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The Future We Need: Discussing Labor with Erica Smiley (Jobs With Justice) and Sarita Gupta (Ford Foundation) | New Labor Book Series #1

March 29, 2022 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PDT

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Join us to discuss the future of labor organizing with Erica Smiley and Sarita Gupta, on the eve of the release of their new book: The Future We Need – Organizing for a Better Democracy in the 21st Century (which we’ll hear about before the book comes out on April 15). Hosted by Siena Chiang, we will speak with Erica and Sarita—labor experts and longtime organizers—about models for building worker power in ways that match the needs of people today. Looking beyond issues of wages and working conditions, we will explore how working people might employ a new kind of collective bargaining to build toward a healthy democracy, fight white supremacy and gender discrimination, and—ultimately—give people the ability to govern over more of their own lives. 

All event attendees will receive a free pre-ordered e-book copy of The Future We Need. The book will be available on April 15. The link for downloading will be shared during the event.

Roy Bahat, head of Bloomberg Beta, is organizing this new series of talks with authors of books on labor, co-led by Siena Chiang.


About Erica Smiley

Erica Smiley is the executive director of Jobs With Justice (JWJ). A long-time organizer and movement leader, Smiley has been spearheading strategic organizing and policy interventions for Jobs With Justice for nearly 15 years. Prior to taking up her current position with the organization, Smiley served as organizing director for Jobs With Justice developing campaigns that resulted in transformative changes to how working people organize and are civically engaged at their workplaces and in their communities. Before joining Jobs With Justice, Smiley organized with community groups and unions such as the Tenants and Workers Support Committee (now Tenants and Workers United) in Virginia and SEIU Local 500 in Baltimore. Her career in social and economic justice began in the reproductive justice field, serving as national campaigns director for Choice USA (now United for Reproductive and Gender Equity—URGE) where she received the Young Women of Achievement Award in 2004.

About Sarita Gupta

Sarita Gupta is the Director of the Future of Work(ers) Program at the Ford Foundation. She has more than two decades of experience working to expand people’s ability to take collective action to improve their workplaces, communities, and lives by creating meaningful solutions. She is a nationally recognized expert on the economic, labor, and political issues affecting workers, and is widely acknowledged as a key leader and strategist for building coalitions and policies that protect, and advance the rights of workers. Gupta has served as the Executive Director of Jobs With Justice and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations, a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities, and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country so that all families can live well and age with dignity. She spearheaded the campaign that was successful in winning the Kapuna Caregiver Program in Hawaii, which provides a financial benefit to working family caregivers. And most recently, the Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act, which establishes the first state based public long-term care program in the nation. Among the awards Sarita has received are the National Women’s Law Center Annual Leadership Award, the Francis Perkins Open Door Award, a Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Achievement Award, and Corporate Ethics International’s BENNY Award.

Early Praise for the Book

“Anchored in the fundamental fissures that plagued the American democracy experiment from day one, The Future We Need outlines straightforward approaches today’s workers are testing to build power and shared governance in ways that will get us back on the path towards building a true multiracial democracy.” – Saru Jayaraman, author of One Fair Wage

“A refreshing call-to-action, The Future We Need helps us understand both the challenges facing workers today and what must happen to change our economy for the better, with clarity and insight. The narratives and case studies in this book offer strategies that go beyond outdated, more traditional frameworks that left key groups of workers, like domestic workers, behind. A blueprint for the way forward, it’s a must read!” – Ai-jen Poo, Founder and Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance and author of The Age of Dignity 


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March 29, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PDT
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Siena Chiang
Roy Bahat


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