Rethink, Rebuild, Revitalize: Labor, Education and Our Communities

April 5-8, Detroit

Registration is now open!

2017 conference art


Conference format

Conference Schedule

Materiales en español Registration Labor History Tour  Annual Achievement Awards
Call for Proposals Proposal Requirements  LSJ Call for papers Next Generation Awards & Research Grants Community Grants Deadlines for submissions
    Accommodations Downloads    


Nota: El formato de la conferencia, la convocatoria de propuestas, requisitos para las propuestas, y la solicitud de subvención comunitaria están disponibles en español en la página Conferencia 2017, y también se pueden descargar desde esta página. Otros materiales en español se agregarán a la página Conferencia 2017 a medida que estén disponibles.

Esta conferencia se presentará en inglés. Si usted o alguien de su grupo desea participar y requiere interpretación en otro idioma (es decir, español, ASL, Malayo, etc.), envíe un correo electrónico al organizador de la conferencia a través de Trataremos de hacer lo mejor para acomodar su petición, estaremos en contacto si no podemos en este momento.

Note: The Conference Format, the Call for Proposals, Proposal Requirements and Community Grants Application are available in Spanish on the Conferencia 2017 page, or they can be downloaded from this page. Other Spanish materials will be added to the Conferencia 2017 page as they become available.

This conference is conducted in English. If you or someone from your party wishes to participate and requires interpretation into another language (i.e. Spanish, ASL, Malay, etc.) please email the conference organizer at . While we will do our best to accommodate your request, we will contact you if we cannot at this time.

Download conference brochure:  pdf 2017 UALE conference brochure (896 KB)


Conference Format

The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) invites labor educators from unions and educational institutions, workers’ centers, community organizations, and others committed to worker education to come together in Detroit, Michigan for our annual conference. This event provides a unique opportunity to share curriculum, build our skills as educators, challenge each other and ourselves on emerging issues and events of concern, and strengthen the labor education community.

The conference is open to all, whether or not you are a UALE member. Special rates are offered for students, members of community groups and low-income or unemployed people.

The conference includes:

  • Plenary sessions on topics of broad interest;
  • Various smaller, concurrent sessions, outlined below;
  • Pre-conference Labor History Tour;
  • Meetings of Working Groups;
  • Women’s Caucus Luncheon;
  • People of Color Caucus Luncheon;
  • Meeting for union-based education directors;
  • Meeting for university-based labor education directors;
  • Regional breakouts;
  • Cultural event;
  • Awards Banquet.

Concurrent Sessions run for two hours, several of which take place during the same time slot. Sessions vary in structure to provide a robust and diverse conference experience for presenters and participants; they offer some combination of the formats listed below.

Panel Sessionsinclude a number of presenters who share their work on a similar topic. Each panelist will have equal time to present his or her work, followed by Q&A and discussion. By offering presentations on different aspects of a single topic, panel sessions engender rich discussion among presenters and the audience. Session chairs will be appointed in advance and will be responsible for planning with panelists prior to the session.

Paper Sessions can include research papers, case studies, or other kinds of reports related to labor education. These sessions offer presentations from authors who have written about a generally related topic. Each author will have equal time to present their work, after which the session chair will lead discussion. Authors should submit an abstract for consideration; full-length manuscripts should be submitted prior to the conference. Session chairs will be appointed in advance and will be responsible for planning with authors prior to the session.

Roundtable Discussions provide an opportunity for participatory discussion of labor education issues or programs, research in progress, or other relevant topics in an informal setting around a table or in a circle of chairs. The convener poses a series of questions to participants and leads a conversation. Roundtable Discussions draw heavily on the experience of those in the room.

Workshop Sessions engage participants in an interactive manner that facilitates group participation in some form, and utilizes labor education techniques, particularly popular education. This may be a teaching demonstration. Activities are typically followed by discussion of the technique(s) demonstrated and the uses to which they might be put. Facilitators are encouraged to offer their design and materials to participants to adapt and use.

