Coworker.org (Coworker) is an organization that provides organizing tools and training for workers supporting left-of-center and labor union-aligned policies including wage and hour enforcement, working condition negotiations, and campaigns for paid family leave. 1 2
Coworker.org is a left-of-center non-profit project that helps workers launch campaigns to improve working conditions and wages and provides the tools to help accomplish those ends. 4A project of and funded by left-of-center New Venture Fund, Coworker provides funds, leadership development, and information and how-to guides on labor and employment law. 5
Coworker.org provides guidance for those wishing to start a workplace campaign. Notable campaigns include fighting sexual harassment at Comcast, helping Lyft and Uber drivers deal with high gas prices, and conducting research on the use of technology in hiring and firing decisions. 6 7 8 9
Coworker has a focus on organizing at Starbucks. It claims to have networked some 15% of the company’s global workforce for change in the company’s dress code, tattoo policy, wages, scheduling practices, and handling of drug syringes. 10 11
For instance, a barista in a Georgia Starbucks initiated a petition designed to change Starbucks policy of requiring coverage of visible tattoos while on the job. Coworker helped shape the petition, gain its distribution to their Starbucks network and gain publicity for the campaign. Employees are now allowed to have visible tattoos. Similar campaigns have been executed at Jimmy John’s and Skechers. 12
Coworker has expressed support for a boycott of Shipt, Target’s delivery service, for better safety and protective equipment; unionization of drag performers; AMC employees seeking holiday and overtime pay; and crowd-sourced wage transparency. 13 14 15 16 17
Jess Kutch, co-founder and co-executive director, was previously organizing director at Change.org and pioneered digital strategies for the labor movement at Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She is a job quality fellow at the Aspen Institute and former senior fellow for the New Organizing Institute and fellow at Echoing Green. 19 20
Michelle Miller, co-founder and co-executive director, is an Ashoka fellow and previously worked in creative media to advance Service Employees International Union (SEIU) campaigns. She serves on the boards of Arts and Democracy and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. 21
Aisha Satterwhite, managing director, and formerly managing director at left-of-center Blue State Digital where she worked on advocacy and political campaigns for the Ford Foundation, SEIU, NEA, and President Obama. She was a digital strategy and engagement consultant to the Human Rights Campaign and served as board president at Hannah House. 22 23
Coworker.org had a reported budget for 2019 of $1,454,000. 24
The organization’s independent tax filings are done via the IRS e-postcard and claim gross receipts under $50,000 each year since inception. 25
In 2013, the SEIU labor union reported providing Coworker with $200,000. 26
- “Our Projects.” Coworker, June 16, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/our-projects/.
- “Campaign Support.” Coworker, May 12, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/campaign-support/.
- Hayden R. Ludwig. “Big Money in Dark Shadows: Arabella Advisors’ Half-billion-dollar ‘Dark Money’ Network.” Capital Research Center (DarkMoneyATM.org). https://darkmoneyatm.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/CRC_Arabella-Advisors-Dark-Money_small.pdf
- “Michelle Miller: Ashoka: Everyone a Changemaker.” Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.ashoka.org/el/fellow/michelle-miller.
- “Resource Library: Coworker.org.” Coworker. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/resource-library/.
- “Gig Economy.” Coworker, May 8, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/projects/gig-economy/.
- “I’m Fighting Sexual Harassment at Comcast.” Coworker.org. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://www.coworker.org/petitions/i-m-fighting-sexual-harassment-at-comcast.
- “Uber & Lyft: Reverse the Rate Cut.” Coworker.org. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://www.coworker.org/petitions/uber-lyft-reverse-the-rate-cut.
- “Workplace Policy Research.” Coworker, May 11, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/projects/workplace-policy-research/.
- “STARBUCKS EMPLOYEES.” Coworker, May 8, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/projects/starbucks-employees/.
- “Starbucks Announces Changes after Baristas Speak Out.” Coworker, June 9, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/starbucks-announces-changes-after-baristas-speak-out/.
- “Employees Are Changing Dress Codes Through Collective Action.” Coworker, May 11, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/resources/employees-are-changing-dress-codes-through-collective-action/.
- “Coworker.org.” Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/pg/teamcoworker/posts/?ref=page_internal.
- “Provide Shipt Shoppers with Hazard Pay and Expand COVID-19 Paid Leave.” Coworker.org. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://www.coworker.org/petitions/provide-shipt-shoppers-with-hazard-pay-and-expand-covid-19-paid-leave-1?fbclid=IwAR0aXl1mhpp27bDj5WU-x-Mzax_30mBMb8O9aegqKgkN7Xnxr-B2KPJbDSI.
- “Werk Is Work! Set a Minimum Booking Fee for SF Bay Drag Performers!” Coworker.org. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://www.coworker.org/petitions/no-pay-is-a-drag-sf-bay-drag-employers-set-a-min-booking-fee?utm_source=facebook.
- “AMC Is a Large Company with Revenue to AFFORD to PAY EVERY INDIVIDUAL Employee O/T H/P Sick Leave.” Coworker.org. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://www.coworker.org/petitions/amending-motion-picture-theater-overtime-exempt-rule-from-flsa?fbclid=IwAR1qafjQl19Uj4HQbAgR_VmrRBWM4g7XGu3T-RGt5uDlFpk3Y69KeQ_NYWE.
- Coworker.org. “Crowdsourced Wage Transparency Spreadsheets Are Going ‘Viral’. Are You Ready to Get Involved?” Medium. Medium, December 4, 2019. https://medium.com/@TeamCoworker/crowdsourced-wage-transparency-spreadsheets-are-going-viral-are-you-ready-to-get-involved-656f5b095402.
- “The White House Summit on Worker Voice.” National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration. Accessed May 30, 2020. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/campaign/worker-voice.
- “Jess Kutch.” The Aspen Institute. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/our-people/jess-kutch/
- “Jess Kutch.” Personal Democracy Forum. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://personaldemocracy.com/jess-kutch.
- “About Us.” Coworker, May 12, 2020. https://home.coworker.org/about-us/.
- “Aisha Satterwhite – Speaker.” Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.paconferenceforwomen.org/speakers/aisha-satterwhite/.
- “Aisha Satterwhite.” Linked In. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/aishasatterwhite/.
- “Michelle Miller: Ashoka: Everyone a Changemaker.” Ashoka. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://www.ashoka.org/el/fellow/michelle-miller.
- “IRS.gov Applications.” 403. Accessed May 29, 2020. https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/displayAll.do?dispatchMethod=displayAllInfo.
- Service Employees International Union, Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2013, Schedule 16 and Schedule 17 https://olms.dol-esa.gov/query/orgReport.do?rptId=550722&rptForm=LM2Form