Each year, UALE invites conference participants to chare their papers and presentations. Presentations from the most recent years can be easily accessed from the Conference webpage fo that year. This page includes posts from earlier years that can no longer be found on their conference web page.

Downloads are listed first by year, and then alphabetically by last name of first author.

Unless otherwise noted on the document itself or elsewhere, documents downloaded from this site may be copied, modified as needed, and used for purposes of labor education, as long as the authors are credited. These documents, or products derived from them, may not be sold or used for commercial purposes.

  2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013
2012 2011 2010 2009


Conference 2019, Philadelphia: "Labor and social movements: Labor education and organizing for unity and empowerment"

 (Additional presentations will be added as they are sent in.)

Judy Ancel, Cross Border Network; Joan Hill, USW; Erica Wills, LA Trade Technical Collefge; and Steffi Domike, USW

The Revolution Continues: Contemporary Cubvan Women Workers

The attached document is a pdf version of a PowerPoint presentation

pdf Women in Cuba for UALE (2.12 MB)


Anneta Argyres, UMass Boston; and Elizabeth Pellerito and Susan Winning, UMass Lowell

Active and Effective Bystander Strategies to address microaggressions at work

Shortedened version of an interactive workshop

document Microagressions and bystanders FO (27 KB)   (facilitator's outline)

document Active and Effective Bystander Training Handouts (50 KB)   (Word version)

pdf Active and Effective Bystander Training Handouts (129 KB)   (pdf version)



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Conference 2018, Seattle: "Shared Struggle, Strategy and Success! Labor Education Takes on Today’s Challenges"


Cassie Bell, Patricia Chong, and Cynthia Watt, AMAPCEO

Labour Education and the White-Collar Worker

PPT for UALE Conference April 6 2018

2017 Annual Report

WPR Mentorship Program Training Guide

AMAPCEO Five Year Education Plan

pdf Welcome Booklet For Printing
(10.27 MB)

Paul House and Jordan Gray

Building Our Collective Power: Neoliberalism, Resistance, and Socialist Education at Pearson Airport

This presentation was part of the Labor Studies Journal session for its Special Conference Issue. This session presented papers on socialism and left political ideologies, and the labor movement in the US or in a comparative perspective

The link below is to a video which integrates audio of the presentation with powerpoint slides:


Debra Kidney, Katie Weidling
, and Yolanda De Jesus, AFSCME

AFSCME’s Beyond Bias and Other Tools for Fighting Injustice

AFSCME has been working to find an intersection between racial justice and public safety. One outcome is a program to introduce the concept of implicit bias and look at strategies to help interrupt biases. Come learn some of our best practices and be ready to share yours! As labor educators we have a responsibility to fight injustices in order to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

Beyond Bias Handout 1 Objective+Agenda

Beyond Bias Handout Defining IB

Beyond Bias Handout Strategies

Panel: Action-Orientated Research Advancing Progressive Local Policies

This panel of researchers and activists will consider the question, “How can we take our research off the shelf and better leverage that research to facilitate community-labor collaborations, generate policy changes that are good for working families, and open new opportunities for labor education?” All four panelists have achieved very recent victories with their use of applied research including both quantitative and qualitative methods as tools for advancing local efforts to improve conditions for workers.

(This is one paper from the panel)
Mary King, Portland State University

King Irregular Scheduling UALE Handout


David Nack and Katherine Acosta

Divided We Fall

Given a likely adverse Supreme Court decision on payment of agency fee or fair share payments by non-members to public sector unions in the case of Janus vs AFSCME, the screening and discussion of the documentary film Divided We Fall, by Katherine Acosta, and discussion of questions and issues raised by the film is extremely timely. The film portrays the Wisconsin Uprising of 2011-2012 in which mass protests, the occupation of the State Capitol and job actions resisted the onslaught of a newly elected Republican Governor and Republican legislative majorities to eviscerate collective bargaining and public worker unions in Wisconsin.

