OLYMPIA (Feb. 2, 2021) — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is proud to welcome two young leaders — Laurel Poplack and Jasmin Rezaie-Tirabadi — to its legislative team as the WSLC pursues its 2021 Workers’ Recovery Agenda and navigates the unique challenges of the virtual legislative session.
“We’re very grateful to have Laurel and Jasmin on our team this year,” said Joe Kendo, WSLC Government Affairs Director. “Laurel’s experience assisting workers who had been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly apt given the importance of unemployment insurance policy this year. And having Jasmin’s assistance with bill reviews and amendments has been particularly helpful. We’re all learning how to navigate a remote legislative session, and having them on our team has been a real boon.”
As Legislative Intern, Laurel Poplack helps the WSLC to develop and coordinate its legislative advocacy for Washington working families. Born in Yujiang, Jiangxi, China, she describes herself as a “queer Jewish Chinese person” who has experienced years of housing instability and being an unrepresented low-wage worker.
“I’ve organized with tenants for housing justice in Olympia and most recently worked on the Take Back 2020 Unite Here! political campaign in Reno, Nevada,” Poplack said. “Through these experiences, I now understand the significance of our power when we act collectively. I am passionate and ready to mobilize to create more equitable systems for us all. I am very excited for my legislative internship with the WSLC. It is a meaningful next step in my fight for justice to support and strengthen workers’ rights in Washington state.”
For the past two years, Poplack has worked for YWCA Olympia, both as an Americorps service member and as Program Specialist to help create, track and advance the organization’s legislative agenda. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she also has worked with Unite Here! Local 8 to help support its laid-off members seek unemployment and health benefits, food assistance and grant applications, and done tenant organizing work with Washington Community Action Network. She earned her B.A. in American Cultural Studies from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in 2016.
As the WSLC’s Legal Extern, Jasmin Rezaie-Tirabadi is reviewing and researching legislation and amendments for the WSLC. She is a second-year law student at Seattle University who grew up in Yakima and saw firsthand the importance of advocating for labor rights.
“My grandparents were farmworkers in the Yakima Valley region and their experience, and the experience of many others, has made advocating for farmworker rights close to my heart,” Rezaie-Tirabadi said. “My family’s experience is why I decided to pursue a law degree to be able to help advocate and fight for the rights of workers.”
Rezaie-Tirabadi has worked as an immigration paralegal and as a legal intern with Columbia Legal Services, where she researched how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting incarcerated persons in Washington and assisted attorneys on an H-2A workers’ rights case.
“I am looking forward to working with the WSLC and its affiliated unions because I believe in the importance of advocating for the working families in Washington,” she said. “It is important now more than ever to advocate for workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”