While Congress and state legislatures across the country remain paralyzed by partisan disagreement, ballot initiatives hold the promise of improving the lives of millions of Americans. The Fairness Project is bolstering state-based ballot initiative campaigns and driving a national narrative to elevate issues of economic fairness. By harnessing the power of successful ballot initiative campaigns, The Fairness Project is empowering voters to take direct action to change their own lives.
In 2016, The Fairness Project will focus on ballot-initiative campaigns that seek to raise the minimum wage, working with partner organizations across the country to enact legislation through the ballot box to improve pay for millions of working people. Building this strong national platform will support our 2016 goal to win minimum wage campaigns in multiple states and localities and establish a base of support on other economic issues for years to come.
The Fairness Project is well positioned for success because these issues are popular across all demographics. We will enable ballot-initiative campaigns to utilize data-driven campaign technology and create a national infrastructure that lives from one campaign cycle to the next. The Fairness Project is currently partnering with minimum wage Campaigns in California, Maine, and Washington, DC and will continue to add state partners moving forward.
A $15/hr minimum wage was passed into law on April 4, 2016 in California, just a week after an initiative put forth by our partner, Lift Up California, qualified for the ballot. Our partnership with Lift Up California led to The Fairness Project’s first victory, proving that well organized, widely supported ballot initiatives can serve as a catalyst for legislative action.
The Fairness Project’s collaboration with Lift Up California stretched far beyond early investment, including ongoing support through website development and design; social media assistance; national amplification; and coordination with ballot initiatives to raise the wage in other states.
Spurred by over a year of organizing by our partners at DC for $15 and the support of nearly 90% of D.C. voters, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed legislation on June 27, 2016 to raise Washington D.C.’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The Fairness Project provided early funding and ongoing strategic support to DC for $15’s ballot initiative campaign. Mayor Bowser credited the campaign for “propelling” her and the D.C. Council forward.
Ryan Johnson, Executive Director
Ryan Johnson is the Executive Director of The Fairness Project. Prior to joining The Fairness Project, Ryan was a consultant and researcher helping a variety of firms and individuals create original content, think strategically around potential opportunities and identify levers for change.
Before his time as a consultant, Ryan worked with Andy Stern, the former President of SEIU, at the Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy at Columbia University on issues related to the future of work and labor policy. He has also worked at the Harvard Business School as the Interim Director of the Business and Environment Initiative (BEI), where he worked with the business school faculty to help establish the BEI’s strategy and program portfolio.
Ryan lives in Palo Alto, CA with his wife, Alia Crum, a psychology professor at Stanford University. He holds a B.A. in government from Harvard College.
Linda SerratoYbarra, Communications Director
Linda SerratoYbarra is the Communications Director of The Fairness Project. With nonprofit, governmental, campaign and start-up experience, Linda has led communications operations and conveyed the story of diverse organizations and leaders across the nation.
Most recently, Linda worked with Los Angeles city leaders to increase the minimum wage citywide and coordinated media contacts and press events. She also has experience working directly with voters across the nation as a campaigner for Secretary Clinton’s and, later, President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. She proudly works towards equality in our nation from economic to educational issues.
Linda lives with her husband, Matt Ybarra and their dog Hemingway in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University.