A Moment of Challenge and Opportunity

UALE Annual Conference
National Labor College
Silver Spring, MD
April 15-18, 2009 


New since the Conference

Some photos from the conference have been uploaded to this site. A lot more photos can be seen on Picasaweb. Many thanks to Ken Kroeger, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, for the photos.

A number of the papers and presentations given at the Conference have been made available by the authors and can be downloaded from this site. Most of them can be found here

About the Conference

UALE, the United Association for Labor Education, is made up of university-based, union-based and community-based labor educators. Participants from all three of these groups will be presenting at our 2009 Conference. The conference  will reflect the work of the different populations and contexts that these three kinds of labor educators work with. It will include research papers, case studies and theoretical materials; teaching demonstrations, examples of tools, performances, workshops, curriculum samples and strategy sessions. In addition, the Labor Studies Journal will be sponsoring their own special sessions within the conference.

Finally, we will be presenting UALE annual awards to outstanding contributors to the field of labor education

In 2009, anticipating that important changes will be taking place in our social and political environment, we have asked our presenters to focus on alternatives for labor that may or may not emerge from those changes.

Conference presenters will describe research, education strategies, historical precedents or theoretical constructs that address three general types of alternatives:
   1. Alternatives that are emerging within the U.S. labor movement
   2. Alternatives that are emerging in Europe, Asia and the global South;
   3. Alternatives that have not yet emerged, but may be needed to replace existing structures and models that are failing.

In addition to being a forum for presentation of research and academic work, one of the major purposes of the UALE Conference is to provide an informal setting for union-based, community-organization based and university labor educators to meet and discuss the strategies they use to help build the labor movement.

From the economic crisis to the environment, from immigration to the war in Iraq, from candid discussions around racism to new solidarity building efforts, from the fallout of the Bush administration to developing strategies of working with a new administration, workers and their unions have important issues to confront.

How, as labor educators, might we meet these challenges?  What teaching approaches have we developed – or do we hope to learn – to do this work?

All of this and more will be presented, discussed and debated at the 2009 UALE Conference.


The  Conference Program Book is still available for   pdf download (679 KB)

For details of Breakout Sessions, click on "Breakout Sessions" in any of the time slots below. A list of   pdf Task Force, Caucus and Committee meetings (68 KB) is also available.

Day/Time Event Location
Wednesday, April 15    
5:00 -   8:00pm

Registration/Welcome Table open

Various taskforces and caucuses will have meeting times or contact information posted at the registration table.

Mezzanine, Kirkland Ctr
 3:00 - 5:30pm

UALE Executive Board Meeting
All UALE members welcome.

Kirkland Ctr, Rm 9217, 2d floor
 5:30 onward

Task Force Meetings:

  • Labor in the Schools: Contact Fred Glass, , or 510.523.5238, prior to the conference.  This dinner meeting will discuss a new national K-12 labor education policy initiative spearheaded by the AFT.
  • Organizing Task Force: Contact Lynn Feekin or meet at 5:45 at the registration table for a supper meeting
Kirkland Ctr Cafeteria (or take out on trays)
 6:00 - 7:00pm  Dinner Kirkland Ctr Cafeteria
 7:30 - 8:30pm

 New Participant Welcome

  • Dawn Addy, convener

Welcome and orientation to UALE for new participants. All are welcome.

Solidarity Hall C, Kirkland Ctr
 8:30 - 10:00pm


  •  Moderator: Joan Hill
  •  Presenter: Darryl! L.C. Moch
Kirkland Ctr Rm 9232-33
Thursday, April 16    
  7:00 am - 8:00am


Immigration Task Force Meeting (co-chairs: Deborah Rosenstein & Susan WInning)

Kirkland Ctr Cafeteria


  8:30am - 5:00pm Registration table open Mezzanine, Kirkland Ctr
  8:30am - 9:30am   pdf Breakout Sessions (68 KB)

various rooms, Kirkland Ctr & North Classroom Bldg.

   9:45am- 10:00am


  • Dennis Serrette, President, UALE; Education Director, CWA
  • Fred Mason, President, Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO
  • Ernie Grecco, President, Baltimore AFL-CIO
  • Joselyn Williams, President, Metro Washinton AFL-CIO

Solidarity Hall C,
Kirkland Ctr.

10:00am - 12:00 noon

Opening Plenary
Imagining Alternatives: A Moment of Challenge and Opportunity

Moderator: Phil Thompson, Assoc. Professor of Urban Politics, MIT


  • Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice
  • Benedicto Martínez, Pres., Frente Auténtico del Trabajo, (Mexico)
  • José La Luz, AFSCME
  • Margrete Strand Rangnes, Co-Executive Director, Blue Green Alliance and Sierra Club

Solidarity Hall C,
Kirkland Ctr.

12:15 - 1:15pm

Lunch & lunch meetings

  • General Lunch
  • University Directors' Lunch

Kirkland Ctr


Rm 9170 (1st floor)

 1:15 - 2:30 pm   pdf Breakout Sessions (68 KB) various rooms, Kirkland Ctr
 2:45 - 4:15 pm

Plenary: Challenging Racism in Workers' Organizations

The historic candidacy of Barak Obama forced U.S. worker organizations to confront racism within our ranks to win an election, but can we bring a similar anti-oppression perspective to ongoing education and the everyday practices of our organizations? This plenary will examine a variety of strategies employed in Brazil, Canada and the U.S.


