Working America

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Working America
Full name Working America
Founded 2003
Members 3.2 million[1][2]
Head union Karen Nussbaum, executive director
Affiliation AFL-CIO
Office location Washington, D.C.
Country United States

Working America is the political organizing arm of the AFL-CIO.[3] Its membership is made up of non-union individuals.[1] It is the largest non-union workers' group in the United States, with a self-reported membership of 3.2 million individuals.[2] Working America advocates for progressive policy issues. The organization recruits people in working-class neighborhoods on their doorsteps in an effort to persuade them to support labor-backed candidates at election time.[4][5]


The organization started as a two-state pilot project of the AFL-CIO in 2003.[6] The organization was launched nationally that fall. The organization's executive director is Karen Nussbaum.

In October 2005, the organization announced that it had enrolled 1 million members.[7] It reported a membership of 2.5 million by the fall of 2008.[8]


Working America undertook its first nationwide activities in the 2004 U.S. presidential election. It organized a "Show Us The Jobs" bus tour of workers throughout the Midwest. The tour was critical of President George W. Bush's policies.[9][10]

Senator Russ Feingold signing up as a member of Working America on August 4, 2008

Working America was active in the 2006 midterm congressional elections. More than 100,000 activists engaged in grassroots political electioneering.[11] Working America activists were credited by the press and Democrats for helping to deliver federal and state victories in Ohio and Pennsylvania.[12]

In 2007, Working America began a campaign to build support for universal health care. The group established a "Health Care Hustle" website on which consumers could post stories about how lack of health insurance or under-insurance led to significant financial, health or other problems. Working America promised to launch a campaign against the organization or corporation which received the most "horror stories." The effort built upon a previous campaign by Working America in mid-2006 in which the organization asked the public to submit stories about "bad bosses."[13]

In 2015, Working America led a "massive get-out-the-vote effort" to elect Democrat Jack Conway as Governor of Kentucky. Conway was defeated by Republican Matt Bevin.[14]

Policy positions[edit]

Working America opposes liquor store privatization.[2] It supports the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.[15] The organization advocates for an increased minimum wage and universal health care.[4]


  1. ^ a b Sixel, L.M. (March 21, 2012). "Sixel: Drive means everyone can join AFL-CIO". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Eidelson, Josh (April 17, 2013). "AFL-CIO's Non-Union Worker Group Headed Into Workplaces in Fifty States". The Nation. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Miller, Justin (November 4, 2015). "The Labor Prospect: Election Hangover". American Prospect. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Meyerson, Harold (Fall 2014). "The Seeds of a New Labor Movement". American Prospect. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Boselovic, Len (September 8, 2005). "Embattled AFL-CIO works to involve nonunion households". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Working America on the march". Seattle Times. November 11, 2007. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Rogers, Joel; Berry Freeman, Richard. What Workers Want. Cornell University Press. p. 204. ISBN 9780801473258. 
  8. ^ Moberg, David (August 29, 2008). "Labor's New Push". The Nation. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Taylor, T. Sean (March 23, 2004). "Labor to assail Bush's record on jobs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Labor bus tour highlights plight of unemployed, weak jobs market". USA Today. Associated Press. March 22, 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Von Bergen, "No Union? No Problem," Duluth News-Tribune, May 12, 2006.
  12. ^ Greenhouse, Steven (October 8, 2006). "Labor Goes Door to Door to Rally Suburban Voters". New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Sostek, Anya (March 2, 2007). "Unions take closer look at health-care stories". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Mahoney, Brian (November 4, 2015). "Kentucky elects right-to-work governor". Politico. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Working America represents at Medicaid Expansion Lobby Day". NC State AFL–CIO. March 27, 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 

External links[edit]