The Huron Valley Worker Organizing and Research Center

The Huron Valley Area Labor Federation, the body of labor unions in Washtenaw, Livingston, Jackson, and Hillsdale counties that are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, is committed to improving the lives of all working families- not just those who have the benefits of a union. In 2021, HVALF delegates and community partners joined together to establish the Huron Valley Worker Organizing and Research Center (HV-WORC) to help build the power of the regional labor movement.


The Huron Valley Area Labor Federation, the body of labor unions in Washtenaw, Livingston, Jackson, and Hillsdale counties that are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, is committed to improving the lives of all working families- not just those who have the benefits of a union. In 2021, HVALF delegates and community partners joined together to establish the Huron Valley Worker Organizing and Research Center (HV-WORC) to help build the power of the regional labor movement.

The Huron Valley Worker Organizing and Research Center (HV-WORC) exists to provide research and education in support of worker efforts to organize and act collectively to improve their working and living conditions.

HV-WORC is a space for workers from all sectors to organize together to address issues affecting working people in their workplaces and communities. Together, members of HV-WORC

  • Train workers on the rights of workers, how to start a union, run strategic campaigns, plan public actions, and more;

  • Conduct research, provide education, and advocate for labor and social policies in support of local worker organizing efforts that benefit communities

  • Coordinate union and community member support for member campaigns to improve their working and living conditions


HV-WORC is run by worker-members. Membership is open to workers from all sectors, whether members of a union or not, living or working within Washtenaw, Jackson, Livingston, or Hillsdale counties who commit to helping build fairer workplaces and more just and sustainable communities.

Members are responsible for paying monthly dues, attending the New Member Orientation workshop, and participating in regular membership meetings. Members in good standing are able to vote on the decisions made by the membership during membership meetings which decide the priorities and organizing activities that HV-WORC takes on.

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HV-WORC Committees are created by a majority vote of the membership and are made up of stewards and members. Each committee is facilitated by a Committee Chair.

  • Campaigns and Organizing Development Committee - The Campaigns and Organizing Development Committee is responsible for directing the primary work of HV-WORC. Members are trained in workplace and campaign organizing and support workers in organizing their workplace or community.

  • Communications and Education Committee - The Communications and Education Committee is responsible for HV-WORC internal and external communications and for developing trainings, workshops, and other educational materials.

  • Finance Committee - The Finance Committee is chaired by the Treasurer and is responsible for the financial health of HV-WORC, including fundraising and managing membership dues.


HV-WORC members elect stewards to represent the interests of members from a particular workplace, sector, or location in worker center discussions and activities. Stewards are also responsible for planning and leading membership meetings, running workshops, and developing campaigns.

Stewards serve one year terms and are elected by the members at membership meetings. One steward is elected for every 10 HV-WORC members and each steward must remain in good standing for the length of their term.

The general operations of HV-WORC is governed by the Board of Directors, which includes the Principal Officers: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. In January 2022, the Board of Directors were appointed by the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation delegate body and the Principal Officers were elected by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. After the HV-WORC reaches 200 members, the Board of Directors and Principal Officers will be elected by the membership. Officers serve two year terms and the Board members who are not Officers serve one year terms.

Board of Directors

Daric Thorne


Daric has been serving as a delegate with the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation since 2015. Since that time he has been working across Washtenaw County to talk with workers, and help them learn how to affect change in their workplaces through organizing and collective action. In 2018 he was elected as President of the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers, and served in contract negotiation roles within his local. His work continues now at the Huron Valley Worker Organizing and Research Center, hoping to provide the resources and platforms workers need to stand up together.

Liz Ratzloff

Vice President

Liz Ratzloff is the Vice President of HV-WORC. In her role, Liz is excited to support the membership through the facilitation of trainings and helping to develop strategic campaign plans. Liz currently works for the Labor Network for Sustainability which is building a powerful labor-climate movement to secure an ecologically sustainable and economically just future where everyone can make a living on a living planet.