  • Martinho da Conceição, CUT, Brazil
  • Bill Fletcher Jr., co-author, Solidarity Divided
  • Barb Thomas, co-author Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations 
  • Saket Soni, New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice 
Solidarity Hall C, Kirkland Ctr
  4:30 - 5:45 pm

  pdf Breakout Sessions (68 KB)

various rooms
 6:00 - 8:00 pm

NLC Archives Tour
Lynda DeLoach, Archivist

By pre-conference sign-up only; contact

by arrangement with Lynda DeLoach
 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Welcome from National Labor College
Tom Kriger, Provost

Note: The reception Thursday night will include beer and wine but not dinner-type food. Please eat in the cafeteria which opens for dinner at 5:45.

Kirkland Ctr, Mezzanine
  8:15 - 11:00pm Films
  •  Moderator: Joan Hill
  •  Presenters: Darryl! L.C. Moch
Check at registration for names of films.

Kirkland Ctr,
Rm 9232-33

Friday, April 17    
  7:00 - 8:00am


  • Task Force meeting:  Central Labor Council and State Federation Committee Meeting. (Contact: Monica Bielski)
Kirkland Ctr Cafeteria
  8:30am - 5:00pm
Registration table open Mezzanine, Kirkland Ctr
  8:00 - 10:45am   pdf Breakout Sessions (91 KB)  various rooms
11:00 am -12:00pm

  pdf Breakout Sessions (91 KB)

 various rooms
12:00 noon - 1:30pm


  • General Lunch
  • Women's Committee Lunch
    (hosted by Berger-Marks Foundation)
    Co-Chairs: Monica Bielski Boris & P.J. Dowsing-Buie

Kirkland Ctr


Rm 9170 (1st floor)

  1:30 -2:45 pm


  pdf Breakout Sessions (91 KB)

 various rooms
  3:00 - 4:00pm

  pdf Breakout Sessions (91 KB)

 various rooms
  4:15 - 5:45 pm General Membership Meeting

Solidarity Hall C,
Kirkland Ctr

  6:00 - 7:00pm

Dinner and meetings

  • LSJ Editorial Board meeting

Kirkland Ctr Cafeteria

Kirkland Ctr Rm 9170 (1st floor) 

  7:30 - 9:00pm

Cultural Event:

  • DC Labor Chorus with
  • Anne Feeney
  • Elise Bryant, MC
Saturday,  18    
  7:00 - 8:30am


  • Union Directors’ Breakfast
    This is an open meeting; everyone is welcome
    Co-Chairs: Verlene Jones, Dennis Serrette
Kirkland Ctr Cafeteria
  8:45 - 10:00am   pdf Breakout Sessions (58 KB) various rooms
10:15 - 11:30am

  pdf Breakout Sessions (58 KB)

arious rooms
11:30 - 12:00noon Checkout
12:00 noon - 1:30pm

Closing Lunch and Awards Presentation

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Charlie Micallef
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Field: Judy Ancel, Heartland Labor Forum
  • Best BookSolidarity Divided, by Bill Fletcher, Jr., and Fernando Gapasín
  • Best Article in Labor Studies Journal: Jason Albright, “Contending Rationality, Leadership, and Collective Struggle:  The 2006 Justice for Janitors Campaign at the University of Miami”
  • New Generation Award: TBA

Solidarity Hall D, Kirkland Ctr

  1:45 - 3:30pm


Plenary: The Employee Free Choice Act: A Challenge for Labor Educators

Moderators: Sheldon Friedman, AFL-CIO and Elissa McBride, AFSCME


  • Judy Ancel UMKC
  • Monica Bielski Boris, UIUC
  • Kate Bronfenbrenner Cornell University
  • Philip Dine, author, State of the Unions
  • Gordon Lafer, University of Oregon
  • John Logan UCal Berkeley
  • Ruth Needleman, IU Northwest
  • Sara Slinn, York University
  • Don Taylor, U WI School for Workers
  • Diane Thomas-Holladay, UALR

UALE members are putting together this session to present the most recent research and teaching strategies related to the crisis in organizing and bargaining that has forced demands to reform labor law.


Solidarity Hall C, Kirkland Ctr

  4:00 - 5:30pm

UALE Executive Board meeting
All UALE members welcome

Kirkland Ctr, Rm 9217, 2d floor

Thank you to the Berger-Marks Foundation
for hosting the lunch for the Women’s Caucus at UALE 2009

The Berger-Marks Foundation's mission is to bring the benefits of unionism to working women and provide resources, training, and financial assistance to women organizers and working women who want to organize other women into unions through training, research and other resources.  It was established with a bequest from the estates of Edna Berger, the first female lead organizer for The Newspaper Guild-CWA, and her husband, the legendary Tin Pan Alley song-writer Gerald Marks. Its website (www.bergermarks.org) offers the latest news – updated regularly – including tips, tactics, legal issues, events, a multitude of resources, and effective strategies women organizers use.  Grants are available to support organizing efforts and related activities.  For more information, please contact us at

 Curriculum Display

An innovation of this year's Conference was a Curriculum Display, where a number of people and programs showed and shared curricula and teaching materials for workshops and courses that they have taught. To see what was on display, click here. Some of these materials may still be available if you contact the authors.


Awards were givem for Best Book, Best Article in Labor Studies Journal, Outstanding Contribution to Labor Education, Lifetime Achievement, and best paper from a new labor educator (New Generation Award). 

To read about the award winners, click here.