2022 Long Island Jobs with Justice Conference
Organizing for Economic Justice:
Creative Opportunities on Long Island
Friday, November 18th, 2022
9am-3:45pm (sign-in begins @ 8:30am)
Sisters of St. Joseph
1725 Brentwood Road Building 2 (Academy), Brentwood
Opening Plenary – “The Future We Need”
Keynote – Erica Smiley, Director, Jobs with Justice (National)
Workshop Session 1 (choose one)
10 – 11:30pm
WORKSHOP 1: From Relief To Repair: Excluded No More on Long Island
The COVID pandemic raised public awareness about essential and excluded workers as perhaps never before and shed light on the gaps that exist within our social safety net that unjustly shut workers out because of immigration status or the sector in which they work. This awareness led to greater organizing across all sectors of work, with one victory being the creation of the 2021 New York State Excluded Workers Fund (EWF). The fund was depleted within 8 weeks and in 2022 the state failed to replenish it. At this workshop, the Long Island Fund for Excluded Workers Coalition will provide a campaign update and lay out how you can get involved on Long Island in efforts to create a permanent NYS Excluded No More Fund that will allow currently excluded workers access to permanent unemployment compensation.
Facilitators: Members of the Long Island Fund for Excluded Workers Coalition
WORKSHOP 2: Equitable Economic Development: Models for Building Community Wealth
In place of the current prevalence of an extractive economic model of development, we are seeking to develop an alternative program for revitalizing and empowering local communities, with particular emphasis on those that have been historically neglected. We are working with local community organizations, with unions, and other progressive organizations interested in equitable economic development. An example of extractive economic activity might be providing tax breaks to lure businesses such as Walmart, all of whose profits leave the local community for its distant corporate headquarters while paying minimal salaries and benefits to its workers. A revitalizing economic alternative, on the other hand, would have the productive activity return the benefits in wages, profits, and new investment to the communities that generated them. This workshop will explore different models of community wealth building on Long Island.
Overview: Andy Morrison, New Economy Project
Moderator: David Sprintzen, Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island
Sister Joan Gallagher, CSJ, Sisters of St. Joseph
Maria del Mar Piedrabuena, Long Island Farmworker Cooperative
Brandy Watson, Hempstead Community Land Trust
Roger Clayman, Long Island Federation of Labor
WORKSHOP 3: Opportunities to Uplift Long Island’s Forgotten Working Poor
The New York State Self-sufficiency Standard documents show a Long Island family of four requires an income of at least $100,000 to pay for basic necessities. While only 6 percent of Long Islanders are “officially” poor, using the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) definition of poverty as $27,750 for a family of four, studies and common-sense show that the true poverty definition for Long Island is 200 percent of FPL or $55,500 for a family of four. Using this more accurate measure, 20 percent of Long Islanders are poor while many more are struggling to make ends meet. These are Long Island’s hidden and largely forgotten working poor. This workshop will address new approaches to lifting working poor people out of poverty by addressing root causes of their economic insecurity such as housing, school segregation, and lack of job readiness.
Moderator: Richard Koubek, Community Outreach Coordinator, Long Island Jobs with Justice / Chair, Welfare to Work Commission of Suffolk County Legislature
Laura Harding, Executive Director, Erase Racism
Ian Wilder, Executive Director, Long Island Housing Services
Martha Maffei, Executive Director, Sepa Mujer
Anthony Guerrero, Political Director, SMART Local 28
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President/CEO, Family and Children’s Association
Workshop Session 2 (choose one)
1 – 2:30pm
WORKSHOP 4: The Local Politics of Educational Equity on Long Island
America’s culture wars have come to Long Island with grassroots organizations campaigning to take over school and library boards with candidates opposed to students learning about issues such as racial and gender inequity. Workshop panelists will explore the politics of educational inclusion on Long Island through parental, student, educator and union advocacy to maintain diversity in public schools and their curricula around issues of race, ethnicity, class and gender.
Moderator: Joylette Williams, Professor of English, Nassau Community College
Nancy Goroff, Co-founder, Long Island Strong Schools Alliance
Richard Haase, President, Half Hollow Hills Teachers Association
Shoshana Hershkowitz, Statewide Organizer for Education and Childcare, Citizen Action of NY
Veronique Bailey, Director of Math & Science – Hempstead School District, President – NAACP Huntington Chapter
WORKSHOP 5: How Coalitions Build Regional Power for an Inclusive Long Island
This interactive session will provide an understanding about how coalitions form and how they can operate as an organizing method and strategy. Discussions will explore: the unique differences between campaign coalitions and movement building coalitions, when and how we build them, and what is required to build a long-term justice movement more broadly on Long Island.
Facilitator: Ani Halasz, Long Island Jobs with Justice
WORKSHOP 6: Prophetic Action: Building a Faith Based Justice Network on Long Island
This session draws from the activities of the LI Jobs with Justice AMOS Faith and Justice Engagement Workgroup, a group of committed faith leaders thinking through how to build justice focused interdenominational and interfaith organizing and advocacy power on Long Island. We will hear about interfaith models from other parts of the country, barriers to Long Island congregational engagement in justice advocacy, and suggested strategies for overcoming these barriers.
Facilitators/Moderators: Long Island Jobs with Justice AMOS Committee Members
Dan Heston, Director of Agricultural Programs, Peconic Land Trust
Crystal Walthall, Executive Director, Faith in New York
Rev. Aaron K. Stauffer, Vanderbilt Divinity School
Richard Koubek, Community Outreach Coordinator, Long Island Jobs with Justice
CLOSING PLENARY – The Future of Work and Worker Organizing
Another economic outcome of COVID has been described as “the Great Resignation’: millions of workers questioning their jobs and quitting to find better working conditions and wages. In addition, restless workers are turning to unionization in numbers not seen in decades. Union victories in historically anti-union businesses such as local vineyards, Starbucks and Amazon have drawn wide attention, especially the grassroots organizing strategies that they have used to secure union victories. This workshop will explore these victories as models for future labor organizing on Long Island.
Moderator: Mary Anne Trasciatti, Director of Labor Studies at Hofstra University
Chris Smalls, President, Amazon Labor Union
Noemi Barrera, Organizer, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW
Nadia Marin-Molina, Co-Executive Director, NDLON