Non-profit

One Pennsylvania

Website:

www.onepa.org/

Location:

Philadelphia, PA

Tax ID:

45-2043538

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Formation:

2011

Executive Director:

Erin Kramer

One Pennsylvania (or OnePA) is a left-of-center activist group associated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Its president, Gabe Morgan, is a vice president of 32BJ, an SEIU local union active throughout the northeastern United States; its executive director, Erin Kramer, is also a career SEIU organizer. [1]

Initially known as One Pittsburgh, the division focused on communities in Allegheny County to push left-progressive and labor union-aligned economic messaging, promoting labor union-aligned messaging to non-union audiences. [2]

In 2016, One Pittsburgh expanded into Philadelphia and rebranded as One Pennsylvania. [3]

In addition to support from the SEIU, One Pennsylvania is also associated with the Democracy Alliance (DA), a network of left-progressive institutional and individual big-money donors. [4]

Ties to SEIU

One Pennsylvania is substantially funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a prominent labor union closely aligned with and a major institutional supporter of the Democratic Party, and its senior staff and board members are SEIU employees and officers. The SEIU and the SEIU-supported Fast Food Workers Committee have provided OnePA with hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support. [5] In 2013, SEIU reported paying OnePA $1.9 million for “support for political advocacy.” [6]

Erin Kramer is One Pennsylvania’s executive director. She has about 20 years experience in union organizing and community organizing, primarily with the SEIU. She previously organized Head Start workers in West Virginia. [7]

One Pennsylvania president Gabriel Morgan is vice president of 32BJ, a major local of the SEIU representing building services workers throughout the northeast United States, and leads the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council, a federation of SEIU-affiliated unions that partner in state-level advocacy. [8]

Other members of the One Pennsylvania board are also SEIU employees and officers. [9]

People

Wesley Porter Washington Gadsden is the statewide field director. He has been a community organizer for political and cultural issues across the state of Pennsylvania. Dana Bell is the West Philadelphia canvas director. Bell leads teams of voter registration canvassers for the organization. [10]

Cecily Harwitt is the Eastern Pennsylvania organizing director. She has experience in community organizing, organized labor, and religious-left organizing. She is from Los Angeles but came to Boston for the Jewish Organizing Initiative. After that, she moved to Philadelphia to work for the POWER religious-left organizing group. [11]

Angel Gober is the Western Pennsylvania organizing director. She has more than 15 years of experience in organizing. She started building a tenants’ union in public housing. She went on to be a community organizer for housing and education issues. She was also the campaign manager for school board campaigns and co-wrote a plan to prevent the “school-to-prison-pipeline.” [12]

Advocacy

One Pennsylvania conducts left-progressive advocacy on education, labor and economic policy, and environmentalism. Activists regularly speak at school board, city council, and county government meetings and lobby the Pennsylvania legislature. [13]

Education

One Pennsylvania lobbied Pittsburgh Public Schools to stop funding police and security in schools and move more money to mental health for students. OnePA would also oppose school choice policies. [14]

The organization has also strongly advocated for a universal government pre-school system at either the state or municipal level. [15]

Labor and Economics

The organization has lobbied the Philadelphia City Council to increase regulations over the hours of workers in the food service, hospitality, and retail industries, all targets for union organizing by OnePA’s financial backers in SEIU. OnePA called for Philadelphia to adopt policies to for a “fair workweek” similar to what passed in New York City; Seattle, Washington and the state of Oregon. The organization was able to successfully lobby for the passage of the new standard, as well as a $15 per hour minimum wage. [16]

OnePA lost out in backing a 2018 effort to hike property taxes in Allegheny County. The organization also pushed the Pittsburgh to give a multi-million boost for child care, early education and after school activities for children from lower-income families. [17]

The organization has heavily lobbied the Pennsylvania state legislature to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour in alignment with SEIU’s “Fight for $15” campaign. [18]

Environmentalism

The Democracy Alliance, a major coalition of left-progressive institutional and large-dollar individual donors,[19] has funded the group and identified it in its 2020 investment portfolio for fighting a proposed oil refinery project in a low-income community. The Democracy Alliance also praised the group for mobilizing voters and educating them on the candidates position regarding climate change. [20]

Other Issues

One Pennsylvania filed a motion with the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and its Pittsburgh chapter, along with the AFL-CIO-affiliated A. Philip Randolph Institute to defend Allegheny County officials over the county’s compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election-integrity organization, sued alleging the county has not complied with the law’s provision to make an “reasonable” effort to maintain updated voter lists. [21]

OnePA unsuccessfully opposed an expansion of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The Pittsburgh City Council voted 7-2 to approve expansion despite strong opposition whipped up by OnePA and other left-wing activists in the city. [22] The SEIU has targeted UPMC support staff for unionization. [23]

