Solidarity in Chicago: Bargaining for the Common Good

Recently, Glass House Collective became an official member of CALEB and we are already learning so much.

This summer, GHC’s community coordinator and our representative within CALEB, Lynesha Lake, became active on their Economic Mobility Task Force as the committee co-chair. This task force is focused on finding ways to help local Chattanooga officials and community members gain stronger community benefits from developments that are incentivized by the City of Chattanooga.

Thanks to a travel grant from the Bargaining For The Common Good nonprofit (BCG), CALEB members Austin Sauerbrei and Felipe Lara, and Lynesha were able to have their travel and registration expenses covered so that they could attend BCG’s June convening for housing justice held in Chicago, July 29 and 30th.

The conference hostsed 200 representatives from all over the country including Southern California, Iowa, Seattle, New York and Puerto Rico. Organizations included service employees union, teachers unions, building trades, racial justice organizations and a large representation from tenant, neighborhood and housing justice organizations.

“Our time was divided between workshops, and looking at case studies from coalitions who had won collective bargaining agreements related to housing and time for each cohort to process what we were learning and develop action plans for our own work,” Austin said.

Breakout sessions and presentations struck cords on topics such as “The Impacts of Corporate Landlords in Our Communities”, “Going on Offense: Basics of Bargaining for the Common Good”, “What’s Happening in the Housing Movement Locally and Nationally”, and  “Labor-Community Partnerships in Housing.”

Lynesha said she was struck by how common some of East Chattanooga’s challenges are, after meeting and having conversations with other attendees from communities in cities of all kinds struggling at different levels but in similar ways.

Austin, an organizer with the Chattanooga Area Central Labor Council, said the trio from Chattanooga definitely gained valuable insight that will support CALEB’s local labor/community work in Chattanooga. No doubt this will build upon the community organizing training that Lynesha and Austin are participating in as part of our inaugural cohort for SWAY: The People’s Guide To Community Organizing. The team returned home with an outline to share with the rest of the CALEB task force, as well as a proposal for some concrete next step.

“I am better informed of what I can do as an individual, as a member of a team and of an organization. It is good to know that we are not alone in this fight to change. Everyone has to play a part to win,” Lynesha said.

Taking the opportunity to reimagine the work at hand and taking time to recharge commitments to that work is so important. “There is something incredibly uplifting to know that there are SO many other folks all around the country who are trying to figure out the same issues we are. Aside from the concrete knowledge gained, building a sense of solidarity and shared struggle across geography is a crucial part of keeping this work alive locally,” Austin said.

Read the organizer’s summary of events here at this link.

About Bargaining for The Common Good 


Lynesha Lake addresses other participants at the Bargaining For The Common Good summer convening in Chicago.

Lynesha Lake addresses other participants at the Bargaining For The Common Good summer convening in Chicago.

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