Network Visits D.C. to Connect, Learn and Advocate

Janel Bailey |

Last week, affiliates from IWJ's worker center network came from all across the country and met in D.C. (we actually stayed up in Bethesda, M.D. at a beautiful retreat facility) for an organizing and capacity-building training and worker advocacy day on the Hill.

Overall, we had a great time. We gathered about 20 worker-leaders and organizers from the network to discuss big ideas like "leadership development" and fundraising. Together we shared more specific and personal experiences about the work we do back home. We talked about our history, the lies our teachers told us and about our movement history that wasn't even in the curriculum.

One of the best things about being a part of a large national network is—of course—being connected across the country! During the training, everyone bonded quickly. Between old friends and new ones, we all made connections (even across language barriers with the help of some fabulous interpreters)! Connections outside the training room reminded us how small the world truly is (we ran into Tim Beaty at the Teamsters, who's helping with Kim's big event in December).

Up on the Hill, we got what one Congressman's staffer jokingly referred to as the "real D.C. experience," which is running around the Hill, rushing to meet with members of Congress wherever we could...even in the hallway!

I felt very fortunate to spend those few days in the company of such fearless, talented leaders and organizers. At the end of our final training session, we each shared some things we'd learned, felt and committed to do once we went home. I'm excited to mobilize as many allies as possible to support the awesome worker centers in the network as they shape their national fight against wage theft, protecting payroll choices and securing Paystubs for All!