Governor Pat Quinn (D-IL)
Governor Pat Quinn was sworn in as the 41st Governor of Illinois on January 29th, 2009. The Governor’s efforts to boost the Illinois economy include passing business and tech-friendly legislation that strengthens Illinois’ place as capitol of the Midwest. Quinn has served the people of Illinois for more than 30 years as both a citizen and a public official. He has organized grassroots petition drives signed by more than 4 million voters, walked across the state in support of decent health care for all, and proposed historic tax reform for working families. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, serving until his succession as Governor in January 2009, and served one term as State Treasurer from 1991 to 1995.
After nineteen years of working her dream job at the Goodyear tire factory, Lilly Ledbetter received an anonymous note revealing that she was making thousands less per year than the men in her position. Devastated, she filed a sex discrimination case against Goodyear, which she won—and then heartbreakingly lost on appeal. Over the next eight years, her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where she lost again: the court ruled that she should have filed suit within 180 days of her first unequal paycheck–despite the fact that she had no way of knowing that she was being paid unfairly all those years. In a dramatic moment, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read her dissent from the bench, urging Lilly to fight back. And fight Lilly did, becoming the namesake of Barack Obama’s first official piece of legislation as president. Today, she is a tireless advocate for change, traveling the country to urge women and minorities to claim their civil rights.
Ken Georgetti is President of the 3.2 million member Canadian Labour Congress, which brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. First elected at age 46 in May 1999 as the youngest president in the CLC’s history, Ken comes from a family of union activists in Trail, British Columbia.
Tom Mulcair was elected leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party on March 24th, 2012. He was first elected to the Quebec National Assembly in 1994, as Member of National Assembly for Chomedey. He was re-elected three times. During his career in provincial politics, Tom Mulcair served as critic for Justice and for Industry, as well as Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Senator Sherrod Brown has earned a reputation as an independent voice for ordinary Ohioans and middle class families, in the Senate and prior to that when he represented Ohio’s 13th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He understands that representing people is more important than partisan politics. He is a man of principle who has made a career of standing up to special interests in Washington and fighting for the issues that matter to working families.
Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles)
Growing up in the working class communities of El Sereno and Highland Park, John Perez’s parents taught him the value of hard work and community service. After attending the University of California at Berkeley, he became active in the Labor Movement, where he spent over 15 years working to create jobs, expand health care and protect workers’ rights. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, John served as Political Director for the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 324, and previously served in a similar position for the California Labor Federation. In January 2010, he was elected as the 68th Speaker of the California Assembly.
A celebrated and acclaimed actress, Ashley Judd has starred in 20 films, both box office hits and independent treasures, and on Broadway. She is also a dedicated humanitarian. Her work as an activist dates back to her undergraduate years at the University of Kentucky. At present, she serves on the Board of Directors of Population Services International, Defenders of Wildlife, and Shaker Village. She has traveled, literally, around the world, visiting grassroots programs that focus on poverty alleviation, public health, human rights and social justice. Entrusted with the sacred stories shared with her by the vulnerable, and often exploited yet remarkably resilient populations to whom she has dedicated much of her life, Ashley then speaks truth to power, carrying the message of empowerment and equality to heads of state, donors, the private sector, and the media.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Jan Schakowsky was elected to represent Illinois’ 9th Congressional District in 1998, after serving for eight years in the Illinois State Assembly. Schakowsky serves in the House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip. Schakowsky believes the number one priority in this Congress is to create jobs and restore a vibrant middle class. A longtime grassroots organizer and consumer advocate, Schakowsky began her leadership career in 1969 when she led the fight that put freshness dates on products sold in the supermarket.
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth ran for Congress in 2012 to advocate for the practical solutions and cooperation needed to rebuild our economy and ensure that every American has a chance to achieve the American Dream. Duckworth continues to drill as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.
Ron Oswald joined the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) in 1987 and was elected General Secretary in 1997. His international union experience prior to joining the IUF in 1987 included work with unions in the Caribbean, West Africa and El Salvador. Since his election, Ron has led the IUF to significant success in its struggle for international union recognition from major transnational companies in the food and hotel sectors – recognition that allowed for a level of pioneering international union/management engagement, particularly in relation to workers’ rights.
