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PIRG stands for the Public Interest Research Group.
We're looking for people who agree that America has more problems than we should tolerate, but who also understand that there are solutions that we’re not using.
Here’s just one example:
Industrial-style factory farms use massive quantities of antibiotics, not to treat sick animals, but to make them fatter, faster. Meanwhile, in hospitals and medical centers, it’s becoming harder to treat infections from pneumonia to MRSA, because bacteria are developing antibiotic resistance. In fact, every year now about 2 million Americans are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 will die each year as a result. If the overuse of antibiotics is helping to kill 23,000 people every year, then we should stop using our life-saving medicines to fatten up cows, chickens or pigs. But, factory farms are fighting tooth and nail to prevent any changes that might protect public health.
PIRG Fellows are casting a spotlight on this problem by doing everything from working on our nationwide grassroots public education campaign, holding media and visibility events and promoting new research online.
Our work doesn’t stop at exposing problems: We organize the public to win practical solutions. For example, on our antibiotics campaign we know that the Food and Drug Administration has the authority to change the rules about how factory farms administer antibiotics. And we know the Obama administration is actively considering action on the problem. But the lobbyists for the National Pork Producers Council and the National Chicken Council are resisting new rules in favor of a “voluntary” code of conduct.
So how do we get the Obama administration to act in the public interest — to give more weight to public health and safety over the interests of agribusiness?
We start by winning the argument on the merits. That’s a given.
But we also need to inform the public and get attention for the problem — because we know that even government officials with the best of intentions act differently when they know the public is paying attention.
And we need to show these officials that the public is with us — because the best counterweight to pressure from a powerful special interest is more attention from the public telling them to do the right thing.
That’s our strategy, and given the problems we’re working to solve, and all the problems we’re not even addressing right now, we need more people with the smarts, the talent, the training and the skills to join us as advocates for the public interest.
We’re hiring 12 Fellows and placing them in 6 states to work on these problems: whether it’s stopping the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms, or one of our other top priority campaigns like checking the influence of billionaires and super PACs over our elections, giving consumers the right to know if GMOs are in their food, passing new recycling laws, or promoting smart transportation options for a 21st century economy.
What Fellows Do
Our fellows don’t just sit behind a desk. You’ll be out in the real world — recruiting new groups to join a coalition, speaking at a church basement or town hall to win a new endorsement, organizing a news event or rally, meeting with an editorial board, or doing whatever else it takes to urge our public officials to do the right thing.
This is a two-year program, expressly designed to prepare future leaders within PIRG.
We do have more problems than we should tolerate in America, and we have plenty of solutions that we could be putting to use. And while powerful industries and other special interests will continue hiring lobbyists, we need you to help us balance the scales, stand up for the public, and help solve more of America’s problems.
We look for smarts, leadership experience, top-notch written and verbal skills, and an eagerness to learn. We value experience organizing, including building campus groups.
Locations and start dates
We’re hiring for positions in Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, OR, and Raleigh, NC. If you’re flexible, you can apply for multiple locations. We accept applications on a rolling basis.
Salary and benefits
Campaign organizers starting in August will earn $24,500 in your first year and $26,000 in your second year. You’ll be eligible to join our group health plan at no cost to you. You’ll receive two weeks of paid vacation at the completion of your first year, and accrue three weeks over the course your second year. You’ll be eligible to apply for college loan assistance after your third month, and to participate in our 401(k) plan at the end of your first year.
Ready to apply?
If you are ready to dig in and start solving the problems that confront our country, consider a job with U.S. PIRG, the federation of state PIRGs.
You can solve real problems that affect the lives of thousands, sometimes millions of people. Find out more about our open positions.