Payday Published 178 Articles & Raised $118,348 in 2023

Melk attending Lula's visit to the White House in February of 2023 (Mike Elk/Payday Report)

2023 was the best year in the 7 year history of Payday Report. We published a record 178 articles, raised $118,348, and won a multi-year grant from the Illumine Service Foundation. 

The year started with me accompanying Lula to the White House to witness a historic meeting between Lula and Biden in the Oval Office. Then it went up from there. 

Payday celebrated publishing its 1,000th article in April and over seven years in business. Then, things got hectic. 

In May, 11,000 members of the Writers Guild went on strike, kicking off what Payday would deem “the Summer of Strikes.” Later, 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members would join them in July, followed by workers at hotels throughout California and the Big Three automakers. 

In July, Payday’s multi-year investigation into sexual misconduct and violent intimidation in the Communication Workers of America union was highlighted on electronic van billboards that circulated the union’s convention in St. Louis, helping to elect reformer Claude Cummings as the first Black president in the history of CWA. 

The election of Cummings would result in Payday winning a significant settlement in a sexual misconduct whistleblower case following a three-year court battle. The proceeds of this settlement were donated to Casa San Jose to create a fund for young Latino journalists here in Pittsburgh. 

In August, I returned to Brazil to begin working on a documentary about the Landless Workers Movement. The documentary is slated to be released this May. 

In October, on the 5th commemoration of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre, Payday produced a multimedia package on how the attack on Gaza divided my local Jewish community following the largest Jewish massacre in U.S. history. Featuring an interview with Senator John Fetterman, the package would get more than 4 million views online. 

In November, Payday produced another multimedia package looking at how G.M. workers in Brazil were inspired to strike by G.M. workers in the U.S. 

In December, Payday produced an exclusive analysis showing that entertainment unions gained 8,000 union members in 49 campaigns during the Hollywood strikes

This fall, Payday received a $35,000 grant from the Illumine Service Foundation as the first installment of a multi-year grant. This grant will allow us to expand Payday into a more multimedia newsletter and expand our capacity. The fund has already been used to hire videographers and more editors to help us at Payday.

However, the best thing in 2023 was that I regained my health. For nearly two years, I have been struggling with Long Covid. This past summer, I began a long COVID treatment that appears to be working, and I have a new energy that I haven’t felt since I first got sick. 

With new energy, resources, and a solid reserve fund, I hope that under my leadership, I can help take Payday to the next level in 2024. Thank you for all the support. 

Donate to help us continue to grow Payday. Please sign up as one of our 771 recurring donors today. 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]