President, Rev. John Thomas
teaches and serves in various administrative capacities at Chicago Theological Seminary, a seminary related to the United Church of Christ in Hyde Park. From 1999 to 2009 he served as the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. Prior to that, Rev. Thomas was the denomination’s ecumenical officer for eight years and a pastor in local churches in Pennsylvania and Connecticut for 17 years. He is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Yale Divinity School. His primary involvements with issues of worker justice have been guiding UCC support for initiatives of the National Farm Worker Ministry.
Vice President, Jonathan Jones
is a Business Representative and trustee for Carpenters Local #10, and a Delegate to the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. Jones is a graduate from Harper High School and was raised in the Englewood Community located on the south part of Chicago. He attended Washburne Trade School and the Carpenter’s Training Center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. He joined Carpenters Local #10 in 1991, and after completing his four year apprenticeship, obtained his journeymen card. Jonathan was appointed Union Steward by his Business Agent from Local 10, and later worked as an organizer for five years. He now sits on the Construction Committee advisory board for the Cook County Commissioner, is a Delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Cook County Building Trades. Jones is a member of the Coalition of Black Trades Unionist (CBTU). He is also currently a school board member for a local school in Chicago.
Secretary, Rabbi Michael Zedek
is currently Rabbi Emeritus at Emanuel Congregation, where he has served since 2004. Previously he was the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (JFC). Prior to his service at Emanuel Congregation, Rabbi Zedek was the senior rabbi of Temple B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City, Missouri where he served for many years. A dedicated community activist, scholar, and teacher Rabbi Zedek has received numerous awards including a Fulbright-Hays Grant. He was also honored by the National Conference of Christian and Jews. Rabbi Zedek has participated in Aldermanic meetings with Arise for the Office of Labor Standards and was a frequent participant in our annual Labor in the Pulpit program.
Treasurer, Adrienne Alexander
is the Policy and Legislative Specialist for AFSCME Council 31 in Illinois. In that capacity, she is the lead on budget analysis and political issues for both City of Chicago and Cook County, and she serves as part of AFSCME’s State of Illinois lobbying team. Alexander was recently named to the 2015 class of the Edgar Fellows, a group of emerging leaders from across Illinois focused on addressing the state’s major policy issues. She is active in the broader labor movement as a founding member of the Chicago Young Workers. Alexander earned her Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota. As a graduate student Alexander spent a summer with the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC, working to ensure passage of the Affordable Care Act. She majored in Political Science and minored in Spanish and History as an undergraduate at Agnes Scott College, a small, women’s college in Georgia. She was also a former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Br. Michael Gosch
is a member of the Clerics of St. Viator, commonly known as Viatorians. He has worked as a high school teacher and social worker in Illinois and Nevada. He currently is the co-director of Viator House of Hospitality, a residence for immigrant males who have aged out of youth detention. The youth came to the U.S. as unaccompanied immigrant children in search of asylum.
Rev. Dominic Grassi
was born in Chicago and ordained a Catholic Priest in 1973. Before retiring he served as pastor at St. Josaphat Parish in Lincoln Park and St. Gertrude Parish in Edgewater. He is a past chair of the Association of Chicago Priests, administrator of Quigley Seminary South, served as co-chair of O.N.E, was named the National Catholic Education Association "Pastor of the Year" and as one of "Fifty People Who Make Chicago a Better Place." by the Chicago Sun- Times. He is an author of seven books including a cookbook and a murder mystery set in Chicago.
Rev. Marshall Hatch
has been the pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of Chicago's West Garfield community, since 1993. Marshall Hatchis a native of the West side. In 1998 he was appointed a Merrill Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School, in Cambridge, MA. In August 2000, Marshall Hatch was appointed an Adjunct Professor on the faculty of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He currently serves as the co-chairman of the board of the Leaders Network, a collaborative of faith and community leaders working together to organize, strategize and mobilize to improve the quality of the life for the West side communities and Greater Chicago. He is a board member of Chicago State University. He has been a key ally in supporting UCAN workers who are organizing with AFSCME Council 31 and also the Fight For Fifteen movement.
is Cook County Board Commissioner of the 1st District. He is also a Political Organizer at Chicago Teachers Union. Additionally, Brandon hosts the radio show, What’s Left? on WCPT 820 AM Progressive Talk radio and WVON 1690 AM Talk of Chicago. Brandon Johnson is a husband and father of three raising his family on the Westside of Chicago in the Austin neighborhood. Born and raised in a working class community. Brandon is one of ten children, growing up with a host of cousins and foster siblings. His father Pastor Andrew Johnson, a retired state public employee and mother Wilma ‘Jean’ Johnson, served as leaders in the Church of God in Christ.
