Recognizing: That the pathway to securing this political power lies with the people, that we must recruit new people to our vision and strategy, and that the best way to do that is through issues that are widely and deeply felt.

Recognizing: That on these issues, we must offer alternatives to a harsh and narrow status quo in order to define the sides of the debate between us and our opponents and clarify the decision.

Recognizing: That our side of the debate must raise expectations for what elected officials should be doing and offer hope that things could be different.

We adopt the following strategic priorities, based on the party’s full platform and points of unity, in order to guide political endorsements, recruit members and build organization, and raise the party’s profile in the press and digital media:

  1. JOBS PROGRAM TO STOP VIOLENCE: The cycle of layoffs, school closings, and violence pushes people of color out of the city and directly benefits the wealthiest. We can offer a real alternative by demanding a massive public sector jobs program to stop violence.
  2. NO DEVELOPER DOLLARS: With gentrification on the rise and more people being priced out and pushed out of Chicago, UWF financial support should only go to endorsed candidates who refuse to accept campaign contributions from real estate developers.
  3. RENT CONTROL: Rising rents are forcing poor and working people out of the city. City and state officials can and should take action to protect renters and limit the amount that rent can be increased over time.
  4. FREE EDUCATION FROM BIRTH TO COLLEGE: Child care, early childhood education, community colleges, and public universities should be a right provided by city and state government: universal, free, and public. This will reduce the strain on working families and create good jobs.
  5. MORATORIUM ON SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND PRIVATIZATION: We need fully-funded, flourishing public schools, not more charter schools and school closings.
  6. CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE: We demand local, democratic supervision of police through elected civilian police boards that have real power to set priorities and enforce practices.
  7. TAX THE RICH: We demand a tax system that redistributes wealth and funds the public provision of basic rights such as jobs, schools, housing, and health care. Our demands include: a progressive income tax, a financial transaction tax, a corporate head tax, and closing the carried interest loophole.
  8. SANCTUARY FOR ALL: Stop the criminalization, incarceration, and removal of Black and Latinx people by ending all coordination between local police and federal immigration agencies and eliminating the gang database.

 

Convention Agenda

UWF Membership Convention

Saturday, November 4

AGENDA

 

Purpose: The purpose of the United Working Families membership convention is to convene the highest governing body of the party to make decisions about strategy and leadership for the coming year.

 

Outcomes:

  • At-large delegates elected to the Party Committee
  • Evaluation, debate, and vote on strategic organizing and political priorities for 2018-2019

 

Agenda:

10:00-10:20

Sign-in and Introductions - Lobby

 

10:20-10:40

Opening: Why United Working Families – Main Hall

 

10:40-11:10

Strategic Priorities Resolution – Main Hall

 

11:10-12:00

Breakouts

  1. How do we recruit to and build a political organization? - Executive Conference Room
  2. What kind of candidates and campaigns do we need? – Main Hall
  3. How do we set the terms of debate in election years? - Executive Conference Room

 

12:00-1:25

Voting and Amendments – Main Hall

*Box lunches available

 

1:25-1:35

Delegate Elections – Main Hall

 

1:35-2:00

Next Steps and Closing – Main Hall

 

Important Info on the 2017 Convention

1. The convention will elect at-large delegates to the party committee. Six at-large delegate seats are open. At-large delegates to the party committee serve as board members for United Working Families, meeting monthly to advance the work of the organization. Candidates will give brief remarks and be elected by the membership at the November 4 convention.

Click here to nominate yourself or another member. Deadline: Friday, October 27

Click here to complete a brief candidate statement. Deadline: Wednesday, November 1

2. The convention will debate and discuss our strategic priorities for 2018 and 2019.

In October 2015, United Working Families members wrote, amended, and approved a platform and points of unity. You can read the full document online here.

Headed into the upcoming elections, we will use this platform to guide our political endorsements and organizing campaigns. At this year's convention, we will set strategic priorities based on what we think will recruit new people to our vision, define the sides of the debate, and raise expectations for what could be different. This survey is designed to help us begin evaluating that plan ahead of the convention, where amendments and a full vote will be taken.

3. All members in good standing are eligible to vote at the convention.

A member in good standing can be either a) an individual who has paid at least the $20 minimum annual dues in the previous calendar year or b) an individual who is a member of an affiliated organization. Affiliated organizations include Grassroots Illinois Action, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Action Now, Cook County College Teachers Union, 22nd Ward IPO, Chicago Teachers Union, 33rd Ward Working Families, 25th Ward IPO, Workers United CMRJB. If you are not a member in good standing, you can sign up at the convention or online here.

STATEMENT: Mayor Emanuel’s Budget Priorities Pushing Black, Latino, Working Families Out of Chicago

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF) on Mayor Emanuel’s budget address.

“Mayor Emanuel’s budget speaks to his vision of Chicago: a tale of two cities, one for the wealthy and connected and one for the rest of us.

“This is a Mayor who cuts from our children’s education in order to pay for costly police brutality settlements and new police training facilities. His leadership has made Chicago a top destination for corporations and CEO’s while tens of thousands of working people, overwhelmingly African-American, leave the city, pushed out by sky-high rates of violence, gentrification, and unemployment.”

“His divestment in Chicago’s working families has led to a Black unemployment rate on par with the Great Depression and over 2,900 shootings in Chicago’s West and South side. Corporate tax breaks and sweetheart privatization deals are more of the same, and they’re not getting the job done. We call on Mayor Emanuel and aldermen to present real solutions that prioritize our working families, not the wealthy 1%.”

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United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%, established in 2014 by the Chicago Teachers Union, SEIU Healthcare, Action Now, and Grassroots Illinois Action.

STATEMENT: Labor Day Violence Raises Questions About Efficacy of More Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 5, 2017

CHICAGO- Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF) on Chicago’s Labor Day weekend violence.

“As the summer comes to an end, media outlets report that 30 people were shot this Labor Day weekend, adding to the growing number of shootings and homicides in 2017. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the ongoing tragedy playing out in Chicago’s hypersegregated neighborhoods.

“The political response to this crisis continues to fall far short of what working families need and deserve. Mayor Rahm Emanuel deployed 1,300 more police officers to the streets this weekend. But with 30 shootings taking place this weekend--to say nothing of the $662 million spent on payouts and settlements for violent cops last year--we question whether this is truly the best use of the city’s considerable resources.

“Black unemployment in Chicago is on par with the Great Depression, far outpacing the national average. If Mayor Emanuel is serious about stopping Chicago’s violence, he needs to demand that his wealthy donors pay their fair share of taxes so that the city can create good-paying jobs and flourishing schools. Only real public investment in the people and families of Chicago’s south and west sides--not downtown CEO’s--will stop violent crime.”

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United Working Families is an independent political organization by and for the 99%, established in 2014 by the Chicago Teachers Union, SEIU Healthcare, Action Now, and Grassroots Illinois Action.