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Sarita Gupta on Workers, Equality, & Democracy: How Labor and Its Partners Should Think About the Future

January 16, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us for the 2019 Jerry Wurf Memorial Forum featuring Sarita Gupta, co-executive director of Jobs With Justice and co-director, Caring Across Generations on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Remarks begin at 6pm; reception begins at 7pm.

“Workers, Equality, and Democracy: How Labor and Its Partners Should Think About the Future”

The stakes have never been higher for workers, unions, and people who believe in a just economy and a decent country. The capitalism of recent decades has relentlessly undercut worker bargaining power, triggering an explosive rise in inequality that has undermined democracy itself. Nearly every discussion of labor’s future in mainstream media quickly becomes mired in a group of concerns called “The Future of Work.” It is not the Future of Work that must concern us at this crucial moment, but rather it is the future of workers—whose future is inextricably linked to our ability to promote and preserve equality and democracy—that must be our most urgent concern. Unless we center our thinking around the intertwined and interdependent fates of working people, and their struggles for economic, racial, and gender justice, we cannot plan for a humane and sustainable future. This lecture will focus on the intersection of these fates: that of workers (rather than work), equality, and democracy.


SARITA GUPTA is the co-executive director of Jobs With Justice and the co-director of Caring Across Generations. She is a nationally recognized expert on economic, labor and political issues affecting working people, particularly women and those employed in low-wage sectors.

As a key leader and strategist in the progressive, labor, economic justice, women’s and caregiving movements, Sarita has appeared on MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, PBS, CNBC and Fox News, has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Politico, and has been published in The Huffington Post, The Hill and, and regularly speaks at conferences, panels, and events, including the White House Conference on Aging, the White House Summit on Worker Voice, and the United State of Women Summit.

Under Sarita’s direction, Jobs With Justice is expanding people’s ability to come together to improve their workplaces, their communities, and their lives by creating solutions to the problems working people face at both the national and local levels. The organization leads campaigns, changes the conversation and moves labor, community, student and faith voices to action. Jobs With Justice has been on the front lines of successful organizing and policy campaigns to boost wages and working conditions, improve labor and civil rights protections for immigrant men and women, rein in student debt, and hold corporations accountable to communities. Recently, Jobs With Justice led the charge for the first-ever local ordinance improving job schedules and hours for those who work in retail and restaurants in San Francisco. The organization also was instrumental in paving the way for the Home Care Rule, the effort to finally provide minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers, and the long-awaited update to the federal overtime standard.

In her role with Caring Across Generations, Sarita spearheads a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities, and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country. The campaign is calling for policy solutions that create a much-needed care infrastructure, provide high-quality, affordable options for people who need care, provide support for family caregivers, and strengthen the care workforce. As a member of the “sandwich generation,” Sarita grapples with and can speak to the care issues facing more and more Americans who are balancing caring for young children alongside caring for aging parents.

Sarita began her career in the student movement while she was studying at Mount Holyoke College (1992-1996). After graduation, she was elected president of the United States Student Association (1996-1998), representing students on Capitol Hill, at the Department of Education, and the White House. She deepened her role as a community activist and grassroots organizer while holding several leadership positions at Chicago Jobs With Justice, and then with the national Jobs With Justice organization, where she was named executive director in 2007.

Sarita serves on the boards of directors for several organizations, including the International Labor Rights Forum, Restaurant Opportunities Center United, the Domestic Workers Legacy Fund, Institute for Policy Studies, General Service Foundation, The Workers Lab, and the Labor Network for Sustainability. She is a Hunt Alternatives Fund Prime Movers Fellow, as well as a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Training Program. Among the awards Sarita has received are the National Women’s Law Center Annual Leadership Award, the Francis Perkins Open Door Award, Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Achievement Award, and Corporate Ethics International’s BENNY Award.

Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Rochester, NY, Sarita currently lives in Silver Spring, MD, with her husband and daughter.


January 16, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Categories:
Research Programs Events
Labor and Worklife Program


WCC 2036 Milstein East C


Labor and Worklife Program