Poster Sessions provide an opportunity to present and discuss a single theme or relevant topic in an informal setting, somewhat like an exhibit hall or information fair. A good poster presents  useful information and engaging graphics, and stimulates discussion. Poster presenters should prepare a display using easily understood printed text and graphics on a board no larger than 30”x40.” Presenters should prepare a few remarks to welcome conference attendees and explain their posters. Attendees and presenters will then have the opportunity to discuss the posters and the topics they address. It is helpful to provide handouts for participants with presenters’ contact information to facilitate future dialogue. In order to have a poster accepted for display at the conference, please submit a photograph of the poster with a brief accompanying explanation of its content and purpose.

UALE encourages submissions that relate directly to the conference theme, but will accept submissions focused on other areas.

Some sessions are organized by Working Groups around their specific areas of interest. Working Groups typically solicit group-member input to develop proposals, and new members are always welcome. Working Group information is available at www.uale.org, and current Working Groups include:

  • Central Labor Council (CLC)
  • Immigration/Globalization
  • K-14 Labor Education
  • On-Line Education
  • Popular Education
  • Worker Writers
  • Labor Film Documentarians
  • Young Workers

Plenary Sessions are two hours long and designed to bring all conference attendees together around important areas of labor education. Plenary sessions are determined by UALE’s Executive Board, but UALE members are welcome to submit suggestions and volunteer to help develop plenary sessions.

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Conference Schedule

This is a DRAFT schedule, as of February 8. It may change multiple times before the conference. Keep checking back for updates.

You can also downoad this draft agenda here: document 2017 Conference Agenda (23 KB)


Wednesday, April 5

 9:30 AM-12 noon Labor History Bus Tour

Departs hotel lobby at 9:30 a.m.

Visit the sites of the Battle of the Overpass at the Ford Rouge plant, the 1932 Ford Hunger March, the old Model T-Plex/Studebaker plant, Grand Circus Park, the Woolworth's 1937 sit-down strike, Cadillac Square and the Labor Legacy Landmark at Hart Plaza. You will also learn about the history of the Detroit Federation of Musicians with a stop outside the Motown Museum.

Cost $25.

9:30 - 11:30

Labor History Walking Tour

Meet at Grand Circus Park at 10:00am—Grand Circus Park is a short, less than 10- minute walk, from the hotel.

Ends at 11:30am

During the walking tour you will visit sites in the downtown area and hear stories of local workers struggles and successes beginning at the historic Grand Circus Park, the site of many early labor demonstrations then move to the site of the Woolworth's 1937 sit-down strike, Cadillac Square and others sites and conclude at the Labor Legacy Landmark at Hart Plaza. –Hart Plaza is less than 15-minute walk back to the hotel.

Cost $25

 Noon – 5:00 PM  Registration Open – 2nd floor
 2:00 PM – 4:15 PM  Opening Plenary 
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM   Working Group Meetings (Labor Film, CLC, Popular Education)
5:45 PM – 6:45 PM   Labor Studies Journal and Working Group Meetings (Young Workers and Activists, Online  Education 
6:45 PM – 7:45 PM   Dinner (on your own)
 7:45 PM – 9:45 PM  Cultural Event (Cast of the musical "Forgotten")

Thursday, April 6

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM  Breakfast (UALE sponsored)
7:30 AM - Noon  Registration open– 2nd floor
8:15 AM - 10:00 AM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
10:00 am -10:30
 Break and Informal Networking
10:30 AM - 12:15 PM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
12:15 - 1:45 PM  Lunch (on your own)
12:30 - 1:45 PM  Women's Caucus Luncheon (UALE-sponsored lunch)
1:45 - 3:30 PM  Plenary
3:45 - 5:30 PM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
5:45 - 6:30 PM  Meet New Members Reception
 (light hors d'oeuvres, selection of wine and beer)
6:30 - 7:45 PM  Dinner (on your own)
 Directors Dinner Meetings (Union, Higher Ed, Community-based)
7:45 - 8:45 PM  Working Group Meetings (K-14, Worker-Writer, Immigration and Globalization)
7:45 - 9:45 PM  Film: Union Time: Fighting for Workers' Rights

