EARNCon 2022

Conference Details

Click for more conference details

During EARNCon, attendees discussed the most pressing issues confronting workers leading into 2023, ranging from wages and labor standards to climate. The conference provided a launch point for research and policy development that centers workers, communities of color, and women and served to advance legislation that improves labor standards and strengthens worker power. This year, we highlighted the wave of unionization and labor organizing that spread throughout the country and discussed what it meant for state and local policymaking. EARNCon 2022 included:

Pre-conference sessions

  • EARN 101 (Virtual) — Monday, September 26 from 1:00 – 2:00 PM —This workshop will be an excellent opportunity to meet EARN staff and learn about the network and our resources.
  • Data BootcampWednesday, September 28 from 1:30 – 4:30 PM — In this session, participants will use Current Population Survey (CPS) data to perform analyses in statistical software packages Stata and R.
  • EARN Directors’ Strategy MeetingWednesday, September 28 from 1:00 – 4:30 PM


Workshops on

  • Reproductive rights, economic justice, and racial justice – Thursday, September 29 from 1:45 – 3:00 PM —Experts and advocates discussed how income security and worker justice are deeply connected in the fight for abortion access, and explored how economic justice advocates have fought against attacks on reproductive rights in the states.
  • The care economy – Friday, September 30 from 11:15 – 12:30 PM — A session on what states can do to build care infrastructure, including a discussion of the equitable implementation of remaining relief dollars, narrative change to position childcare and elder care as public goods, and long-term base-building with a growing care movement centering racial and gender justice.
  • Unemployment insurance (UI) reform – Friday, September 30 from 9:45 – 11:00 AM —A discussion of what lessons can we draw from pandemic UI programs, why UI reform is vital for racial and gender equity, and what EARN groups and allies can do to promote reform that centers racial equity at the state level, while also mitigating harms and threats to unemployment insurance.
  • Gig workers, misclassification, and platform workers’ rights – Thursday, September 29 from 10:00 – 11:15 AM — What are the strategies (e.g., targeted enforcement of existing laws and policy campaigns to raise labor standards) that would make employee status more meaningful? How have gig workers have organized and what needs to happen to make platform work a decent job?
  • Good jobs, green jobs, climate justice, and environmental justice – Friday, September 30 from 9:45 – 11:00 AM — How can we leverage the need to transition away from fossil fuels to build a more equitable economy? What are states doing to combat climate change and clean up environmental damage, while creating good-paying, union jobs?
  • Organizing in right-to-work states and at-will states – Thursday, September 29 from 1:45 – 3:00 PM — Local, state, and federal governments are not adequately addressing the needs of working people and there is a clear need for long-term power building. This session introduced strategies for doing long-term work in hostile political environments.
  • Barriers to employment, the criminal legal system, and bail reform – Friday, September 30 from 11:15 AM  – 12:30 PM —EARN groups talked about their collective work on reforms to the criminal legal system. They shared their work focused on a range of specific issues including criminal fines and fees, occupational licensing, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, expungement, and cash bail.
  • Narrative strategy – Friday, September 30 from 9:45 – 11:00 AM — This session explored the use of the Race Class Narrative in different state-level campaigns, describe key lessons from ongoing messaging research, and teach participants how to develop an effective narrative strategy in their locality to push for pro-worker policies.
  • Effective partnerships between research and direct organizers — Friday, September 30 8:15 – 9:30 AM — This session included examples from across the EARN network highlighting ways groups have successfully formed partnerships with grassroots organizers and used their research to improve ongoing policy campaigns.
  • Policymaking at the municipal level and preemption — Thursday, September 29 from 10:00 – 11:15 AM — This session addressed the policy levers available to local governments to combat preemption and advance worker rights.
  • Tracking the demands of the civil rights movement from the 1960s until today — Thursday, September 29 from 10:00 – 11:15 AM — This session identified the policies and platforms championed during the civil rights movement and determines which policies were implemented, which have yet to be realized, and what this meant for racial justice.
  • Stratification Economics: Policy Framework for a Post-COVID America — Thursday, September 29 from 1:45 – 3:00 PM — This session discussed the implications of the intersection of race and health, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, on workers. It introduced the work of the stratification economics research community, and highlights how its policy approach grounded in dignity for all workers can break down identity-based hierarchy throughout our economy.
  • Rebuilding the Public Sector — Friday, September 30  from 8:15 – 9:30 AM — In this session, EPI experts led a discussion among researchers, public sector union representatives, and EARN groups talking to lawmakers and community leaders, to figure out what was happening beneath the headline numbers; how it was affecting public services; what lawmakers and advocates could do about it; and what it all meant with the threat of recession and austerity looming.
  • State uses of federal funds — Friday, September 30 from 8:15 – 9:30 AM — This session highlighted state and local opportunities to ensure that major federally-funded infrastructure projects benefited workers and their communities, delivered on equity, job quality, and climate goals, and built worker power.
  • Immigrant worker rights, organizing, and excluded workers — Friday, September 30 from 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM — This session highlighted the ongoing movement for worker rights for immigrants and excluded workers.



