About Fabricio Rodriguez

A former copper and gold miner, Fabricio has spent the past 17 years organizing workers, activists, immigrants, and the faith community. He’s won millions of dollars for working people in Philadelphia and dozens of organizing and advocacy campaigns. While pioneering the battle cry for a $15 wage, he founded an independent union of security guards and was instrumental in Philadelphia’s recent passage of the earned sick leave and tip protection laws. Fabricio was an early pioneer in the worker center movement. He discussed his innovative approach and the story that lead him into organizing in his Tedx talk. Fabricio earned a degree in Economics from Arizona State University and studied organizing at the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education. He currently runs Americans for Transit, a nationwide nonprofit based in DC, that organizes riders to advocate for good jobs and better public transportation across the United States.

Fabricio is a artist and print-maker and dances in huge puppets called Mojigangas, whenever he can.

Fabricio often shares stories with audiences at conferences, union and faith gatherings, in classrooms and during staff and leader trainings.

Additionally he can help groups who are trying to plan and execute strategic campaigns.

To learn more, email me at fabricio.rodriguez(at)gmail.com

Here is a production sample of a campaign video from a few years ago:

Using Viral Video in an Old School Way- “Welcoming Change”

This campaign is a great model for using digital media in a strategic way. I first began using digital media with leaders from that realm such as Todd Wolfson and Shivanni Sevaraj when JwJ was organizing the Wal-Mart Week of Action in 2005.

At that time, Todd and I and a few other of his associates tried to create media that we could quickly produce down into short snippets that we hoped that the TV media would use to cover our work if they didn’t cover it themselves. Shivanni and a few other folks used recorded digital interviews from Wal-Mart employees to capture first hand accounts of the hardships of workers at that worksite.

After that, I connected with Todd and few other folks to producer out first video about this campaign, “Sitting Behind The Desk.” This was shot and created under Indy Media banner, but the experience definitely showed us all that this experiment could go much further than reporting.

I believe that “Sitting Behind The Desk” is one of the first video produced by the crew that is now known as the Media Mobilizing Project.

Those guys are great and continue to do cutting edge work. We have produced a couple more films with them over the years. The “Welcoming Change” video, though, was one of the most strategic new media vehicles we ever created

What makes this effort unique was that we did not solely rely on the Net-Roots to get the word out about this video.  Much of our audience, such as security guards and working-class adults over the age of 40, do not use the web to access media.  Due to this, we couldn’t simply rely on our web-posting to get the views we needed.  During the week of the video premier, we also mailed copies to 100 area churches.  These churches had their own screening.  This lead to thousands of emails, letters, petitions and postcards to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

We continue to distribute copies of this in dvd format to museum members when we attend events at the facility.

PSOU Featured on GRIT TV with Laura Flanders

Dynnita Bryant and I went to New York and Shot this in December 2009…This is a slide show of images of the security guards during our Temple University campaign in 2007 until we announced that we were forming a union at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009.

You will notice by looking at these images that this campaign was driven by three amazing groups of people; security guards, clergy and students.

All of the black and white photos were taken by the renown photo documentarian Harvey Finkle.

The early slides show students and guards interacting during some low-key, almost secret meetings we had before we even went on the radar at the university.

When we did go public, the student action forced AlliedBarton to begin talks with SEIU. Unfortunately, the company and SEIU made an agreement to cleared the way for SEIU to organize in other cities as long as they abandoned Philadelphia, leaving us on our own.

Unshaken, Eduardo, Thomas Robinson (a long time guard and freedom fighter) and I began building a beautiful and deep movement among the constituents I mentioned earlier.

We pushed so hard at Temple for our first concessions of paid sick leave. We had no idea that we would ever end up winning a union.

Our efforts at Temple finally paid off, but not before, as you can see in these pictures, a tense stand off between clergy and the Temple police.

These photos show the point where Bishop Dwayne Royster, Reverend Schaunel Steinnagel, Reverend Jay Broadnax and Reverend Renee Moore led us in song outside of the Board of Trustees meeting. We finally left after they pulled the paddy wagon up.

After we won the paid sick leave at Temple University, our campaign moved to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Our campaign launched from Arch Street Methodist Church after a worship service. The pictures of the “I Am A HuMan” signs capture that day.

After months of reaching out to then museum Director, Anne D’Harnoncourt, with no avail, we set off on our direct action campaign on April 4, a day forever remembered as the day that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was slain in Memphis, TN during the “I Am A Man” strike of sanitation workers.

The next slides are of our rally during the opening of the Cezanne exhibit at the museum.

Due to our presence, the museum completely altered their plans for a big opening party and had to bring all of their high dollar guests into the museum in an private bus.

Months later we declared our intention to form a union.

The “Welcoming Change” campaign is documented above.