Jonathan Lange

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Jonathan Lange
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Born (1953-01-17) January 17, 1953 (age 71)
Phoenix, Arizona
  • Labor
  • Community organizer

Jonathan I Lange, (born January 17, 1953 in Phoenix, Arizona); is a labor and community organizer. He is probably best known for conceiving and organizing the first Living Wage Campaign in 1992 with the BUILD organization (Industrial Areas Foundation Affiliate)[1]. The Living Wage grew into a movement with campaigns on multiple continents. A few years later in 1999, Lange was invited by the organization that became Citizens UK to start the Living Wage Campaign in the United Kingdom. That UK campaign has flourished and has resulted in tens of thousands of UK workers earning significantly more pay. The UK campaign included a successful effort to make the 2012 Olympic Games the first “Living Wage Olympics.” Twenty years later, Lange published a critique of his work and the Living Wage in the Nation Magazine stating that Living Wage Campaigns alone, without the building of strong unions were never going to solve the income disparity found in the United States.

Education And Early Life

Lange was introduced to labor and community organizing at Carleton College (Bachelor’s in government 1975) by his professor, Paul Wellstone. Later, after completing a Master’s in political science from Arizona State University, he moved to North Carolina and began work with the Brown Lung Association (BLA) as the organizer bof the Greensboro chapter.

Career And International Influence

After two years of organizing with the BLA, Lange was hired as a field organizer with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and was promoted to Assistant Southern Director of the union in 1984. For eight years, Lange led organizing campaigns in the Southeastern United States and was also seconded to work with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in Brooklyn, New York. He and his family moved to Baltimore in 1992 to start the Living Wage effort. That was followed by 30 years of supervising IAF projects in the USA, the UK, and Germany with DICO. During his time with the IAF, Lange also consulted with various labor unions in the USA, Canada, and Israel / Palestine.

Leadership Training And Publication

He co-authored a popular book on strengthening local union branches in the wake of the Janus Decision. Perhaps Lange's biggest contribution to organizing has come from his training and mentoring scores of younger organizers. Since retiring from full time work, he has organized part time with the Common Good Foundation in the United Kingdom directed by Lord Maurice Glasman.

Personal Life

Lange has been married to Loree Benziger since 1976. They have three children, Matthew Lange (Organizer with AFSCME Council 31), Kathryn Newkirk (4th grade teacher in St. Mary's County, Maryland) and Derek Lange (educator in Denver Colorado Schools). Jonathan Lange and his wife, Loree, also have five grandchildren.

Lange resides in Annapolis Maryland where he can be found at the Severn Sailing Association racing Lightning Sailboats when he is not organizing.

  1. ^ Deslippe, Dennis (2020). "BUILD, Baltimore's Working Poor, and Economic Citizenship in the 1990s". Journal of Civil and Human Rights. 1 (2020): 31–60.


  1. Deslippe, Dennis (2020). "BUILD, Baltimore's Working Poor, and Economic Citizenship in the 1990s". Journal of Civil and Human Rights 6. 1: 31–60. doi:10.5406/jcivihumarigh.6.1.0031.

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