2013 ANNUAL REPORT COALITION for ECONOMIC JUSTICE

237 Main Street, Suite 1200 Buffalo, NY 14202 716-892-5877 (p) 716-852-3200 (f) www.cejbuffalo.org

CEJ is an affiliate of Jobs with Justice & the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition

2013 A Year of Tide-Turning Victories
If the story over the past decade was one of escalating corporate greed and attacks on the working class, then 2013 was the year the tides turned. From the $15 minimum wage ordinance in Seattle-Tacoma to low wage worker strikes in New York City, working people not only fought back but won significant victories that have re-energized the social justice movement. Here at home, we’ve seen real progress as well. Last year, CEJ saw two long-term campaigns come to fruition when the Seasonal Sanitation Workers in the City of Buffalo won union representation and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation adopted many of the demands made by our Canal Side Community Alliance as guiding principles of high road development for future waterfront projects. With the Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, VOICE-Buffalo, and other partners, we established Open Buffalo, which is a great leap toward making Buffalo a more just, open, and democratic place to live and work. As we highlighted at our annual meeting, CEJ has an ambitious Livable Communities Agenda for 2014 and beyond that will build on the opportunities of growing momentum of the progressive movement to reform our broken economic development system, implement participatory budgeting right here in WNY, fight for dignity at work for low wage workers, and develop the next generation of leaders in the social justice movement. Thank you for being part of all the great successes highlighted on the next few pages of this report. We look forward to working with you all on the exciting new campaigns and programs we have coming up in the year ahead. In solidarity,

Jennifer Diagostino Executive Director

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2013 Year in Review: CEJ’s Top 10 Accomplishments

Won Community Benefits at Canal Side
After years of commitment and hard work by the Canal Side Community Alliance, a broad coalition of labor, community, faith-based organizations and activists convened by CEJ reached an agreement with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation to adopt a set of community benefit principles that will guide current and future economic development initiatives for Buffalo’s waterfront. This high road economic development agreement is truly a historic achievement that will help make sure that millions of public dollars will equal a public good. The agreement includes provisions that will ensure the creation of quality jobs for local residents, prioritize local businesses and affordable housing, and support environmental sustainability on the city’s waterfront.

Introduced the JOBS Act for Good Jobs, Not Giveaways
CEJ and the Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition, which we anchor with the Alliance for a Greater New York and Long Island Jobs with Justice, worked to make sure our elected leaders in Albany acted on legislation advancing high road economic development principles. In October 2013, the New York State Assembly introduced the Just and Open Business Subsidies (JOBS) Act: A8203. The JOBS Act would, for the first time, make the $7 billion New York spends annually on public subsidies for economic development more transparent and accountable. If enacted, the legislation would require recipients of economic development subsidies to set clear good job and local hiring goals, transparently track subsidies and job creation on a single public website, and establish a “money back guarantee” to recapture subsidies if recipients break their promises. Achieving these reforms will only be possible if legislators and other policymakers hear from organizations that have had enough of wasteful subsidies that fail to benefit New York’s working communities. To join in support and endorse the JOBS Act, please contact CEJ at 716-892-5877 or jenn@cejbuffalo.org.

Open Buffalo
It’s been an incredible and exciting year for the Open Buffalo collaborative led by CEJ, the Partnership for the Public Good, PUSH Buffalo, VOICE-Buffalo and many others. After launching the initiative early last year as part of a competitive Open Society Foundations grant, we learned in April that our Open Buffalo proposal won in the first phase of the selection process to be one of eight available planning grants. The Open Buffalo collaborative worked with hundreds of community leaders to create a winning plan to address inequality, poverty, and injustice in Buffalo.

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Open Buffalo continued...

Our collective hard work paved the way for an unprecedented victory when the Open Society Foundations selected Open Buffalo as one of three initiatives in the U.S. to receive an initial $1.9 million grant to make our city more open, just, equitable, and democratic.

Raised the Wage
CEJ has a long history of working to address the injustice of low-wages and ensure that workers don’t just have jobs, but have Jobs with Justice that provide family-sustaining wages. In 2013, we continued this effort by joining a broad local and statewide coalition that united workers, labor, community, faith and business allies to raise New York State’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour. Building on our campaign actions to raise the minimum wage in 2012, we took a large delegation of WNYers to Albany in January 2013 to make sure state legislators heard our voice. We joined with our statewide partners to deliver 30,000 petition signatures from across the state calling on our elected leaders in the capital to raise the minimum wage. We kept the pressure on leaders in Albany until our coalition won a minimum wage increase. Our fight to successfully raise the minimum wage means that over 1 million of New York’s lowest-paid workers received a desperately needed wage increase.

Built New Subsidy Action Committee and Changed the Debate
Early in 2013, CEJ convened a group of our members, and labor, faith, and community leaders to build an exciting and powerful Subsidy Action Committee to stand up to local Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) and demand that our elected officials fix our economic development system in WNY and across the state. This new committee successfully took action to urge the Erie County and Amherst IDAs to adopt local labor policies. These policies will guarantee that our tax dollars will help put more local construction workers to work and keep more money in our economy. In addition, the Subsidy Action Committee pushed back against wasteful ECIDA tax breaks for Uniland and Delaware North. Committee members raised the profile of our demands for good jobs, not giveaways, speaking at public hearings on Uniland and Delaware North tax break deals and working with CEJ supporters to submit over a 100 letters - a record number - to the ECIDA in opposition to the projects. These actions garnered press coverage, influenced the public discussion on corporate subsidies, and forced the ECIDA to hold meetings on the projects in spaces and times more accommodating to the general public. Our committee has developed a bold agenda to improve the performance, accountability, and transparency of IDAs in WNY in 2014. To join them, contact Micaela at micaela@cejbuffalo.org or 716-892-5877.