She got her start as an organizer fighting for abortion access and local LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination protections as a college student at Michigan State. While getting her Masters in Environmental Informatics and Conservation Ecology, she began working as the staff organizer for the University of Michigan graduate employees union, GEO AFT Local 3550. In 2020, Liz helped lead a campus-wide strike for a safe and just pandemic response and led efforts to establish a multi-union People’s Budget, centering the priorities of workers and the broader community through participatory budgeting.

In addition to her role as the HV-WORC Vice-President, Liz founded and co-chairs the Just Transition Committee at the AFL-CIO Huron Valley Area Labor Federation where she is working with other union members to build the strong, labor-climate movement needed to move the local economy off of fossil fuels, while ensuring good jobs for workers.

Liz lives in Ypsi with her fiance, Meg, and their two dogs and two cats. In her spare time she enjoys working on home remodeling projects, making and eating fresh pasta, and painting with watercolor and acrylics.

Jeremy Lapham


Jennifer Jones

Board Member

Michelle Deatrick

Board Member

Michelle Regalado Deatrick is a policy analyst, farmer, technical writer and poet. Passionate about empowering workers and economic justice, Michelle is the SE Michigan contact for the National Writers Union, a member of UAW Local 2320, and a former spokesperson for Michigan One Fair Wage.

Also passionate about upholding climate and environmental justice, Michelle is the Chair and Founder of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council, founder of Washtenaw County's first Environmental Council, member of the National Advisory Boards of Climate Power and OnePointFive Climate Pledge, and a Board Director for the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy. She is a former Vice Chair of the Washtenaw County Commission and holds degrees from Wesleyan, Harvard and the University of Michigan. Michelle lives with her family on an 80-acre farm east of Ann Arbor.

Phil Bianco

Board Member

Phil Bianco is a labor and community organizer residing in Washtenaw County with experience organizing and representing workers in retail, food service, and healthcare. He has organized as a worker in a non-union environment, as a union member, and as a union staffer, and is an active leader in the Democratic Socialists of America locally and statewide.

Tad Wysor

Board Member

Ian Robinson

Board Member

Ian Robinson has been the President of the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, since 2014. In April of 2022, he became Interim President of the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium.

He was the President of LEO (AFT-MI 6244), the union of Lecturers, Librarians, Archivists Curators on the three campuses of the University of Michigan, from 2016 through 2021. Ian has been a Lecturer and Research Scientist in the Sociology Department and the Residential College's Social Theory and Practice Program since the Fall of 1998, and was a member of the LEO organizing committee that helped to get the union started in the early 2000s. He has been committed to helping workers to organize ever since. Ian's doctoral dissertation was on the deeper causes of Canada-US union density divergence from the mid-1960s. His research and writing include work on local wages and working conditions in Washtenaw County, the impacts of neoliberal economic restructuring on workers and unions in North America, worker and democracy-friendly alternatives to neoliberal trade policies such as NAFTA and the WTO, and the potential scope of ethical consumption. He teaches courses on the dynamics of neoliberal globalization and alternatives to it, on ethical consumption, on the uses of social science theory for social change, and organizing.

Trent Varva

HVALF Field Coordinator

Trent is the field coordinator for the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation and a member of Laborers Local 499. He has over a decade of experience organizing in a range of spaces, from community campaigns, electoral politics, and now the Labor movement. Trent has also worked as a rank and file construction worker as a member of Liuna and brings that experience to his work in organizing. When he is not advocating for the labor movement he enjoys exercising and supporting his children in their athletic endeavors.


Justin Yuan


Justin graduated from the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, studying Political Science and Sociology. He was a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at the University of Michigan and is currently an active member of Huron Valley DSA as well as a member of the National Writers Union and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO. He firmly believes that the cause of labor is the hope of the world.


To learn more about the Huron Valley Workers Organizing and Research Center, please email