Trailer for Divided We Fall

Website for Divided We Fall

Review of film by David Nack Laboratory of Resistance DN NLF 4 2018

Director's statement and discussion questions, by Katherine Acosta UALE handout 2018


Brigid O'Farrell and Molly Martin

Tradeswomen History Workshop: Learning from the Curriculum Past to Change the Future Demonstration 

This workshop reviews a short media presentation and resource guide designed to open a tradeswomen history workshop. In five minutes, photographs, images, words, and music are used to present the history of women in skilled trades including the legal framework opening these jobs to women, strategies tradeswomen have used —legal, program, and organizing — barriers that remain, and new approaches now being developed. It demonstrates shared struggle, strategy, and success. Discussion will focus on how labor educators can use this material to meet the needs of tradeswomen, their organizations, students, union members, and local community groups and improve women’s employment opportunities

Media Presentation:  vimeo.com/247078061

History Guide 2018 Final

If you would like the full power point presentation for your workshop please contact Brigid O’Farrell:  


Riahl O'Malley and Tess Ewing

Demonstrating the Value of Popular Education

Popular education holds tremendous potential for working people to find common cause, develop strategy and achieve success. However, in many of the spaces we work popular education is unknown., underutilized and misunderstood.

This workshop will explore how to engage stakeholders in conversations around the “what” and “why” of popular education. It will begin with a series of participatory learning activities that explore what popular education is and the value it brings to our movements. The following section involves dialogue on addressing the challenge.

document Short Agenda (18 KB)

document Materials handouts and flipcharts (13 KB)

document Detailed agendas (24 KB)

document Definition and WG (16 KB)

pdf Popular Education Spiral (58 KB)

pdf Espiral de Educación Popular

document Local 10:Sección 10

document Code & Questions Código y Preguntas

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Conference 2017, Detroit: "Rethink, Rebuild, Revitalize: Labor, Education and Our Communities"

Eroc Arroyo-Montano, Jeannette Huezo and Riahl O’Malley, United for a Fair Economy

The Characteristics and Consequences of a Capitalist Economy

The labor movement is facing one of the greatest threats of its time. With the wave of oncoming attacks how do we deepen our leaders’ commitment to both the labor movement and a broader struggle of injustice? One way to do that is through political education. This participatory workshop uses tools developed by Equipo Maíz, the popular education group from El Salvador, and applies them to a U.S. context. It engages participants in dialogue about the characteristics and consequences of a capitalist economy and structural racism. The workshop will be followed by an evaluation of the content and methodology.

Downloads are the workshop outlne and accompanying charts in Engish and in Spanish

UFE Capitalism Workshop UALE2017 (6 KB)

Capitalism: Charts (2.14 MB)

Capitalismo: Gráficos (2.18 MB) pdf (2.14 MB)

Randy Banderob, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation; and Barb Kucera, University of Minnesota Labor Education Service

Re-Imagining Labour Publications and Outreach: Digital Complements to Paper Media

The advent of the Internet has disrupted all aspects of the labour movement, but none has been more affected than labour publications. While traditional paper media still dominate, an increasingly digital-minded membership is consuming much of its media online. This workshop will offer relatively simple options to adding a digital component to existing paper publications and demonstrate how to harness social media to increase readership in both the paper and digital realm. We also will discuss how labor educators in both union and university settings are using social media to promote their programming. Come prepared to share your ideas and best practices!

Downloads are a PowerPoint presentation and accompanying handout

Digital Complements to Paper Media 2017 UALE (584 KB)

Creating an online complement handout 2017 (36 KB)


Chris Brooks, Labor Notes

“Organizing Volkswagen: A Critical Assessment” New Generation paper

The union organizing drive in Chattanooga has a number of unique features that make the campaign deserving of close examination: an employer on whose board labor holds half the seats and maintains a formal corporate commitment to worker voice and participation, a degree of employer neutrality that cannot be expected at any other foreign automaker, and what was likely the largest and most expensive anti-union campaign ever waged by third-party groups. This article highlights those lessons from the UAW’s organizing campaign at Volkswagen that are likely to be prescient to future organizing drives. In doing so, I provide an overview of Volkswagen as a company, the UAW’s organizing campaign from its beginning in 2013 to the present day, and a detailed discussion of the UAW’s strategic mistakes. Most importantly, I detail the actual concerns, interests, thoughts, and reflections of rank-and-file workers at Volkswagen.

