Working America Opens Office in Northeast Iowa
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – Working America is launching a high-impact outreach campaign to hold 75,000 conversations with working Iowans. The campaign will run from a new office in Cedar Rapids.
With more than 22,000 members across Iowa’s 99 counties, Working America will focus on mobilizing voters in Iowa’s cities as well as smaller and more rural communities to join with their neighbors to fight for good jobs and a fair economy. As the 3-million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, Working America unites working people who don’t have the benefit of a union on the job around a shared economic agenda.
“Showing up matters. Iowans in small, rural communities need to have their voices heard. Working America’s model of meeting people where they are at and listening to their concerns gets folks onboard and converts them into energized voters,” said former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Working America Education Fund board member. “Changing frustration into action — that’s what Working America will be doing in Iowa.”
Working America’s canvassers go door to door in working-class communities, giving disaffected voters the opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue about issues that are important to them. Canvassers hold engaging front-porch conversations and sustain the relationship through ongoing digital communications. Through this type of outreach, Working America has helped advance progressive policy change in cities across the country. In 2017, members in Minneapolis who work in retail testified, rallied and contacted their legislators en masse to help raise the city’s minimum wage and win access to sick and safe time.
“Working people in Iowa took it on the chin last year, and they’re looking for ways to join collectively to push back,” said Ken Sagar, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “Working America’s unique style of face-to-face engagement establishes ongoing relationships that connect people to good information that they trust. These networks will be a critical step in reversing last year’s legislative gut-punch and rebuilding power for working people in Iowa.”
Working America’s organizers will start the campaign with a large-scale listening project, holding in-depth conversations with working Iowans to gather information about issues and learn where Iowans get their news and who they see in public life as acting in their best interests. The findings will be released as a Front Porch Focus Group report, which combines qualitative and quantitative insights to understand community’s needs and concerns.