OnePA organized a rally in 2017, the first year of the Trump administration, to advocate for keeping the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that granted legal status to certain classes of illegal immigrants. OnePA Executive Director spoke at the rally, saying, “We want a clean DREAM Act, one that does not have any funding for a border wall attached.” [24]

Erie County United

One Pennsylvania established an affiliate group, Erie County United. Kramer said that both organizations are promoting “economic and racial justice by putting power back in the hands of people,” and added, “We have hundreds of dues-paying members in communities across the state that are working on local issues important in their cities.” [25]

References

  1. Ludwig, Hayden, and Kevin Mooney. “Plans to Flip Pennsylvania: One Pennsylvania.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, March 23, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/plans-to-flip-pennsylvania-part-5/. ^
  2. Our Story. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/our-story/ ^
  3. Our Story. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/our-story/ ^
  4. Ludwig, Hayden, and Kevin Mooney. “Plans to Flip Pennsylvania: One Pennsylvania.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, March 23, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/plans-to-flip-pennsylvania-part-5/. ^
  5. Data compiled from Annual Reports of Labor Organizations filed with the Office of Labor Management Standards. Queries conducted July 23, 2020. ^
  6. Service Employees International Union, Annual Report of a Labor Organization (Form LM-2), 2013, Schedule 16 https://olms.dol-esa.gov/query/orgReport.do?rptId=550722&rptForm=LM2Form ^
  7. Our Team. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/ourteam/ ^
  8. “Gabe Morgan.” 32BJ SEIU, September 17, 2019. https://www.seiu32bj.org/gabe-morgan/. ^
  9. Ludwig, Hayden, and Kevin Mooney. “Plans to Flip Pennsylvania: One Pennsylvania.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, March 23, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/plans-to-flip-pennsylvania-part-5/. ^
  10. Our Team. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/ourteam/ ^
  11. Our Team. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/ourteam/ ^
  12. Our Team. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/ourteam/ ^
  13. Our Story. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/our-story/ ^
  14. “Idea for Presidential Candidates’ Forum in Pittsburgh Started in Nation’s Capital.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 9, 2019. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2019/12/08/democratic-presidential-candidates-democrats-education-forum-pittsburgh/stories/201912080039 ^
  15. Schneider, Sarah. “Rudiak to Push for Pre-K Funding Task Force.” WESA. February 27, 2017. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.wesa.fm/post/rudiak-push-pre-k-funding-task-force#stream/0 ^
  16. Fair Workweek PHL. OnePA. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://onepa.org/fairworkweekphl/ ^
  17. Lord, Richard. “The Issue of Our Time.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 30, 2019. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/the-issue-of-our-time-growing-up-through-the-cracks-allegheny-county-conference-community-development/ ^
  18. Addison, Rebecca. “Raising the Minimum Wage is Gaining Support Across Pennsylvania.” Pittsburgh City Paper. July 7, 2017. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2017/07/07/raising-the-minimum-wage-is-gaining-support-across-the-state ^
  19. Berman, Ari. “Big $$ for Progressive Politics.” The Nation. Oct. 16, 2006. Accessed June 21, 2017. https://www.thenation.com/article/big-progressive-politics/ ^
  20. 2020 Investment Portfolio. The Democracy Alliance. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/04/Democracy-Alliance-2020-Investment-Portfolio-Report.pdf ^
  21. Martines, Jamie. “League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Seek to Intervene in Voter Roll Lawsuit.” Trib Live. March 2, 2020. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/league-of-women-voters-of-pennsylvania-pittsburgh-seek-to-join-voter-roll-lawsuit/ ^
  22. Reid, Liz and Davis, Kathleen. “City Council Approves UPMC Mercy Expansion, Despite Outrage From Community.” WESA. July 31, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.wesa.fm/post/city-council-approves-upmc-mercy-expansion-despite-outrage-community#stream/0 ^
  23. Lindstrom, Natasha. “UPMC Workers Looking to Unionize Plan to Confront Hospital Board Members,” May 26, 2019. https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/upmc-workers-looking-to-unionize-plan-to-confront-hospital-board-members/. ^
  24. Deto, Ryan. “Protesters Gather in Pittsburgh Area and Washington, D.C. to Defend DACA.” Pittsburgh City Paper. September 6, 2017. https://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2017/09/06/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-area-and-washington-dc-to-defend-daca ^
  25. Flowers, Kevin. “Erie County United Pushes for Social Justice.” Go Erie. July 22, 2018. https://www.goerie.com/news/20180722/erie-county-united-pushes-for-social-justice ^
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One Pennsylvania


Philadelphia, PA