Click here to register for EARNCon through Eventbrite!

Click here to download program

At EARNCon, we will convene members from our 55 EARN groups, representing 43 states and the District of Columbia, together with grassroots organizers and labor partners, for much-needed community building after two years of isolation in the pandemic and to develop a shared agenda for state and local policymaking that prioritizes the needs of workers and their families, builds power among workers and communities, and centers Black and Brown people.

We are excited to host EARNCon in Cleveland, a city that for much of its history has been synonymous with innovation and progress. It’s the city where the term “Rock and Roll” was coined, where the first electrified public square was illuminated, and the first automobile was sold. In 1967, it became the first major city in the United States to elect a Black mayor.

During EARNCon, attendees will discuss the most pressing issues confronting workers leading into 2023, ranging from wages and labor standards to climate. The conference will provide a launch point for research and policy development that centers workers, communities of color, and women and serves to advance legislation that improves labor standards and strengthens worker power. This year, we will highlight the wave of unionization and labor organizing that has spread throughout the country and discuss what it means for state and local policymaking.

The work ahead of us is ambitious as we focus on an equitable recovery for all workers and center those that have kept our economy running through a challenging pandemic. We hope you will join us and your fellow network leaders in economics, policy, labor, academia, and community organizing to develop ideas and strategies for building worker power, improving job quality, and building equitable state and local economies.

Click here to view additional details about EARNCon, including our mandatory COVID-19 protocols.

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EARNCon Plenary: Voices from the frontlines of new union organizing: Worker power, state policy, and racial, gender, and economic justice

September 29 @ 8:00 am - 9:30 am


  • Jennifer Sherer (Moderator), Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN)
  • Tia Banks, SEIU Local 512 – Virginia
  • Jacob Oldefest, Denver Health Workers United (CWA)
  • Libby Vasey, Ohio Federation of Teachers (AFT)


Session Description

This plenary will feature workers sharing their motivations and strategies for organizing new unions in public services, health care, and other frontline occupations, while illustrating opportunities to expand state and local policies that advance worker power. Workers across the country are organizing new unions to improve their work lives and the public services they provide, often against long odds, and sometimes without full legal rights to unionize and collectively bargain. Such rights are essential for all workers, yet millions of workers lack full union rights due to long-standing occupational exclusions in federal labor laws. Millions more face steep barriers to unionization in temp work, gig work, franchised industries, or other “fissured” workplaces. Rooted in racism and sexism, these exclusions and barriers contribute to economic, racial, and gender inequalities across the labor market and economy—while leaving it up to each state to set policies on union rights for millions of workers. This session will consider lessons from workers’ experiences in recent organizing campaigns from states with a range of strong or weak union laws, the difference unions make in workers’ lives and to the public good, and how state policies shape workers’ ability to build power.


September 29
8:00 am - 9:30 am
Event Tags:


Economic Analysis & Research Network (EARN) at Economic Policy Institute (EPI)


The Westin Cleveland Downtown
777 Saint Clair Avenue Northeast
Cleveland, OH 44114 United States
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The Economic Policy Institute would like to thank the following funders for their ongoing and generous support for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN): 
  • Anonymous  
  • American Federation of Teachers 
  • Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust 
  • Ford Foundation  
  • International Association of Machinists  
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Kresge Foundation  
  • National Association of Letter Carriers  
  • National Education Association 
  • Marguerite Casey Foundation 
  • Omidyar Network
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Service Employees International Union 
  • Surdna Foundation 
  • United Auto Workers  
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters 
  • United Food and Commercial Workers 
  • United Steelworkers of America 
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation

EARNCon 2022

September 28-30

We are thrilled about the prospect of seeing you and hope you’ll join us this year in Cleveland at the Westin Cleveland Downtown from Wednesday, September 28 – Friday, September 30, 2022.