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 almost 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.
Angel Henry, Executive Assistant
Angel Henry joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI in 2021 as executive assistant to the EARN director. Within this capacity, she manages broad administrative support for the EARN director and the entire EARN team. Prior to joining EPI, Henry worked as a senior administrative assistant at Marriott International headquarters.
Anu Kumar, Omidyar Network Communications Fellow
Anu Kumar is the Omidyar Network Communications Fellow at the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI. She supports communications efforts to connect the network and highlight efforts from the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Kumar has supported communications and editorial work at several think tanks in Washington, D.C., including the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, and New America. The Omidyar Network Communications Fellows Program is designed to place early-career communicators within economic justice organizations and issue-based campaigns.
Jaimie Worker, Senior State Policy Coordinator
Jaimie K. Worker is the senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI. She is committed to ensuring that racial and gender equity is a public policy priority and that the leaders of communities impacted by structural racism and oppression are key collaborators in developing public policy.
Prior to joining EPI, Worker was a senior policy analyst at Community Change, where for more than six years she worked on racial and economic justice campaigns focused on jobs and public investment in partnership with grassroots organizations. Previously, she worked with the New Organizing Institute, as well as the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan, supporting workplace organizing and policy campaigns to win improved working conditions in the restaurant industry.
Worker is the proud daughter of immigrants and hails from Detroit, Michigan.
Julia Wolfe, State Economic Analyst
Julia Wolfe joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI as an economic analyst in 2019. In addition to conducting national and state-level research on labor market trends, inequality, and collective bargaining, she provides technical support to the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Julia first joined EPI as a research assistant in 2017. Prior to joining EPI, Julia worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the retail and manufacturing employment analyst for the Current Employment Statistics program. She is a proud union member, Chicagoan, and Truman State graduate.
Lea Woods, Learning Community Organizer
Lea Woods joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI in 2021 as a learning community organizer, coordinating conferences and convenings for state-level advocacy groups. Woods previously worked in fundraising and communications at nonprofits that promote women’s economic security and political power, including the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Center for Women’s Leadership. Additional political experience includes interning in a congressional office and working on a gubernatorial reelection campaign. Woods received her B.A. in Philosophy from Portland State University.
Sebastian Hickey, Research Assistant
Sebastian Martinez Hickey joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI as a research assistant in 2021. Hickey supports the EARN team through data collection and analysis for reports, blogs, and testimony. In addition, he provides technical support to the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Prior to joining EPI, Hickey worked as an Emerson National Hunger Fellow to increase access to affordable housing and mental health services for people with low incomes. Hickey received his B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.