Friday, April 7

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM  Breakfast (UALE sponsored)
8:15 AM - 10:00 AM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
10:00 - 10:30 AM  Break and Informal Networking
10:30 AM - 12:15 PM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
12:15 - 1:30 PM
 Lunch (on your own)
12:30 - 1:30 PM  People of Color Caucus Luncheon (UALE-sponsored lunch)
1:30 - 3:15 PM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
3:45 - 4:45 PM  Canada and Regional Meetings (Northeast, South, Midwest and West)
5:00 - 6:30 PM  UALE Membership Meeting
6:30 - 7:45 PM  Dinner (on your own)
7:45 - 9:45 PM
 Film: A Day's Work

Saturday, April 8

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM  Breakfast (UALE sponsored)
8:15 - 10:00 AM  Concurrent Sessions
 (Workshops, Roundtables, Panels, Teaching Demonstrations)
10:00 - 10:30 AM  Break and Informal Networking
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM  Closing Plenary
12:45 - 2:45 PM  Awards Luncheon (UALE-sponsored lunch)




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Call for Proposals

(You can download the full Call for Proposals here: 2017 Call for Proposals)

(Ud. puede descargar la convocatoria de propuestas aqui: Invitación a Presentar Propuestas)

UALE seeks proposals on how we can rethink, rebuild, and revitalize labor, education and our communities as we promote racial, gender and economic justice.

Proposals may draw from all disciplines and take many forms, including strategic or academic reports; qualitative or quantitative analyses; teaching demonstrations; labor history research or curriculum for adults or K-12; union or community training tools; case studies; roundtable discussions; curriculum design; video, posters, music, art, and theater.

Individual or panel proposals should be submitted by November 30th, 2016

Working Groups can submit proposals up to January 15th,2017.  

Conference submissions should go to . You will receive an e-mail confirmation when your submission is received.

Although UALE membership is not a requirement to submit a proposal, it is strongly encouraged. UALE is only as strong as its membership base.

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Proposal Requirements

  1. Presentation Format (paper, panel, poster, roundtable, workshop)
  2. Presentation Title
  3. Individual or Panel Designation
  4. Contact Information for Each Presenter/Participant
    1. Name
    2. Organization/Affiliation
    3. Mailing address
    4. E-mail address
    5. Phone
  5. Proposal describing topic, presenter expertise, and presentation form (300-500 words)
  6. Abstract or synopsis (100 words). This will be published in the conference program.
  7. Please indicate if you would like your proposal submitted to one or more of the Working Groups

Conference proposals will be selected based upon:

  1. Relevance of proposals to the conference theme;
  2. Having a balance of academic, union, and community presenters;
  3. Demographic inclusivity (race, gender, region, age, etc.);
  4. A balance between the number of proposals and the depth of presentations;
  5. Proposals that spark and hold people’s interest.

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Labor Studies Journal Call for Proposals

"Traditional" Labor and "Alt" Labor: Comparisons, Critiques, and Perspectives

Labor Studies Journal, the official journal of UALE, organizes one or more special sessions at the annual conference, with its own theme. Papers accepted for presentation in the special sessions may then be eligible to be submitted to a peer reviewed process for possible publication in a LSJ-UALE-Special Conference Issue of the Journal

As traditional unions and the collective bargaining regime that underlay them have continued to decline in size and power for decades, new organizations and movements have emerged to protect the interests of the working class and vulnerable populations.

This call for papers seeks papers examining the strengths and weaknesses of both models, case studies of each type of organization, comparative analyses, and analytical insights into the interactions between the two types of organizations and movements. All papers with a focus on the two types of labor movements are welcome. We are also interested in papers that present case studies on where unions and Alt Labor groups have built alliances.

Interested authors should submit an abstract of 500 words, along with full contact information to Professor Steven K. Ashby at skashby at illinois.edu.

Download full LSJ Call for Papers here: document LSJ Call for Papers 2017 (140 KB)

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Research Grants and Next Generation Awards for 2017

In order to promote scholarship in our field, UALE has established two projects to support the work of labor educators: UALE Research Grants, and the New Generation Award.

