Jess Walsh has spent her working life as a researcher, campaigner and union leader.
She has been proud to represent diverse people including cleaners, early childhood educators and hospitality workers with United Voice, one of Australia’s largest unions.
Jess is passionate about helping people who perform undervalued and underpaid work in our country to build a strong voice at work, in the community and in politics. Her campaigns have helped diverse communities win respect and recognition in some of Australia’s lowest-paid sectors. Recently, she launched Hospo Voice, Australia’s first digital union for young hospitality workers.
Jess decided to work in the Australian union movement after living, studying and working in the US in the 1990s. There, she saw a rise in poverty-wage jobs, where people struggle to make ends meet despite often working full-time. She was inspired though, by the determination of low-paid, migrant and women workers to stand up for a better life through their unions. After completing postings in US urban and economic policy centres, Jess returned to Australia, later becoming United Voice’s Victorian Secretary.
Jess holds a Masters Degree from the University of Southern California and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.