was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States 26 years ago. He took English classes here and was able to get his GED. He has worked for several companies, including meat packing, on production lines and as a welder. Currently, he works loading and unloading trucks, although he been at his current job for 19 years and also perform several other tasks. He was the lead worker on a campaign with Arise to organize his workplace. Seven weeks after bringing co-workers to an Arise workshop, they had an election for the production workers and won union representation. A week later the drivers at the same company won their union. The process prompted his interest to get more involved with Arise and his union to help workers to have more dignified treatment, better wages, and improved lives.
has been a member of Arise Chicago for several years and has led two campaigns. She participated with Arise in a successful lawsuit against her former employer, Valid USA, after the factory shut down with no warning. Years later, Rocio led a campaign with her co-workers at the Talerico Bakery to improve health and safety conditions and wages on the job.
is a dance instructor and teacher. She came to Arise Chicago facing wage theft at two workplaces. With support from Arise, she developed a campaign strategy to recover her stolen wages from both the dance company and the restaurant. As a Worker Center Leader, Palmer represents the organization in public, including talking about wage theft and how Arise responds to the press, including a feature on NBC’s Making a Difference show.
migrated from Poland to USA in early 2000. As Domestic Worker specializing in House Cleaning, she came to Arise Chicago in 2013 to be a part of training – Health and Safety for Domestic Workers. Since then she joined the membership of Arise Chicago and actively participated in Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign. In 2015 she become a leader in Domestic Worker group. She organizes meetings and does outreach to Polish community to pass information about Arise Chicago and as well now she trains Domestic Workers in Green Cleaning and Workers Rights.
Rev. Joy Rogers
is a native of Pennsylvania and life-long Episcopalian. She earned a Master of Divinity degree in Parish Ministry and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Homiletics from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a member of the Peace and Justice Commission of the Diocese of Chicago. She is the former rector of St. Thomas Parish in Battle Creek, MI and most recently served as the chief pastor of St. James Cathedral in Chicago. Under Joy’s leadership, the Fight for Fifteen formally constituted itself in the Cathedral with 200 members present. Rev. Joy has traveled to Springfield and emceed press conferences in support of the IL Domestic Worker Bill of Rights as well as delegations to return striking workers back to work with the Fight For 15 Campaign.
first came to Arise Chicago in 2014 facing a workplace problem. After learning his rights and resolving his own workplace campaign,, Alfredo was eager to teach and support other workers. He regularly refers new workers to Arise to become members and make changes at their workplaces. Alfredo is also a community leader, having served on his children's CPS Local School Council.
is originally from Mexico. She came to Arise Chicago because of she was illegally fired. She took action, won a settlement, and inspired co-workers to take action to improve working conditions. As a Worker Center member, Sepulveda supports other members and participates in solidarity actions. Manuela regularly brings new workers to Arise to join as members and launch their own workplace justice campaigns. After beginning a job as a home caregiver, she has joined our domestic workers group.
is well known and active in the Muslim Community in the southwest suburbs of Illinois. She holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Networking, and is now attending Governors State University to complete a master's degree in Counseling with a specialization in Family and Marriage. Lena is happily married and resides in Burbank, Illinois. She is currently employed with Zakat Foundation of America and contributes to their humanitarian efforts as a member of the operations and communications team.
was born into the labor movement and spirit of social justice after his parents and three siblings immigrated to the U.S. In 1991, Don became a member of NABET-CWA Local 41 – a union representing broadcast news and TV production workers in Chicago. During his nearly 25-year broadcast journalism career at WLS-TV (ABC) Chicago, Don won an Emmy Award for breaking news coverage. He later earned his Juris Doctorate at Loyola Law School. In 2010, Don was elected Vice President of NABET-CWA Local 41 and then President in 2015. In this role, he focused on organizing, movement building and collective bargaining. Don is now the Secretary-Treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor and is also on the Campaign Cabinet of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.
is a domestic worker from Poland. She first came to Arise for a green cleaning training held in conjunction with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. After learning that domestic workers like herself were excluded from basic labor protections, she became a leader in the campaign for an Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. She has traveled to Springfield numerous times, and to Washington D.C. advocating for rights for domestic workers.