Organizing VW: A Critical Assessment (181 KB)

Nina Fendel

Workers’ Stories / Workers’ Power: Using Labor Drama to Educate and Organize

The workshop will cover a variety of interactive techniques utilizing drama and role-plays that can be used to create lively, accessible and lasting learning experiences. Techniques will include some developed during the War on Poverty and by the Theater of the Oppressed.

Fendel Interactive Teaching Techniques (156 KB)

Debra Kidney, AFSCME International

AFSCME in Action: Rebuilding Our Union through Direct Action

AFSCME in Action was a two-hour workshop first presented at AFSCME International’s Convention for over 2,000 participants simultaneously as a way to reacquaint members (and staff) with the basics of planning and executing a direct action at work – in this case a march on the boss. It will walk participants through the strategy behind direct actions and provide each small team a role in designing the action, participating and then analyzing whether the action worked; why or why not. We will also answer questions about the challenges and experiences as we’ve continued to roll this out around the country.

Downloads are a PowerPoint presentation, facilitator's guide and talking points for the local president, and 2 sets of materials for participants, 1 on English and 1 in Spanish.

AIA ppt (4.75 MB)

Facilitator's guide (134 KB)

President's talking points (13 KB)

AIA scenarios (19 KB)

Worksheet #1 (16 KB)

Worksheet #2 (16 KB)

Worksheet #3 mgmt (17 KB)

SPANISH AIA scenario pr (19 KB)

SPANISH AIA worksheet 1 (21 KB)

SPANISH AIA worksheet 2 union (23 KB)

SPANISH AIA worksheet 3 mgmt (17 KB)

Sahra Ryklief, General Secretary of the International Federation of Workers Education Associations, South Africa

Building A Global Knowledge Community: Re-Calibrating Workers’ Education For The 21st Century

PowerPoint presentation on IFWEA given by Sagra Ryklief at plenary session on Labor Education And Global Solidarity.

Labor Education and Global Solidarity (3.69 MB)

Eleni Schirmer

“When Solidarity Doesn’t Quite Strike: The 1974 Hortonville, Wisconsin, Teachers’ Strike and the Rise of Neoliberalism” New Generation paper

As public-sector unions such as teachers’ unions used the boon of post-war liberalism to form their political power, they imported many of liberalism’s key contradictions: its formation of racial contracts, its misappraisal of affective labor, and its opportunistic collective action logics. This article suggests cracks within liberalism weakened the political power of teachers’ unions, disempowering a feminized workforce. Using a historical case study of teachers’ strike in rural Wisconsin in 1974, this article shows how the tenuous solidarity afforded by liberal accords made teachers’ unions more vulnerable to future neoliberal offensives on public education and its workers. The aftermath of the strike generated an opportunistic labor movement in which workers pursued their interests through legal provisions rather than by developing teachers’ broader community and labor solidarities, subverting feminist possibilities of teachers’ unions. This history suggests how teachers defend their rights as workers amidst a rising tide of neoliberalism matters.

This paper won the New Generation award.

Schirmer: When Solidarity Doesn't Strike New Generation (265 KB)

Julie Washington, AFT Union Leadership Institute

Insights and Lessons from the AFT Leadership Education and Development Program

The American Federation of Teachers will share insights and lessons learned from three years of our Leadership Education and Development program - which is moving from a program to a model influencing work throughout the AFT. We and our partners at Cornell and in the states make a difference in and with local teams with whom we work over a 12-month period. To date we have reached 58 locals and over 90,000 members.