This year, registration for the full three-day conference is $450 per person. Your conference ticket includes meals on all three days of the conference except dinner on Thursday night. If you do not wish to attend the full conference, you may register for individual days at $175 per person per day.

Please click here to register for EARNCon through Eventbrite.


Location and Accommodations

The conference will be held at the Westin Cleveland Downtown Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Cleveland. EARN has negotiated a discounted room rate of $199 per night for conference attendees who book their hotel rooms by Thursday, September 1, 2022. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that the discounted room rate will be available after that date. Please book your rooms early!

Hotel reservations

Please note your hotel room is not automatically booked when you register for EARNCon. You must book your hotel room(s) by 5:00 pm ET on September 1 to receive the discounted room rate in the EARN block.

After registering for the conference, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to book your hotel room(s) online. You may also use the button below to reserve a room.

You will want to reserve your hotel room right away as reservations at the conference hotel can fill up quickly and we cannot guarantee a hotel room for every conference registrant.

If for any reason you have trouble booking your room, please call the Westin Cleveland Downtown directly at (216) 771-7700 between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm CST and mention that you are booking as part of the EARN Conference.

Click here to register for your hotel room.


COVID Safety and Protocols

To mitigate the risks posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will be requiring strict adherence to the COVID safety protocols described in this email. As you prepare to attend EARNCON, we ask that you please review the full contents of this email in advance and plan accordingly to bring the required documentation and submit the required testing upon arrival at the conference each day. If you have any questions regarding these measures or any other aspect of conference safety, please do not hesitate to reach out to the EARN staff at [email protected].

  • Vaccinations: All attendees at EARNCon must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 via vaccines approved by the FDA or WHO. We strongly urge attendees to also receive all boosters for which they are eligible. Attendees must bring proof of vaccination to be admitted to EARNCon. Any attendees who are unable to present a vaccine card, a photo of their vaccine card, or similar digital record of their vaccination status will be denied entry to the conference.
  • Masking: All attendees will be required to wear masks over their mouths and noses in all indoor spaces at EARNCON, except when actively eating or drinking, or when speaking as a presenter in one of the conference sessions. Attendees should bring masks that they can wear comfortably for the duration of the conference. The CDC recommends KN95 or N95 masks or respirators to prevent the spread of COVID. EARN will provide masks at the registration desk for attendees who misplace or lose theirs.
  • Testing: All attendees will be required to show proof of a negative rapid antigen test each day of the conference. EARN will provide rapid tests for all attendees outside the registration area of the conference space. Attendees should allow time in their plans to retrieve a test kit and take the test before entering the conference space each day. (Results from an FDA-approved, at-home test kit provided by the attendee and taken that same day before arriving at the conference site are also permissible.) After showing or texting a photo of the test kit results to conference staff, attendees will be cleared to attend the day’s events.
  • Social distancing: Whenever possible, EARN staff will try to make adequate space in all conference rooms to allow for social distancing. During mealtimes, we will provide to-go boxes on the buffet line so that attendees who are uncomfortable eating in the conference ballroom may eat their meals at their convenience outdoors or in their rooms.
  • COVID exposure: In the event you test positive for COVID, please alert an event organizer immediately. You will be directed to quarantine in your room, and EARN staff will help you schedule a PCR test at Care Alliance Health Center, which offers testing daily from 9:30 – 4:00 pm. We will notify attendees in the event of an exposure, maintaining the anonymity of anyone testing positive. However, we would encourage anyone testing positive to notify those attendees with whom they may have been in close contact. IPhone users can help us conduct contact tracing by activating contact tracing in their settings (click here for instructions).
  • Experiencing symptoms: If at any point in the conference, you feel unwell or begin experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we ask that you please exit the conference space and do not return to conference activities until you are feeling better and can demonstrate a negative rapid COVID test. EARN staff will provide additional COVID test kits to anyone who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 and can help you schedule a PCR test or seek medical treatment if you require it.

Please note that in the event of a COVID exposure, EPI/EARN will not be able to refund anyone’s conference registration fees, hotel costs, or travel expenses. EPI/EARN will also not be responsible for any costs associated with PCR testing, medical treatment, or quarantine of conference attendees.