By Kyle Kordsmeier
Workers from all walks of life working across multiple industries, staff members at worker centers across the country and volunteers excited about spearheading a new national campaign in this movement all participated in spirited debates and discussions about the future of our network. We joined other affiliates in Chicago for the weekend at IWJ’s Worker Center Network convening. Our movement and members recognized that we are in phases of transition. What an exciting period to be in!
Discussions of the direction of our movement were guided by everyone in the network, from IWJ’s Kim Bobo to volunteers. Drawing from so many experiences, we worked through the ways we can improve in the work. We also celebrated the ways that we are already creating the change we wish to see.
For several months, affiliates have been working to create a network steering committee. The steering committee will bring more workers into the conversations that guide our goals and campaigns. This is another exciting way we’re empowering workers. Our desire to fill geographical gaps of our network had another breakthrough! The network unanimously decided to approve the affiliation of the Greater Birmingham Ministries!
At IWJ's National conference two years ago, I remembered learning from so many incredible leaders in the movement who have done truly remarkable things. This convening was unique. Everyone got their turn to share their experiences and was given responsibilities of leading and facilitating discussions. It truly gave me a sense of ownership in our movement. It feels good to be a part of a network that is not afraid to pull from our collective knowledge and places value in those of us that are relatively new to the game.
This weekend proved to all of us that our collective strength comes from our ability to respond to the needs of grassroots organizing lead by our members. I look forward to what’s next!
Kyle is the Organizing Director of the Workers Interfaith Network in Memphis, Tenn. To learn more of the great work of Workers Interfaith Network and how to get involved with worker center campaigns in your community, check out IWJ's directory