About Us

Since March of 2020, Payday Report’s Strike Tracker has documented more than 1,700 strikes. Our work covering these walkouts has had an enormous impact, with NPR to The Economist to The Washington Post citing us on a front-page cover story. In 2021, The New York Times even described Payday Report as a publication with “new energy”. 

Boots Riley, who directed the hit film “Sorry to Bother You,” also extensively praised our work in noting the strike wave when few people did. 

“You could count on one hand the number of outlets, whether they’re mainstream or radical, that pushed this fact,” Riley said of our work tracking more than 1,700 strikes since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Esquire called our work tracking the strike wave “invaluable,” and PBS American Portraits, Vice, and Columbia Journalism Review have all profiled our trailblazing work tracking the strike wave. 

When Emmy Award winner W. Kamau Bell came to Pittsburgh to film a CNN documentary on white supremacy and environmental racism, he partnered with Payday Report. That documentary was later that nominated for an Emmy.

We raised $96,000 in 2020 with 85% of it coming directly from readers. We are able to do the type of reporting that no other publication does because we are funded primarily by workers.

Donate Today to Help Us Continue to Cover the Strike Wave.

Mike Elk, Senior Labor Reporter & Founder

A protege of Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered Lula & the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his NLRB settlement from being fired illegally for union organizing at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of retired United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he was once described as an “abrasive gadfly” by the New York Times for his role in exposing sexual misconduct in the labor movement. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and speaks Portuguese with a yinzer accent. Email: [email protected]

He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MikeElk.

Clarissa A. León, Editorial Director

Clarissa A. León is a researcher and editor whose experience includes working for hard-hitting investigative journalists like the late Village Voice reporter, Wayne Barrett, as well as Tracie McMillan, the New York Times bestselling author of The American Way of Eating. Her work has been published in The Nation, Newsweek & The Daily Beast, and AlterNet among several others.

She has a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh. There she completed a collection of essays on identity, attachment, and belonging. Find her on Twitter @ClarissaLeon or her website www.clarissaleon.com.

Kat Callahan, Associate Editor

Kat Callahan is a journalist, civics teacher, and union organizer, with her previous reporting being in the areas of political, LGBTQ, Japanese, and automotive news. She has worked for Jezebel, Jalopnik, and contributed to AnimeNow and got her start as a student journalist at the Daily Texan. 

She has contributed to academic textbooks. Her academic interests include historical Japanese radical ultranationalism and internationalization/supranationalism. Callahan has been active in unions both in the U.S. and Japan.

In addition to freelance journalism and editing, she currently works and teaches in Tokyo.