The purpose ot the Research Grants is to fund research related to workers, unions, and employment policy. Preference will be given to UALE members in determining award recipients. UALE has allocated up to $5,000 for this purpose. The UALE EBoard will select a maximum of two award recipients. Applications are due by January 19. For more information download the Announcement here: document 2017 Research Grant Announcement (13 KB)

With the New Generation Award, UALE seeks to encourage emerging labor scholars, teachers, students, researchers, and multi-media producers. A selection committee appointed by the UALE Board will choose the four best submissionsFinalist submissions will then be presented as a session at the 2017 UALE conference in Detroit, MI. Each submission will be presented by its author(s). The selection committee choose the winner of the award based on the quality of the submission as well as the presentation during the session. The winner will be honored at the closing banquet of the conference.Those chosen to present will receive free registration to the conference and some lodging subsidy. Travel will be paid by the author. See New Generation Award announcement here: document 2017 New Generation Award (15 KB)

Applications are now open for the 2017 version of both these awards.

Community Grants

UALE is pleased to offer grants to community-based organizations who include worker-based education as part of their mission. The $1500 grant is intended to cover hotel and travel expenses related to attending the 2017 UALE Conference to be held April 5-8, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel

Interested organizations should complete the application below (available in English and Spanish) and forward it to Guillermo Perez at NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 1, 2017. Applicants with questions or concerns regarding the grant or the application process may contact Brother Perez via email or by phone at 412-562-2434.

document 2017 Community Grant Application (42 KB)

document 2017 Solicitud de Subvención Comunitaria (43 KB)

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UALE Annual Achievement Awards

UALE gives five awards at the Awards Luncheon at our annual conference. In 2017, the Awards will take place on Saturday, April 8 at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel in Detroit, MI.

Two of the award winners are chosen by a selection committee. These are the New Generation Award (Best Student Paper) given to the writer of one of the Student Scholarship papers, which is chosen by a committee. The other is the Labor Studies Journal Best Article Award, chosen by the Labor Studies Journal editorial board from among those nominated by the LSJ Board. The other three awards are chosen by either a general vote of the UALE membership or by a vote of the Executive Board. Those awards are:

1. Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education

  • Open nominations from UALE members
  • Winner selected by general vote of the membership

2. Best Published Book 2015-16

  • Open nominations from UALE members
  • Winner selected by general vote of the membership

3. Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Open nominations from UALE members
  • Winner selected by vote of the UALE Executive Board


1. Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education

This award recognizes an outstanding example of the connection between labor education and activism: a new curriculum, a documentary or social media project, a living history/labor theater initiative, an outstanding campaign on an issue, or an exemplary effort to use labor education to strengthen the labor movement. It can involve a formal institution of labor education, either university-, union-, or community-based. Or, it can represent an independent effort outside an institutional labor education program. It can be an on-going program, or one that has ended.  Some aspect of the program must have occurred within the calendar year 2016.   An individual, group, program, or a project can be nominated. If you nominate a project or program, you must provide the name of the person who should accept the award on the part of the project or program and his/her contact information.

Nominations for Annual Achievement Awards must be sent to with the subject line “NOMINATION” by January 2, 2017.

To nominate an outstanding contribution for this award, send the following information:

  • Name of Individual, Group, Program, or Project
  • Contact Information
  • Description - Describe in 150 words or less, why this program or project should receive this UALE achievement award

2. Best Book Published in 2015-2016 related to the field of Labor Education

This award is for a book published during the period 2015-2016 that has been especially valuable in labor education.  It should be a book that represents responsible scholarship, new ideas, creative thinking, and intellectual contribution to the labor movement, the broader workers’ movement, labor economics, politics, culture, or any other topic related to work or labor.  It should be a book that can be or is used in an educational setting.

To nominate a book for this award, send the following information:

  • Book Title, Publisher, and Date
  • Book Author, Contact Information
  • Description - Describe in 150 words or less why this book should receive this UALE achievement award

3.  Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of labor education over the course of his or her lifetime. We are intentionally leaving the description open in order to encourage UALE members to think broadly of individuals who have contributed in different ways.

