Workshop Description:

Each year, state and local governments spend over $3.5 trillion procuring goods and services. While the outsourcing of core work functions continues to be a challenge for public sector unions, this massive amount of tax payer money also presents key opportunities for organizing. Erika Thi Patterson of Public Citizen and Abhilasha Bola will walk you through the ins and outs of the procurement process and describe strategic opportunities for intervention to secure project labor agreements, community benefits agreements, or other key benefits for workers and communities.

Workshop Leader:

Erika (she/her) has worked for over a decade to advance racial, economic, and environmental justice through corporate and policy advocacy campaigns. She currently serves as Public Citizen’s Auto Supply Chain Campaigns Director, where she is pushing global automakers to make their supply chains fossil free, equitable, and sustainable to protect the planet, workers, and frontline communities. Prior to Public Citizen, Erika served as the Climate and Environmental Justice Campaign Director for the Action Center on Race & the Economy, where she led fossil fuel divestment campaigns on Wall Street asset managers and banks. Earlier in her career, she served as Jobs to Move America’s California Director, where she also led community-labor coalitions in campaigns against global EV transit manufacturing firms that prompted the firms to negotiate national community benefits agreements and labor peace agreements. She also managed local advocacy campaigns that led one of the largest transit agencies in the U.S. to agree to swap out its fleet of fossil fuel-powered buses to zero emission buses. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University and her Master’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles in Urban and Regional Planning.