Naomi Walker, Director of EARN
Naomi Walker joined EPI in 2018 as director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of more than 60 state-level policy research and advocacy organizations coordinated by EPI. Prior to joining EPI, Naomi Walker served as assistant to the president at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the nation’s largest and fastest-growing public services employees union, with more than 1.6 million active and retired members. In her role on the executive team of the union, she was responsible for coordinating AFSCME’s partnerships with allies and coalitions in order to build power for working families.
Prior to joining AFSCME in 2012, Walker served as director of state government relations and deputy director of the government affairs department for the AFL-CIO, where she worked with national unions, state federations, state legislators, and allies to coordinate state legislative campaigns around the country, providing guidance on strategy, message, member mobilization, and research, as well as writing model legislation. Walker has coordinated state issue campaigns on a variety of issues, including fighting so-called “right-to-work” legislation and attacks on working families; exposing profitable corporations like Walmart that shift their health care costs onto state taxpayers; stopping the export of American jobs; and providing affordable health care for working families.
While at the AFL-CIO, Walker also served as assistant director of the AFL-CIO politics and field department, leading labor’s field campaign for the 2006 election cycle. She managed staff across the country as they coordinated labor’s political program to educate, mobilize, and turn out union members to vote.
In 2009, Walker was appointed associate deputy secretary of labor under the Obama administration, serving as a liaison between the Department of Labor and the labor movement before she rejoined the AFL-CIO in 2010.
Before joining the AFL-CIO in 1997, Walker served as field director of the Preamble Center for Public Policy, where she helped coordinate both press and field work on progressive policy issues like corporate accountability and fair trade. From 1993 until 1996, she was the Midwest regional organizer for the Children’s Defense Fund.
David Cooper, Deputy Director of EARN, Senior Economic Analyst
David Cooper helps to coordinate EARN, and leads EPI’s technical and analytical support for the network. As a researcher at the Economic Policy Institute, he conducts both national and state-level research, with a focus on the minimum wage, wage theft, employment and unemployment, poverty, and wage and income trends.
David’s analyses on the impact of minimum wage laws have been used by policymakers and advocates in city halls and statehouses across the country, as well as in Congress and the White House. He has testified in many states and cities on the challenges facing low-wage workers and their families, and has been interviewed and cited by numerous local and national media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and NPR.
Janelle Jones, Economic Analyst
Janelle Jones supports the work of EARN groups with customized data resources, technical assistance, and policy guidance. As an analyst at EPI, she researches a variety of labor market topics within EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE). She was previously a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), where she worked on topics including racial inequality, unemployment, job quality, and unions. Her research has been cited in The New Yorker, The Economist, Harper’s, The Washington Post, The Review of Black Political Economy, and other publications. She also worked as an economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Jessica Schieder, Economic Analyst
As an economic analyst for EPI and EARN, Jessica Schieder’s areas of research include wage trends, executive compensation, the gender and racial wage gaps, and social protection.
Schieder’s work has been cited by numerous broadcast, radio, print, and online news outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Politico, and The New Yorker.
Schieder previously worked at the Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) as a fiscal policy analyst, where she examined how budget and tax policy decisions impact working families.