EJAM’s History

The Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan is an outgrowth of the Center for Productive Leadership (CPL), a national organization that trained leaders working on a range of progressive issues. In 2013, CPL dissolved, but grant dollars remained for leadership development in Michigan. The local staff recognized low- and moderate-wage employees throughout the state were losing pensions and being adversely affected by right to work laws. Unions’ clout was diminishing, and they had long shifted their focus to middle-class employees, leaving the working poor to fend for themselves.

Given the environment, the former Michigan-based CPL staff invited Detroit People’s Platform, Mothering Justice, MOSES, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center – Michigan to join forces to train low-wage workers as community leaders who champion and advocate for economic justice. Program participants would then be plugged into roles at partner organizations as trained individuals prepared to work on campaigns or other initiatives. In addition to the remaining CPL funds, the group secured dollars from the Ford Foundation for what eventually became the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan or EJAM.

In its brief existence, EJAM has graduated nearly 300 people from its Michigan Economic Justice Fellowship, achieved an incremental increase in the minimum, and catalyzed a collaborative statewide effort resulting in Michigan becoming the 11th state to win earned paid sick time.


EJAM Pioneers Dave Woodward, Dessa Cosma, Tameka Ramsey, Matthew Freidrichs, Alicia Ferris, Linda Campbell, Danielle Atkinson, and Ponsella Hardaway

EJAM Pioneers Dave Woodward, Dessa Cosma, Tameka Ramsey, Matthew Freidrichs, Alicia Ferris, Linda Campbell, Danielle Atkinson, and Ponsella Hardaway