Hired a new organzier – Saladi Shebule
In 2013, CEJ expanded and hired a new organizer – Saladi. He initially joined us as our Dignity at Work Organizer for the POWER (Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation) campaign. In this capacity, Saladi worked to protect and strengthen workers’ rights for all workers by fighting to make sure that Congress includes the POWER Act in comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

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Saladi’s role has continued to grow since we brought him on. Through our partnership with the WNY Worker Center, Saladi has canvassed low-income neighborhoods to survey and engage workers who have been exploited in the workplace and facilitated two “Know Your Rights at Work” trainings to provide community members with valuable information to protect them from exploitation in the workplace. Additionally, Saladi will be leading our efforts to bring Participatory Budgeting to Buffalo with our partnering organizations.

Fought for the POWER Act
As mentioned above, CEJ worked to ensure all workers’ rights are protected through congressional passage of the POWER Act and hired a new organizer, Saladi, to lead our campaign in support of it. In addition to engaging low-wage workers and refugees vulnerable to workplace exploitation, Saladi mobilized community leaders and spoke on an immigration rights panel discussion in support of the POWER Act and comprehensive immigration reform. CEJ Executive Director Jenn Diagostino traveled to Washington D.C. and joined 200 national community, labor, faith, and elected leaders in an act of civil disobedience to highlight the injustice of our current immigration system and call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes the POWER Act workers’ rights protections. Jenn, along with many other leaders, were arrested for taking action to urge Congress to pass reforms that, if approved, will give over 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and strengthen workplace protections for all workers.

Organized Black Friday Rally in WNY
CEJ worked with our members, partners, and national Jobs with Justice leaders to organize a successful Black Friday rally here in WNY to expose Walmart’s corporate greed and anti-worker, anti-union agenda. Dozens of community and labor leaders, including representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers, the WNY Area Labor Federation, and many others marched outside a Walmart in WNY on the busiest shopping day of the year, garnering media attention and raising awareness of the need to improve worker rights and wages at Walmart.

Brought Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Cay Johnston to Buffalo
At our Annual Awards Banquet in May 2013, we proudly introduced David Cay Johnston as the evening’s keynote speaker. Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and best-selling author of “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill,” is an expert on economic development and corporate subsidies. His presentation focused on how corporations have rigged our economic development system and created tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. But, he also pointed to progressive movement building strategies that can counter corporate greed and make sure government builds a better future for the 99%.

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Held Inaugural Labor History and Labor Law Trivia Night
We introduced the newest, most exciting trivia event in town – our Labor Trivia Night held in November 2013. Dozens of CEJ members and friends joined us for a fun evening of trivia on the history of the labor movement at this new event to find out who is WNY’s labor champion. Special guest judges, Richard Lipsitz Jr, President of the WNY Area Labor Federation, and Alex Blair, Buffalo State College Professor, asked challenging and thrilling questions. Before the night was over, everyone agreed they couldn’t wait for this event in 2014.

Financial Highlights & Acknowledgements:
This was another exciting year for fundraising here at CEJ, and we are grateful to our individual and institutional supporters, and foundation partners. We successfully raised the important and necessary funds to support our organizational objectives and bring on a new organizer—Saladi Shebule. We received grant support for our ongoing programs from the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Jobs with Justice Education Fund, and the Ben and Jerry's Foundation. In addition, the WNY Foundation and Oishei Foundation provided support for a grassroots fundraising training for CEJ staff and partners. Thank you to everyone who helped make our fundraising events successful —our Annual Banquet, Strike for Justice, Labor Trivia Night, CLC annual holiday auction, and our new member recruitment house party hosted by CEJ board members. Thanks also go out to our dedicated Board of Directors for their service to CEJ during 2013 and all of our individual and institutional members. Without your involvement and your financial support none of our achievements would have been possible. We would also like to thank our members who contributed through the United Way and State Employees Federated Appeals and our monthly sustainers who keep us going. Thanks as well to our interns Dan Powers and Azadeh Shahryarinejad for their contributions. Special mention also goes out to JwJ Northeast Field Coordinator Mackenzie Barris and Dara Silverman for their support over the past year. Finally, we would like to thank the staff at Cornell University’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations in Buffalo for providing in-kind support as well as a CEJ summer intern through the ILR’s Highroad Fellows Program and of course, for putting up with CEJ staff each and every day.

“Best Costume” winners at Strike for Justice 2013 Page 6

Jim Crampton accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at our Annual Banquet

2013 Board of Directors
Anna Falicov, Esq. Board Chair Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux Creighton Randall, Board Treasurer Buffalo CarShare Maurice Brown 1199 SEIU Cheryl Bird Daemen College Patty DeVinney WNY Area Labor Federation Betty Martin Transportation Aides of Buffalo Anna Geronimo, Board Vice Chair Sara Gordon NYS United Teachers Cayden Mak, Board recording Secretary 18 Million Rising Abraham McKinney Sanitation Worker Dr. Ruth Meyerowitz SUNY Buffalo Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein Congregation Shir-Shalom Jon Fuzak Laborers Local 220

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Coalition for Economic Justice 237 Main Street, Ste 1200 Buffalo, NY 14203 Phone (716) 892.5877 Fax (716) 852.3802 www.cejbuffalo.org

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2013 A

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s top om the ’ J E C e Se ts fr n e m e v achie r! a past ye re! And mo

Annual Awards Banquet
Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center 6:00 Social Hour 7:00 Program Begins
Honoring: The Clean Air Coalition of WNY, the WNY Worker Center, and Buffalo Common Council Member Michael LoCurto
Don’t wait! Call CEJ to reserve your tickets today! (716.892.5877)

The Coalition for Economic Justice