To nominate an individual for this award, send the following information:

  • Name of Individual
  • Contact Information
  • Description - Describe in 150 words or less why this individual should receive this UALE achievement award.

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Deadlines for Submissions

  • Proposals for LSJ special sessions should be submitted by December 12, 2016.
  • Proposals for 2017 Conference sessions from individuals or panels should be submitted by November 30, 2016
  • Submissions for New Generation sessions/Award are due December 19 , 2016 (Note: This has been extended 1 week, from Dec. 12.)
  • Applications for the 2017 research grants are due by January 19, 2017.
  • Nominations for Annual Achievement Awards must be sent to with the subject line “NOMINATION” by January 2, 2017.
  • Proposals from Working Groups may be submitted up to January 15,2017
  • Applications for the 2017 research grants are due by January 19, 2017.

Detroit Labor History Tour

Again this year, UALE will offer a Labor History Tour on the morning preceding the conference opening. This year, the tour is being provided by the Michigan Labor History Society. It will start at 9:30 am on Wednesday, April 5. There will be a bus, which can hold up to 50 participants, and there will also be a walking version for those who prefer to walk or who did not get seats on the bus. The cost is $25. You can sign up for the tour as part of your registration for the conference. For descriptions of the 2 tours, see the conference schedule, above, or download the Labor History Tours description at the bottom of the page.


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To register online, see links in right column of this page.

Registration option

by Feb. 28

after Feb 28

 Member 325 400
 Non-Member 425 500
 Community Group Attendee 100 150
 Low income, student, unemployed or retired
75 150
 One-day Attendance 150 200
 Vendor** 100 150
 Labor History Tour 25 25

* Online registration closes March 15, 2017.   After this date, registration costs are non-refundable.
   Registration wil be available at the conference

** Vendors will need to complete a supplemental vendor form: document Supplemental Vendor Form (33 KB)

To register by mail: click on the link at right to download and print a paper registration form.  document 2017 Conference Registration form (796 KB)


Special Join and Register rate:  If you register for the conference before February 28, 2017, you can join UALE or renew your membership for just $75.00 ($35.00 for students, low-income and retirees).

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All sessions will be held at the conference hotel:

Westin Book Cadillac Hotel
1114 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226

Single/double: $149. This special room rate is available to conference attendees; be sure to mention “UALE.” Please make reservations directly with the hotel.

Guest rooms and the conference meeting spaces are accessible to people with disabilities. The hotel is able to accommodate most dietary needs for meals provided at the conference.

As part of UALE’s commitment to inclusiveness, English/Spanish interpretation will be offered. For planning purposes, please email to let us know if you or someone in your organization will be using the interpretation services.

If you have any questions or require other accommodation, please send an email to . A UALE officer will contact you.

Detroit is serviced by the Wayne County Detroit Metropolitan Airport, appx. 20 minutes from the hotel. No shuttle services are available, but the airport has two providers for taxi services. Learn more at http://www.metroairport.com/GroundTransportation/LuxurySedansTaxis.aspx


document 2017 Conference Agenda updated 2/16 (23 KB)

document Programa de la Conferencia 16- 2-2017 (158 KB)

document Labor History Tours (98 KB)

pdf 2017 UALE conference brochure (896 KB)

document 2017 Call for Proposals (39 KB)

document Invitación a Presentar Propuestas (30 KB)

document LSJ Call for Papers 2017 (140 KB)

document 2017 New Generation Award (15 KB)

document 2017 Research Grant Announcement (13 KB)

document 2017 Conference Registration form (796 KB)

document Supplemental Vendor Form (33 KB)

document 2017 Community Grant Application (42 KB)

document 2017 Solicitud de Subvención Comunitaria (43 KB)


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Buy labor books from Union Communication Services and Save


UALE has an longstanding relationship with Union Communication Services. Their book catalogue includes over 100
titles, many of them hard to find. 

UALE members are entitled to a 10% discount on books purchased here. To get the discount, click here before visiting the UCS catalogue.