sarah jaffe

Sarah Jaffe is a Type Media Center fellow and an independent journalist covering labor, economic justice, social movements, politics, gender, and pop culture.

Jaffe is the author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt, which Robin D.G. Kelley called “The most compelling social and political portrait of our age.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and many others. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast, as well as a columnist at the New Republic and New Labor Forum. Her next book, Labor of Love (forthcoming from Bold Type Books in 2020), tells the story of how we all came to love our jobs—or at least pretend to—and why we shouldn’t.

Jaffe was formerly a staff writer at In These Times and the labor editor at AlterNet. She was a contributing editor on The 99%: How the Occupy Wall Street Movement is Changing America, from AlterNet books, as well as a contributor to the anthologies At the Tea Party and Tales of Two Cities, both from OR Books. She was also the web director at GRITtv with Laura Flanders.

Jaffe was one of the first reporters to cover Occupy Wall Street and the Fight for $15, and she has appeared on numerous radio and television programs to discuss topics ranging from electoral politics to Superstorm Sandy, and punk rock to public-sector unions.

She has a master’s degree in journalism from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola University New Orleans. Sarah was born and raised in Massachusetts and has also lived in South Carolina, Louisiana, Colorado, and Pennsylvania—but currently calls New York home.

Recent Work

Paying Off Your Paid Leave

Paying Off Your Paid Leave

Many workers who need more sick time than they’ve accrued end up having to pay back their employers and go into ‘PTO debt.’
By Sarah Jaffe in The American Prospect.

Sephora Makes Plans to Reopen

Sephora Makes Plans to Reopen

“They have very unrealistic expectations of workers sacrificing their health so that people can buy makeup.”
By Sarah Jaffe in Dissent.

We Can Build a Better World After COVID-19

We Can Build a Better World After COVID-19

When the crisis is over, the question should not be, “How do we get everyone back to work?” but “Why weren’t we valuing our workers to begin with?”
By Sarah Jaffe in The Progressive.

Sara Nelson Says People Are Ready for Solidarity

Sara Nelson Says People Are Ready for Solidarity

The president of the Association of Flight Attendants tells Sarah Jaffe that the pandemic reveals what unions already know: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
By Sarah Jaffe in The Nation.

Books
Necessary Trouble

Necessary Trouble

Necessary Trouble is the definitive book on the movements that are poised to permanently remake American politics. We are witnessing a moment of unprecedented political turmoil and social activism. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the growth of the Tea Party, a twenty-first-century black freedom struggle with BlackLivesMatter, Occupy Wall Street, and the grassroots networks supporting presidential candidates in defiance of the traditional party elites.

Sarah Jaffe leads readers into the heart of these movements, explaining what has made ordinary Americans become activists. As Jaffe argues, the financial crisis in 2008 was the spark, the moment that crystallized that something was wrong. For years, Jaffe crisscrossed the country, asking people what they were angry about, and what they were doing to take power back. She attended a people’s assembly in a church gymnasium in Ferguson, Missouri; walked a picket line at an Atlanta Burger King; rode a bus from New York to Ohio with student organizers; and went door-to-door in Queens days after Hurricane Sandy.

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