Meeting Highlights: 

An New Executive Board was elected (See below and Executive Board Directory page of this website)

Four new Working Groups were created: K-12 Labor Education, On-Line Education, Popular Education, and Working Writers.

Resolutions were passed in solidarity with the struggles of Mexican electrical workers and mineworkers, and in suport of the DREAM Act and students who have been targeted for deportation.

We approved a modest dues increase.

UALE Membership Meeting
Friday, March 26, 2010
San Diego

EBoard members present: Dennis Serrette, Bob Ginsburg, Helena Worthen, Verlene Jones, Tess Ewing, Mike Wisniewski, Dawn Addy, Steve Schnapp, Sally Alvarez, Eric Muldoon, Betsy McConnell-Gutierrez, Joan Hill.

Meeting called to order at 4:00 pm.

Pres. Serrette opened the meeting with some remarks about how he had enjoyed and benefited from his terms as President, and the importance of our work.

I. Reports

Treasurer’s Report:    document Bob Ginsburg gave the Treasurer’s Report (34 KB) . He asked for questions. There were none.

Joe Berry moved that the Treasurer’s report be accepted as read. Motion was seconded and passed.

Secretary’s Report: Tess Ewing gave the Secretary’s Report.  We switched over to a new web hosting service last fall. Our new website allows us to put a directory of our membership online, so we will no longer be sending out directory CDs. This system allows updates to be made at any time, so we can keep members’ contact information much more current. The online Directory is only accessible to members who have created an account on the website. Most members have not yet created an account, and are urged to do so. To create an account, go to “Log in” on the main menu, then click on “create new account” and follow directions. If you do not know your membership number, you can add that later. The new web page uses a system (drupal) that allows for multiple users to upload and edit information without special software. We encourage UALE committees, Working Groups and other bodies to take on the job of maintaining their own pages on the site.

Reports of Committees, Working Groups and other bodies

Fred Glass gave the report from the K-12 Labor Education Working Group (formerly known as Labor in the Schools Task Force). Seven people attended their meeting. They discussed ways of getting more labor education into K-12 schools. They will have a resolution to propose later.

Helena Worthen gave the report from the Conference Committee. The Conference Committee, which was separate from the EBoard although there was a good deal of overlap, planned this conference. The work of organizing the Immigration/Globalization track and the Demonstration Workshop & Popular Education tracks was done by the “seeds” of the Immigration and Globalization Working Group and the Popular Education Working Group, respectively. A goal for this year is to stretch the planning out over a longer period; to avoid the last minute jam caused by late proposals and eleventh hour changes.

Eric Muldoon gave the report from the nascent Popular Education Working Group. Fifteen people attended the meeting. Our outlook will be to encourage all kinds of demonstration workshops at the UALE conference, but also to strive toward practicing true popular education. We chose 3 co-chairs, or a “troika”: Eric, Steve Schnapp and Tess Ewing.

Susan Winning reported that the Immigration Working Group had not yet met, and announced that the group would meet after the end of the membership meeting.

Kent Wong gave the report from the People of Color Caucus. They chose new co-chairs: Kim Smith and Stephanie Harris Kuiper. They also passed a proposal that they will bring up at the appropriate time during this meeting.

Verlene added an addendum to the People of Color Caucus report: they recommended that we use our website to link to other programs.

Monica Bielski Boris reported from the Women’s Committee. Last year, there were 3 successful summer schools. This year, we will hold 4 schools: The Northeast School will be at Penn State; the Southern School will be at the National Labor College; the Western School  will take place at Reed College in Portland, OR; and the Midwestern school will be at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. We have locations lined up for next year’s schools. We hope UALE will continue to fund the schools at the same level as it has been.

Joe Varga reported from the in-formation On-Line Education Working Group.  He and Lucy Callaghan were chosen Co-chairs. They invite people to participate and share best practices.

Sally Alvarez reported on the outcomes of the Future of UALE Task Force.  Soon after the founding of UALE, she reported, the AFL-CIO shut down its Education Department. That Department used to co-sponsor our conferences, and provided a lot of support. Now that we are on our own, it has become more important to build our numbers. We need to reach out to all who do any kind of labor education, even if labor education is not in their job titles. The Task Force, which was created at the last conference, met several times by phone, and then in person in November. In November, they came up with a series of nine recommendations to the EBoard. These were brought to the November 6 EBoard meeting, and the Board passed 8 of the 9. We have since coalesced the non-trivial recommendations into 4, which are printed in the conference program book. They are:

  1. To hold an aggressive membership drive. We would hire someone part-time to coordinate this drive.
  2. To increase dues. We have not had a dues increase in many years.
  3. To fund a limited amount of research. The Board would publish an rfp every year.
  4. To revive and clarify the definitions of our various committees and other bodies. This last recommendation has led to the creation of the Working Groups.

Of these 4 recommendations, one requires membership approval; that is #2: the dues increase.

Discussion of the proposal followed.

Several people noted that we have not had a dues increase in many years, and most similar organizations have higher dues.  Steve Ashby suggested that this was not a good year to raise dues. He stated that the Conference is too expensive. Helena noted that the cost of the conference and the level of the dues are two separate and unrelated matters. Lynn Feekin said she did not understand the need for paid staff: when people take on positions in UALE, don’t they bring the resources of their organizations? Tess said that some of the jobs have gotten much bigger, especially since the AFL-CIO pulled out from co-sponsoring the Conference. There is now too much work for most struggling labor education programs to absorb.

  document Bob G then formally proposed the dues increase that had been voted on by the EBoard (22 KB) . He outlined the trends in conference attendance over the last 4 years, and the consequent deficits we have run. He explained the structure of the dues increase.

