About Us



Mike Elk, Senior Labor Reporter & Founder

A native of the East End of Pittsburgh, Mike Elk is a member of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. He also writes for The Guardian and lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

He co-founded Payday Report with his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing at POLITICO. As a pioneering leader in the digital media unionization movement, he has been profiled by NPR, The Washington PostNewsweek, and Pacific Standard.

As an investigative reporter, Mike Elk’s work has been featured everywhere from the front page of The New York Times to being debated by Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg on ABC’s The View. His work was credited by the Obama Administration for helping lead to the end of the use of the subminimum wage for disabled workers and for securing a massive pay raise for the domestic violence survivor advocates on 48 Army bases across the country.

Speaking of his reporting covering the lockout of Honeywell uranium workers, Daily Show Co-Creator Lizz Winstead said, “Mike Elk is the new John Wayne. I believe he is the real Matt Taibbi.”

At age 22, his first job was working as a field staffer for President Obama’s campaign in rural Western Pennsylvania. Afterward, he followed the president to Washington, D.C., where he heeded the President’s call to his young staffers to hold him accountable and became a labor reporter. He spent all eight years of the Obama Administration based out of Washington, D.C., crisscrossing the country and visiting more than 30 states, while covering strikes, lockouts, and tragic workplace deaths.

He has worked as a workplace safety expert for MSNBC, as an investigative reporter for In These Times Magazine, and has also written for The New York TimesWashington Post, and Reuters. He is co-author of the book We Are Wisconsin.

At the age of 28, he rose to be the senior labor reporter on the largest labor desk in the country when he co-founded POLITICO’s labor desk. After being illegally fired for union organizing at POLITICO, Mike used his NLRB settlement money to move to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to found Payday Report

As the son of UE Director of Organization Gene Elk, he prefers to hide the fact that he attended a university as elite as Bucknell on a full scholarship. During college, he spent a year half in Brasil, where he covered the drug war and the landless workers’ movement. He speaks Portuguese mainly just when signing Tom Jobim these days.

Elk lives in Louisville, Kentucky and drives over 25,000 miles a year all over the South. When Mike isn’t on the road reporting on workers, he can be found listening to Sharon Jones, cooking salmon, and talking about the Civil War. He can be reached at melk@paydayreport.com or on twitter @MikeElk.