He works to deepen the engagement and leadership of Local Progress members in specific campaigns related to immigrant rights, civil rights, economic justice, and democracy and voting.
Before joining Local Progress, Ari was lead organizer at DC Jobs with Justice, where he steered a community-labor coalition and led strategic campaigns. In that role, Ari developed and coordinated the “DC Just Hours” campaign to win full-time work opportunities and stable schedules in service sector industries. In 2013, he co-coordinated the final coalition push that won both a raise to D.C.’s minimum wage and an expansion of paid sick leave. At DC Jobs with Justice, Ari also led efforts to pass D.C.’s strong oversight laws to combat wage theft and student loan fraud, as well as helped workers recover tens of thousands of dollars in stolen wages. An experienced trainer, Ari has led English-language-learning workshops, “Know Your Rights” outreach programs, union organizing training, and student debt clinics.
National Lawyers Guild Reference
- "“It’s not just about Walmart workers, but about all of us… We’re in the struggle for all workers in the US,” Cyndi Murray, a worker organizer with OUR Walmart told 40 participants at the January 19th panel discussion, “What’s next in the fight to organize Walmart and in the struggle for a living wage?” DCNLG Labor & Employment Committee and the NLG chapter of the University of the District of Columbia’s David Clarke School of Law organized the event. Murray was joined by Silvia Fabela and attorney Joey Hipolito, both with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), and Ari Schwartz, with DC Jobs with Justice."
- Hosted at the only publicly funded university in Washington DC, the event took place in a period of renewed resistance by working people to the decline in their working and living conditions. Last November, workers organized by OUR Walmart, with the support of the UFCW, carried out sit-down strikes in Walmart stores in Washington DC. Previously, in 2014, the DC City Council, under pressure from community groups and the labor movement, passed legislation requiring Walmart to pay its employees $12.50 per hour. The “Large Retailer Accountability Act”, as the legislation was called, was later vetoed by then Democratic Mayor Vincent Grey. The Mayor’s veto came after Walmart threatened to cancel plans for the stores under construction at that time.
- Silvia Fabela explained how these victories at Walmart have changed the conversation of how a responsible corporation should act. She also said that recent actions have sparked important discussions of what city “development” should look like as alternatives to the current gentrification model in Washington DC.
- Finally, Ari Schwartz told participants in the forum about ways they could support the workers at Walmart. Schwartz invited participants to join Respect DC and other community organizations in pressuring Walmart to sign a “community based agreement” that would require further concessions from the corporation.
DC Jobs with Justice
DC Jobs with Justice staff, 2015;