Discussion: Sue Schurman said that a dues increase is overdue. She thinks the proposed increase is too low.

Joe Berry moved to support the dues increase. Steve Schnapp seconded the motion.

More discussion ensued. The question was called. The motion to call the question was seconded and pssed.

The main motion was then passed unanimously.

Labor Studies Journal Report. Bob Bruno reported that the next Journal will have an interactive section for the first time in several years. John Logan and Joe Berry will be the co-editors. The LSJ Board has not yet decided on a theme for next year’s special conference sessions. Several have been proposed; they are looking for others. Anyone who wants to propose a theme should email it to Michelle Kaminski and/or Bob Bruno . Anyone who submits a possible theme is also encouraged to volunteer to be an editor for that issue. The possible themes that have been suggested so far are:

  • Labor and Obama in March 2011
  • International Corporate Campaigns
  • Public opinions of unions

Bob concluded by saying that they are proud to have been able to get more international participation— one of their goals from last year. Now they want more submissions from UALE members.

New Business

Fred Glass submitted the   document resolution from the K-12 Labor Education Working Group (48 KB) , and moved to approve it.
Proposal seconded and passed

Judy Ancel submitted a   document Resolution in Solidarity with Workers in Mexico (25 KB) , to support mineworkers on strike at Cananea mine and electrical workers represented by SME, the Union of Mexican Electrical Workers. The resolution was seconded and passed unanimously.

Consequently, a bag was passed around the room to gather donations for the two unions. Over $700 was collected

Kent Wong introduced 2 resolutions from the People of Color Caucus.

Discussion ensued. Helena pointed out that it is the job of the EBoard and the Conference Committee to pick the theme for the conference, and asked that the proposed theme be referred to the Conference Committee for final decision.

Kent agreed to amended proposal to say that we accept the spirit of the theme, and that it be integrated into the conference, pending acceptance by the Conference Committee. The proposal as amended passed unanimously.

Motion seconded and passed unanimously

Joe Berry asked to recognize the passing of 3 labor educator colleagues last year, as well as of great left historian Howard Zinn. The three labor educators were Jean Troutman Poole, Bill Edelman and Archie Green. We took a moment of silence in honor of these 4 fallen comrades.

Betsy McConnell-Gutierrez proposed the formation of a Working Group to promote Worker Writers. This proposal grew out of the breakout session “Writers, Readers and Workers”. She and Timothy Sheard will be the co-chairs. They will submit their application to tomorrow’s EBoard meeting. They welcome other participants.

Bill Shields proposed that UALE hold regional meetings. They would probably draw in new people, who cannot necessarily afford to go to the national conferences. Bob Ginsburg pointed out that this is already written into our constitution as one of the roles of the regions. Sally explained that organizing regional meetings is the job of the regional representative, not of the national EBoard. We are already on record as willing to provide support.

Sue Schurman rose to say that the Sahra Ryklief, the General Secretary, and Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, the Vice President of the International Federation of Workers Education Associations are here today. Sue herself is the President of the organization. UALE is an affiliate of IFWEA. They will be holding a conference, hopefully in November 2011 in Cape Town. If not then, there will be one the following year in Norway. Sue hopes that UALE members will attend.  

Verlene Jones expressed the sentiment of the People of Color Caucus in asking that when the Conference Planning Committee is put together, an effort be made to include people of color.   Helena agreed with the view that it would be good to have more people of color on the committee, and asked for volunteers to join it. Thandabantu Iverson volunteered.

Nominations and Elections

Dennis announced the opening of nominations for EBoard positions. All positions are open (except for LSJ rep). Some current EBoard members are planning to run for reelection; others are not.

The following people were nominated for positions to be voted on by the membership as a whole, and accepted their nominations:

President: Elissa McBride  (unopposed)

Vice President, Universities: Helena Worthen (unopposed)
Vice President, Unions: Cheryl Teare & Ken Kroeger
Treasurer: Dawn Addy (unopposed)
Secretary: Mike Wisniewski  (unopposed)
University Rep: Bob Bussel  (unopposed)
Union Rep: Eric Muldoon (unopposed)
Community-based Organization Rep: Bob Ginsburg (unopposed)
At Large: Betsy McConnell Gutierrez; Tracy Chang, Rutgers; Kent Wong, UCLA; Tess Ewing, UMass; Sally Alvarez, Cornell; Kim Smith, USW;

All people running unopposed for positions were voted in by acclaim.

Before voting on the contested positions, we divided into regional caucuses to elect the 4 regional representatives to the Board. The following people were elected as regional reps:

Northeast: Elise Bryant

Midwest: Don Taylor
South: Joan Hill
West: Verlene Jones

After the regional reps were chosen,  we voted on the 4 contested positions: Union VP and 3 At-Large positions.
The winners were:

Union VP: Cheryl Teare

At-Large Reps: Tracy Chang, Kent Wong,Tess Ewing

The meeting was adjourned after the votes were counted.

Respectfully Submitted,
Tess Ewing
Secretary at the time of the meeting