Our colleague and friend Jane McAlevey has entered hospice

As some members of the Labor Center community may know, Senior Policy Fellow Jane McAlevey sent the letter below to friends, family, collegues and supporters to explain that she has entered hospice care. Jane has been fighting terminal cancer for some time, while continuing to tirelessly train, write, consult, and mentor as many organizers and labor leaders as possible across the globe. We are holding her in our thoughts.

Ken Jacobs and Brenda Muñoz, co-chairs, on behalf of the Labor Center

Dear family, friends, colleagues, and newsletter subscribers,

Many of you know that I have been battling a cancer that began with a diagnosis in the Fall of 2021. The prognosis from the start was bad as the cancer is incurable, and the strain I was afflicted with is as fierce as they come (a mutation known as 4-14 high-risk multiple myeloma). I kept the fight private for the first year but when all the latest and most powerful drugs were being defeated with devastating speed, I began to open up to coworkers and those I am closest to. By last fall, 2023, when the cancer added an attack on my cerebral spinal system not just my bones, it was clear time was short. I decided to allow the first public mention of the cancer in a profile done in the New Yorker magazine, in an article called, “How Jane McAlevey Transformed the Labor Movement.”

Thanks to my union-negotiated healthcare plan, I’ve had a brilliant team of doctors from Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California at San Francisco throwing the latest clinical trials and more at it trying to slow down what became a steamroller. The cancer has been attacking with a ferocity that has taken away the breath even of my medical team. In February, we tried one last ‘Hail Mary’ experiment and it, too, failed. I am completely out of options and as of last week, have stopped all work to turn to home-based hospice for the remainder of my time. No matter how much I love the challenge of a good fight, this was never one I could win.

Along the way, longtime friends and family, and a supportive employer, have cheered me on, and treated me with grace, love, tenderness and so much care. We don’t know if my time in hospice will be short as in a week or longer, maybe a few months. But I do know that from here out I will be focused on spending time with loved ones, while loudly applauding every worker in every fight against what has become a rapacious, vicious new gilded age elite, whose predatory nature is nothing less than despicable, not to mention criminal.

With any luck, I will have enough time to cobble together a few more written reflections before I leave the world as we know it, but no telling. I am so grateful to so many thousands—tens of thousands—of people and so privileged to have worked with simply extraordinary organizers that I am at a loss for the words to thank you all properly. I am holding Audre Lorde’s genius as closely as I can:

— I am deliberate and afraid of nothing, Audre Lorde

Solidarity, peace and love,