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Amy B. Dean
Amy Dean is co-author, with David Reynolds, of "A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement" and is president and founder of ABD Ventures. She worked for nearly two decades in the labor movement and now works to develop new and innovative organizing strategies for social change organizations. You can follow Amy on Twitter at @amybdean, or she can be reached via

Entries by Amy B. Dean

We Want to Have a Common Language: Carolina Jews for Justice Stand Out in the Moral Mondays Crowd

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 4:23 PM

It can be isolating to be a progressive Jew in North Carolina. In a state where just 1 percent of the population identifies as Jewish, it can be tough just to find a religious community, let alone a politically active one. Although older Jews who may have been activists in...

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How Domestic Workers Won Their Rights: Five Big Lessons

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 11:47 AM

This article appeared originally in YES! Magazine.

Domestic workers have had some breakthrough wins over the past two weeks. Up until then, these workers were excluded from protections such as a guaranteed minimum wage, paid breaks, and overtime pay. On September 17, the Obama administration announced new rules...

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Alt-Labor Day, 2013

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 11:56 AM

Originally published at the Boston Review.

Fast food workers in dozens of cities staged a national day of strikes last Thursday, August 29. The action sought to galvanize public support for a living wage of $15 per hour, and respect for fast food workers' right to organize. Employees...

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Putting Workers on TV: MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Bringing Labor to Prime Time

(11) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 4:01 PM

As host of All In, a weekday prime-time show on MSNBC, Chris Hayes has emerged as one of the most prominent progressive commentators in the country. Still in his 30s, Hayes earned distinction in the 2000s as a labor and political journalist for magazines such as In These...

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Why the Revival of US Labor Might Start With Non-Union Workers

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 2:23 PM

For workers in America, it can be hard to know where to turn when a boss pays you late or not at all, doesn't provide benefits, or just yells at you for no good reason.

That's why a Working America, a "community affiliate" of the AFL-CIO that focuses specifically on...

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'We Are One Community': Interview With Cindy Chavez

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2013 | 4:41 PM

Cindy Chavez is running for Supervisor District 2 in Santa Clara County. In March, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors called a special election to fill the vacancy for Supervisor in District Two. The primary will be held June 4th. District 2 covers the downtown of San Jose, east...

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How Fix It First Might Help the GOP Save Itself

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 2:03 PM

The Wall Street Journal's editors called Obama "a president without a plan" after last October's presidential debates. But the pugilists on the WSJ editorial board should know better than to cast the first stone: now that a reelected President Obama has unveiled a plan for rebuilding America's infrastructure...

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Chicago's Unfair School Closings Will Gut Remaining Supports for Kids

(18) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 5:34 PM

As I write this, Chicagoans are out in the streets, some prepared to be arrested, in protest of the latest wave of school closings announced earlier this week. The closing of public schools has provoked a major conflict along race and class lines, and is a serious issue for all...

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Hey, House GOP: We Need to (Re)Build Bridges, Not Burn Them

(6) Comments | Posted March 21, 2013 | 12:42 PM

It's way past time to invest in our nation's infrastructure. The obstructionists in the GOP need to get out of the way on this if they cannot propose an alternative. Rather than listening to the more moderate voices of their own party in the Senate who have gone...

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E-Verify: Bad for Both Businesses and Employees

(27) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 11:55 AM

Immigration reform is next on the national legislative menu. The good news is that both Republicans and Democrats have vowed to fix our broken immigration system. The bad news is that they are poised to repeat a key mistake of the past: forcing employers to do the work of verifying...

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Immigration Reform Must Include Workers' Rights

(10) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 2:49 PM

At this moment, various plans to reform America's broken immigration system are working their way through Congressional debate. On Monday, a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers unveiled a plan that includes what they call a "tough but fair" path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Last Friday, members of...

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Labor Becomes Part of the National Conversation: The Best and Worst of 2012

(4) Comments | Posted December 28, 2012 | 9:20 PM

This was a tumultuous year for working people and their families. From the grassroots uprisings last winter to the low-wage workers' strikes at year's end, 2012 saw many people coming together for the first time and finding their voices. Below are the items that I would highlight as the best...

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Lesson From Chicago: We Need Resources and Accountability to Avoid a Two-Tiered Education System

(19) Comments | Posted October 25, 2012 | 10:56 AM

The Chicago teachers' strike may be over, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel may have replaced the Chicago schools CEO, but the underlying issues that caused the rift between teachers and public schools officials haven't gone away. Because our education system is such a vital public asset, we cannot resolve...

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The Top Takeaway From the Teachers' Strike: We Need Collaboration to Fix Public Schools

(27) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 2:49 PM

"We are striking to improve the conditions in the schools. Right now the children are getting a raw deal."

That statement came from a striking member of the Chicago Teachers' Union... in 1969. It still resonates in September 2012, when the CTU's members have again walked a picket line....

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Prop 32's Rich Backers Trying to Bully Working People Out of Politics...Again

(16) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 12:02 PM

In their attempts to silence the political voice of working people, conservative groups and millionaire donors have been disingenuous and anti-democratic. But you can't say they haven't been persistent.

Proposition 32 -- a so-called "paycheck protection" measure that will appear on California's ballot in November...

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Can Obama Win Back The Youth Vote?

(137) Comments | Posted July 22, 2012 | 2:34 PM

In 2008, young people in America -- including many who voted in their first presidential election -- rallied behind a youthful senator from Illinois campaigning on the promise of change and hope. Now the incumbent in the White House, Barack Obama faces a difficult challenge in recapturing the youth vote...

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Why Interfaith Organizing Matters: Social Change Starts With Values

(3) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 12:36 PM

Sometimes, as an activist, you look upon the world and think you will never be able to see the changes you seek in your own lifetime. It's easy to despair, to succumb to the isolation and self-doubt that come from being a thoughtful person trying to change the status quo.

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How "Occupy Our Homes" Can Win

(15) Comments | Posted February 3, 2012 | 9:31 AM

This article was originally posted on

An interview with anti-eviction organizer Steve Meacham of City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston

Since most of the original Occupy encampments were evicted by wintertime, the question now is, what's next for activists? One of the most popular...

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America's Middle Class Is Dangling Without a Safety Net

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 1:55 PM

Two newspaper stories from last week said a lot about the state of the inequality debate in America. Last Wednesday, the New York Times reported on research showing that it is "Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs." For all the talk of opportunity in our country,...

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The 99 Percent Takes Office: Lessons From A Rhode Island Special Election

(2) Comments | Posted December 5, 2011 | 2:53 PM

If labor and other progressive groups are going to rebuild an economy that works for the 99 percent in America, they need to do great organizing in workplaces and communities and they also need to build deep coalitions among themselves. But that's not enough.

They also need to translate their...

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