Payday’s 7th Anniversary Southern Labor Reporting Roadtrip

Nissan workers in Tennessee are set to vote on unionizing (Nissan)

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This spring, marks Payday’s 7th anniversary since being founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee while I was living down there in 2016. 

Since Payday’s founding in 2016, we have filed 971 stories. We’ve reported from 29 different states, filed 26 dispatches from Brazil during the 2022 election, and tracked over 2,500 strikes. 

We’ve been cited everywhere from the front page of the Washington Post to NPR. In 2021, our work was even nominated for an Emmy. 

To celebrate Payday’s 7th anniversary, I’m going on a reporting road trip with an old buddy back to Tennessee, where Payday was founded. On the way, we plan to stop in Kentucky and plan to venture into Mississippi as well. 

All over the South, there is a lot of organizing going on and I’m eager to see what stories I can discover 

However, we need your help to help cover some of the travel costs while we are on the road. We certainly have lots of exciting stories to cover. 

In Kentucky, Amazon workers have been battling to unionize with the Amazon Labor Union, outside of Louisville.

 In Louisville, workers have also organized the 18 coffee stores owned by the Heine Brothers company; creating major momentum for retail workers organizing momentum in Louisville, which has also seen  workers at Apple and workers at Trader Joes in Louisville moving to unionizing; Traders Joe recently moved took aggressive steps to try to block a union from coming to their Louisville locations. 

In Smyrna, Tennessee, skilled technicians at a Nissan plant are moving to unionize. If they win, they would be the first group to successfully unionize at Nissan. 

Latino restaurant workers in Nashville have been on strike at Twin Peaks restaurant since January 14th. The strike has attracted 

Finally, there is happening in racial justice and police accountability movements in Memphis following the killing of Tyre Nichols. 

There is a lot of stories to do on this trip, but we need your support to tell them. While we found a few places to stay for free, we are still gonna need to pay for gas, food, and the occasional hotel room while on the road. 

Payday has always shown an ability to do high impact reporting that gets wide attention and I’m sure we will on this trip. 

Donate to help us celebrate Payday’s 7th anniversary

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. 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]

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