Joseph A. McCartin, Ph.D., Executive Director
Joseph A. McCartin is a historian of the U.S. labor movement and 20th century U.S. social and political history. He is a Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1999. His research focuses on the intersection of labor organization, politics, and public policy. His first book, Labor’s Great War: The Struggle for Industrial Democracy and the Origins of Modern American Labor Relations, won the 1999 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award. His new book, Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America, examines the origins and implications of the 1981 PATCO strike of air traffic controllers. It won the Richard A. Lester Award for the Outstanding Book on Industrial Relations and Labor Economics published in 2011. His current research explores the impact of public sector labor organization on politics, government, and private sector labor relations. He is a member of the steering committee of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, the editorial committee of Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, and he serves on the board of Interfaith Worker Justice.
Jennifer Luff, Ph.D., Research Director
Jennifer Luff is a historian of U.S. labor and working class history and politics with substantial experience working in the American labor movement. She received a Ph.D. in American studies from William & Mary, and has held fellowships at New York University, University of California, Los Angeles, and the Newberry Library. Before completing her Ph.D., Jennifer coordinated campaigns in manufacturing, health care, and the service sectors for SEIU, the United Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO, and Change to Win. She is Contemporary Affairs editor of Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. She is the author of Commonsense Anticommunism: Labor and Civil Liberties Between the World Wars (2012).
Katie Corrigan, J.D., Policy Director
Katie Corrigan is the policy director for Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, collaborating on projects related to worker organizing and bargaining and running the Initiative’s Practitioner Fellowship. Corrigan has spent her career working on federal legislation and policy processes. Before joining the Initiative, Corrigan served as Director of Workplace Flexibility 2010, a policy effort at Georgetown Law that helped set the stage for a national dialogue on how to make workplace flexibility a standard in the American workplace. Before that, she was Visiting Professor of Law and Assistant Director of Georgetown’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic where she represented Catholic Charities USA among other non-profit clients. She was legal counsel on disability policy for Senator Tom Harkin on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. She also worked as a legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she defended individual privacy rights and led coalition efforts that included organizations from across the political spectrum. Corrigan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received her law degree from Georgetown.
Denise Brennan, Ph.D, Faculty Fellow
Prof. Denise Brennan is an anthropologist who writes about migration, trafficking into forced labor, and women’s labor. She is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. She is the author of What’s Love Got to Do with It? Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic (Duke University Press) and just completed a book on the resettlement of trafficked persons in the United States, Life Interrupted: Trafficking into Forced Labor in the United States (Duke University Press forthcoming). She is currently conducting field research for a book on how families cope with detention and deportation, Shattered Families: Detention, Deportation and the Assault on Immigrants in the United States. She has been a board member of Different Avenues, Project Hope International, and HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive), organizations located in Washington, D.C. that work to protect and empower sex workers.
Nick Wertsch, Program Coordinator
Nick Wertsch is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in Government and minored in English. While at Georgetown, he was an active member of the After School Kids Program (ASK), Prison Outreach, and led Alternative Spring Break trips. During his senior year, Nick took a leave of absence to work as a field organizer on the Obama campaign in his home state of Missouri. After graduating, he moved to India to work with an Indian NGO providing media and legal advocacy on land rights issues. Later Nick returned on a Fulbright-Nehru Research grant to study energy politics and democracy in India. He has also interned at the White House and worked to promote clean energy at SmartPower, a nonprofit marketing group.
Jesslyn Cheong, Program Manager
Jesslyn Cheong is a 2011 graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international politics. During college, Jesslyn worked as an intern at the International Center for Journalists and as a tutor for D.C. Reads and the D.C. Schools Project. She also worked as a student administrative assistant at the Initiative, and she provided support to the Oral History Project, compiling and editing multimedia and conducting archival research.
Rachel Milito, Administrator
Rachel Milito is a 2012 graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in Culture and Politics. As a student, Rachel was an active member of Georgetown’s labor community, a member of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee, a leader of the Worker Justice D.C. Alternative Spring Break Trip, and a participant in the Day Laborer Exchange Program. She also worked for the D.C. Schools Project, a literacy program that serves D.C.’s low-income immigrant community. Rachel is fluent in Spanish and has spent time studying and working on development issues in Central and South America.
Sarah David Heydemann, Program Coordinator Consultant
Sarah David Heydemann is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in English and minored in justice and peace studies and philosophy. While at Georgetown, she was an active member of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee (GSC), Georgetown’s student-labor solidarity organization, and participated in campaigns supporting workers’ rights on campus and around the world. Her senior thesis project documented a comprehensive history of GSC through interviews and archival research. Before joining the KI, she worked both with DC Jobs with Justice and UNITE HERE Local 25. She also serves as a facilitator for two different programs: a community course on the female experience in DC and Georgetown’s “A Different Dialogue” discussion on social class.
Pedro Cruz, Graduate Assistant
Pedro Cruz is currently a Ph.D. student in Spanish and Portuguese. Before entering graduate school, he worked as an organizer with the Service Employees International Union in California, and he has also worked with Jobs with Justice in DC. Pedro helps lead the Kalmanovitz Initiative’s outreach to the immigrant labor community of Washington, DC, and in that capacity helps direct the Day Laborer Exchange Program. He is also working with the Initiative to devise an educational program on the problem of wage theft in conjunction with community and labor organizations in metropolitan Washington, DC.
Michael Paarlberg, Graduate Assistant
Michael Paarlberg is a doctoral student in the Government Department working on a dissertation examining comparative labor standards and regulatory regimes. Before entering graduate school, Mike spent several years in the research department of the Service Employees International Union, where he specialized in research on employment issues in the health care sector. Mike was co-author of the Center for American Progress report, Making Contracting Work for the United States: Government Spending Must Lead to Good Jobs. He conducts research and analysis for the Kalmanovitz Initiative.
The Kalmanovitz Initiative relies on student leaders to formulate and execute its various programs, projects and events. Click here for a full list of KI student leaders.