Erik Peterson brings nearly 35 years of experience as a community and electoral organizer and community-based educator to his work. Now a counsultant, Erik most recently served as Wellstone Action’s Director of Strategic Initiatives.
He has served at all levels of campaign organizing in state and local races: MN United for All Families (2012), Lead Consultant for the Australian Labor Party, Tasmania (2011), MN GOTV Consultant (2010; 2008; 2006; 2004), Lead Consultant for Mark Ritchie’s Secretary of State race (2006). He served as a field consultant on the 1996 and 2002 Wellstone for Senate campaigns, has recruited dozens of candidates, and has managed or served as General Consultant for three gubernatorial races as well as managed over two dozen legislative, mayoral, city council, school board and county commissioner races. In addition, he worked for seven years as an AFSCME union representative and organizer and has helped build and lead several labor-community coalitions including the Duluth Living Wage Campaign which was the first coalition to attach wage requirements with corporate subsidies.
Erik has extensive experience working with unions, progressive advocacy non-profits, and labor-community coalitions around strategic planning and messaging; leading organizational change that supports deep member-driven organizing and leadership development; and designing strategic, grassroots issue campaigns. He has worked with some of the largest unions and organizing networks in the United States, including the AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, LIUNA, USW, NEA and numerous state affiliates, PICO, NPA, CCC, BISC, State Voices, Working Families Party, as well as doing work in Australia with Campaign Action!, United Voice (formerly LHMU), Financial Sector Union (FSU), Unions New South Wales, and the Sydney Alliance.
Erik serves as Professor in the University of Minnesota's Masters program in Advocacy and Political Leadership. He is a former Director of Northern Minnesota Programs for the University of Minnesota Labor Education Service and was a professor in American Studies and Cultural Studies at the University of Minnesota for 18 years. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Erik lives and works out of a century farm in Esko, MN, just south of Duluth - the Midwest's "San Francisco" with a view you can afford.