Articles by Mike Elk

Pro-Union Ex-Offender Wins Chattanooga City Council Seat – Jackson Mayors Race Heats Up – Angola Prison Workers Win Big

“I had time to think about my life. Like what am I doing? What am I not doing? How can I make things right. I knew I did not want to come outside of prison being the same person I was going inside prison,” Coonrod told WRCB. “I began to knock on every door. Reach out to elected officials saying hey I need some help. I need you to help me help my community.”



In Louisville, Perez & Bernie Call On Southern Democrats to Embrace Organized Labor

In an exclusive interview with Payday, Perez says that he wants to see Democratic politicians get more involved in building community support for labor struggles in the South, like the recent union drives at Boeing in South Carolina and Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn., where Republican politicians vigorously fought against unionization. If Perez is able to get Southern Democrats to embrace the labor movement, it would be a significant reversal of practices by the Democratic Party.


Southern Nonprofits Get 1/10th of National Average Funding – OSHA Breaks Its Silence – NoLa Custodians Sue City Hall

Regions like Alabama’s Black Belt and the Mississippi Delta receive approximately 1/10, per capita, of the national average of funding from foundations. Between 2010 to 2014, foundations donated, on average, $41 dollars towards philanthropic causes in the regions, while nationally, foundations donated $451 per person, according to the NCRP’s research.


EMAILS: TN State Senator Got Lesbian NPR Reporter Fired – DC Cops Raid Activist’s Home – WV to Cut Benefits for Strikers

The emails show that Republican State Senator Todd Gardenhire met with top UTC officials on March 20 and urged the firing of Helbert. Following the meeting, UTC Chancellor Steve Angle argued that Helbert should be fired.

“The potential repercussions for the state representative and UTC are HUGE,” wrote Angle in an email obtained by the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. “We could easily lose all funding we are providing to WUTC.”


#BossTalk on Thurgood Marshall’s Losing Strategy – Alabama Fight for $15 Lawsuit – #OrganizeTheSouth

We discuss how Thurgood Marshall would drive into small towns in the South expecting to have his life threatened and lose civil rights challenges just to build case law Also, the Alabama NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries have a pending lawsuit against the State of Alabama that alleges the majority-white state legislature violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act when it passed a law overturning majority-black Birmingham’s raising of the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.


Payday in The Guardian from North Carolina on Preemption Laws

In Durham, North Carolina, Elk writes for The Guardian about the movement to push back against so-called “pre-emption laws” that block progressive enclaves in the South from enacting higher minimum wages law. He looks at how and why the Fight for $15 is starting to invest in organizing poor rural Southern whites in North Carolina.