The Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) National Conference, this year themed “Coming Together: Building a Just Economy,” took place from June 22- June 24, 2014 in Chicago Illinois. The conference was held at DePaul University’s Student Center. Over 500 people attended the conference, including members of interfaith groups and worker centers, students, pastors, congregation leaders, and worker justice activists. Multiple faith traditions were represented, including Christians from a variety of denominations, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists. Resources and translators were available in both English and Spanish throughout the conference and some workshops were conducted primarily in Spanish.
The biennial conference featured several tracks: Organizing Skills, Capacity Building, Public Policy, Workers Center, and OSHA. Each track consisted of several workshop sessions, each featuring a moderated panel of activists and faith leaders. The Organizing Skills track emphasized coalition building, tactics for community organizing, and organizational management and improvement. The Public Policy track focused on running state campaigns and advocating for policy change, specifically around fair wages for workers. The Capacity Building track included sessions about cultivating donors, managing not-for-profit finances and budget, and developing a board of directors. The Worker Centers track sought to offer leadership development techniques for young leaders, as well as best practices for membership retention. The OSHA track focused on preventing injuries and deaths at work sites.