Philip J. Jennings has been General Secretary of Union Network International (UNI) Global Union since its creation on January 1st, 2000. At the time, Philip observed, “The creation of UNI is a thought-through strategy to take international trade union work to a new level of intensity to ‘change the rules of the game’.” As General Secretary, he is orchestrating the fight for dignity in the workplace, driving a plan for organizing the global workforce of skills and service workers in the new global labour market. UNI Global Union is the voice of 20 million service sector workers around the world. Through 900 affiliated unions, UNI represents workers in 150 countries in every region of the world.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
For 25 years, Nancy Pelosi has represented California’s 12th District in the House of Representatives. As the Democratic Leader of the House for the 113th Congress, Pelosi is focused on strengthening America’s middle class through job creation, reforming the political system to create clean campaigns and fair elections, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, and ensuring safety in America’s communities, neighborhoods and schools. From 2007-2011, Pelosi served as Speaker of the House, the first woman to do so in American history.
Sarita Gupta is the Executive Director of Jobs with Justice. Jobs with Justice is building a strong, progressive labor movement that works in coalition with community, faith and student organizations to build a broader global movement for economic and social justice. In over 45 communities in 25 states, Jobs with Justice local coalitions are organizing to address issues impacting working families.
Congressman John Lewis
Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” Congressman John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress. As a young activist, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then.
Senator Dick Durbin
Senator Dick Durbin serves as the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate. He is a longtime champion of worker and consumer rights. In response to the financial meltdown of 2008, Senator Durbin introduced a bill with the help of then-Professor Elizabeth Warren to create an independent financial watchdog who would look out for the needs of ordinary American families. This idea ultimately became the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Most recently, he was one of the authors of a comprehensive immigration reform bill which passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
Jim Hoffa is the General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Under his leadership, the Teamsters Union is winning industry-leading contracts, engaging in vigorous contract enforcement and organizing the unorganized. Hoffa has spent a lifetime preparing for the challenge of running the Teamsters Union. He knows, first-hand, what Teamsters can accomplish when they are united. Hoffa is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Union issues. As one of the most visible and outspoken critic of government trade policies and anti-worker corporate agendas, Hoffa is recognized as a leader on issues that affect working people.
Reverend Michael Walrond
Reverend Michael A. Walrond, Jr. is from the historic First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem. Reverend Walrond has worked effortlessly to build an innovative, relevant and groundbreaking ministry with a commitment to social justice. He played a vital role in getting living wage legislation passed through the New York City Council.
Monsignor John Gilchrist
For more than fifty years, Monsignor John Gilchrist has been a parish priest, high school teacher and chaplain. In addition to his role as Pastor Emeritus of Holy Cross Parish in Harrison, New Jersey, Gilchrist is the liaison to labor for the Archdiocese of Newark. Gilchrist has been a leading voice for social justice and interfaith dialogue issues.
Rabbi Larry Edwards
Rabbi Laurence “Larry” Edwards is Rabbi Emeritus of Or Chadash, and is also Rabbi in Residence for 2013-14 at Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park. Larry’s fondest hopes for the future include full marriage equality in the United States and beyond; the renewal of labor unions and decent living wages for working people everywhere; immigration reform that welcomes the stranger and includes the rights of LGBTQ persons. Rabbi Edwards is an accomplished and respected scholar and educator. He previously served as Hillel Rabbi at both Dartmouth College and Cornell University.
Reverend Dr. Ray Rivera
Reverend Dr. Ray Rivera founded the Latino Pastoral Action Center (LPAC). His vision was to develop an organization that dealt with social justice issues from a holistic perspective. Over the years, he has provided leadership and development and technical assistance to hundreds of churches and faith-based organizations across the United States. He aims to revitalize cities by guiding youth and adults to a lifelong calling of personal growth. He has been a major supporter in the fight to give New York City car wash workers the living wage that they deserve.