Better World honoree Rachel LaForest of the Retail Action Project (RAP)
Rachel is the Director of the Retail Action Project (RAP), a workers center initiative of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) which organizes primarily low-income retail workers of color around workplace and community issues like wage theft, scheduling, housing and race. Rachel comes to the RAP after 5 years as the Executive Director of the Right to the City Alliance (RTC), a national alliance of community-based organizations fighting the ill-effect of gentrification across the globe.
Prior to RTC she spent eight years working with progressive labor, directing the Organizing and Public Policy departments of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 and Actors Equity Association (AEA), where she organized and led mobilizations of TWU members to City Hall and the state government in Albany; conducted extensive research and designed education and training in public policy for rank-and-file union members and officers; and was one of the lead coordinators of the 2005 New York City transit strike and the 2-year collection effort that followed.
Rachel’s early years in organizing were spent as a Lead Organizer/Co-Compaign Coordinator for Jobs with Justice – New York, building community-labor solidarity, organizing joint actions and co-coordinating the campaign that won an increase of $2 per hour in the minimum wage for New York State in 2007. Rachel holds a BA from Hunter College/CUNY in Political Science/Black and Puerto Rican Studies with a minor in Education, is a proud mother of two and of Ashkenazi Jewish and Haitian descent.