Groups made wide-ranging advancements in economic justice, improving conditions for workers and people in need of affordable housing as the pressure of gentrification continues. African Communities Together (VA) played a lead role in winning minimum wage increases for predominantly Ethiopian workforces at National and Dulles airports, affecting an estimated 7,000 workers. Their campaign involved organizing local Ethiopian community leaders, creating awareness of workers’ living conditions, gathering petitions, and advocating and educating both elected officials and the airport authority. They were also able to help 600 food and retail workers at the airports form a union, winning life-changing benefits and rights for their contract.
CASA (MD, VA) joined with Progressive Maryland, Jews United for Justice (DC, MD), and others to win an increased minimum wage of $15 in Maryland, affecting approximately 537,000 workers. Bread for the City (DC) worked with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, DC Fair Budget Coalition, and DC Fiscal Policy Institute to secure nearly $30 million for public housing repairs, winning improved conditions for the more than 20,000 predominantly Black District public housing residents living in units plagued by horrible conditions, including rat infestations, mold, and holes in the floor. Action in Montgomery (MD) has won $65 million for affordable housing in Montgomery County for each of the past two years. In the wake of the pandemic, DC Jobs with Justice and DC Tenants Union are collaborating on rent control efforts, and ONE DC, Latino Economic Development Center, Bread for the City, and others are running a Cancel the Rent campaign in the District.