The Working Families Alliance is a 501(c)(4) political organization headquartered in Newark, New Jersey and affiliated with the Working Families Organization, a left-wing political organization and offshoot of New York’s labor union-backed Working Families Party. Working Families Alliance is aligned with labor unions like the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), as well as left-wing advocacy groups like Sierra Club, Garden State Equality, and BlueWaveNJ.
The Working Families Alliance endorses left-wing political candidates, advocates for left-wing economic and social policies, and has taken a proactive part in the “Resistance” movement opposed to the Trump administration.
Overview of the Organization
The New Jersey Working Families Alliance is a political organization founded in association with New York’s Working Families Party in 2008 or 2007. The Working Families Alliance fights for left-wing social, economic, and environmental policy in the Garden State.
The Working Families Alliance calls the New Jersey economy “out of whack,” claiming that all income gains since the Great Recession went to the wealthy. The Working Families Alliance has called for a $15 minimum wage throughout New Jersey, paid sick day laws, higher taxes on the wealthy, an end to certain business tax breaks, expansion of early voting, online and automatic voter registration, and the resignation of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R).
In their most recent platform for the 2017 New Jersey state elections, the Working Families Alliance also called for:
- Forcing private employers to pay “living wages” and provide greater benefits for employees
- Expanding the inheritance and property taxes
- Legalizing marijuana
- Instituting a carbon tax
- Decriminalizing certain drug offenses
- Increasing public funding for abortion providers
- Allowing transgender people to alter their birth certificates to list a sex contrary to their biology
- Expanding illegal immigrants’ access to driver’s licenses and financial aid for education
- Reducing carbon emissions
- Expanding publicly provided pre-school and full-day kindergarten
The Working Families Alliance successfully pushed to institute a paid sick leave mandate in Plainfield, New Jersey, and gathered 2,200 signatures to do the same in Trenton. The city council later passed the measure by a large margin.
There is no centralized list of donors to the Working Families Alliance, and the organization does not provide a public account of its funding sources. Recent tax documents reveal that out of the Alliance’s over $968,000 in revenue, $25,911 came from an annual gala, $135,597 were received from membership dues, $37,476 was made from “program service revenue,” and $769,500 was received through other contributions and grants. Reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor show that labor unions provided $65,705 in revenue to the Alliance in 2016.
Analilia Mejia is the executive director of the Working Families Alliance, serving since January 2014. She was previously a political director for SEIU 32BJ and worked for the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network. In April of 2015, Mejia was named a “Champion of Change” by the Obama Administration for her work promoting paid sick leave legislation.
Protests and Controversy
In 2017, The Working Families Alliance seemingly contradicted many of its progressive ideals, endorsing Wall Street billionaire and former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy over the New Jersey state chair for the Bernie Sanders campaign, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) in the Democratic primary for Governor of New Jersey. The Working Families Alliance had endorsed U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) in his run for the Democratic presidential primary against Hillary Clinton.
The Working Families Alliance also joined the Resistance Coalition, a group run by New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver (D) designed to offer “legislative resistance” to proposals from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress. This includes “instating Obama-era environmental protections lifted by the Trump administration, minimizing ‘wage theft’ they say Trump’s budget cuts would aggravate, and divesting pension investments from companies that sign up to build Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.” Other members of the Resistance Coalition include the Communications Workers of America, the New Jersey Amalgamated Transit Union, Blue Wave New Jersey, and the Sierra Club.
Working Families Alliance has led multiple protests of President Donald Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, including organizing several derisive motorcades featuring anti-Trump slogans. One held in mid-August had a sparse attendance of only nine people, according to Facebook.