Local Team Campaign Planning Tool (187 KB)

Local Team Campaign Planning Guide (121 KB)

Charting your Local Unions Development (839 KB)

LEAD structure poster (225 KB)

LEAD practices (61 KB)

LEAD purpose poster (584 KB)

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Conference 2016, Washington, DC: "Connecting the Dots: Race, Labor, Community, and Education"

Elise Bryant and Yvette De La Cruz

"Connecting the Dots: Racism, the Economy and Labor"

Abstract:"Participants will be able to engage in a detailed examination of the impact of racism on social/economic forces and labor unions. The goal is to inspire local unions to develop work groups that will continue the dialogue at the local level."

Outline & handout
Connecting the Dots Workshop (23 KB)

Cedric deLeon

“Black from White: How Civil Rights and Labor Rights Became Separate Freedoms with the U.S. Civil War”

Abstract: "This paper historicizes the recent confrontation between Black Lives Matter activists and Bernie Sanders in Seattle by tracing the separation of the struggles for civil and labor rights to the northern victory in the U.S. Civil War. In contrast to scholars of whiteness who typically trace this separation to the racial contradictions of the New Deal welfare state, I go farther back to the struggles against the expansion of slavery and in support of the eighthour day. Drawing on archival data from nineteenth-century Chicago, I argue that the postbellum labor movement framed the black civil rights agenda as already accomplished by the war, while insisting that the struggle to liberate white men from wage slavery had been unfairly forestalled. By addressing the organizational isolation of the labor and civil rights movements in this way, the paper addresses two subjects of importance to the call for papers."

Paper and PowerPoint
Black from White (105 KB)

Black from White ppt (4.82 MB)

Irene Jansen

“CUPE Anti-Racism Struggles in Canada and Across Borders, 1963 to Present”

Abstract:"The Canadian Union of Public Employees ...share[s] its digital timeline of equality breakthroughs over 52 years and how the project is being used in member and staff education to inform current anti-racism activism. The purposes of the display are to:(1) present the CUPE equality history project with stories and lessons most relevant to the conference theme and (2) invite dialogue about successful union anti-racism strategies. CUPE has been a lead union in Canada, championing equity and social unionism. Through the equality history project, we traced our role in key human rights struggles in Canada and internationally. The digital timeline describes in text and images more than 200 breakthroughs since our inception in 1963, covering bargaining, political action, organizing and education. We are using the data in our new weeklong labour history course and in equity workshops, using popular education methods."

CUPE Equality History Project (14.13 MB)

Michelle Kaminski

“Comparing Face to Face and On-Line Labor Education: Financial Education for Union Members”

Abstract:"How does on-line labor education compare to face-to-face education programs? We present the results of three years of evaluation research that compares these two delivery methods. While the programs are not identical, two factors make them suitable for comparison. First, they are all on the same topic: financial education. Second, they were designed by the same people, so they incorporate the same expertise and the same approach to curriculum design. Data were collected from 256 participants in face-to-face programs and 102 people who used the website version. Results will compare participant ratings and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach."

PowerPoint presentation
Face-to-Face and On-line Training (124 KB)

Emily Labarbera-Twarog

“A Roadmap of the Impact of Women’s Labor Leadership Education”

Abstract: "A visual roadmap of how women’s labor education helps to development leadership skills that impacts the workplace, the union, and communities. Engaging with previous research by other social scientists and educators as well as my own current qualitative and quantitative research, I will offer a visual representation of how women’s programming is more necessary that in the past. In this poster, I will argue that programs such as the Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference should be the norm rather than the exception. I will also demonstrate how one union – the United Steel Workers – is using their Women of Steel program to build women’s leadership in their union. Through a longitudinal study of USW District 7’s initiative to establish a four-year, Women of Steel education program, I am documenting the process by which the Women of Steel committees are evolving from social service organizations to leadership committees that engage and train women to take on more leadership within their workplace and union."

Roadmap (1.84 MB)


Kai Lai, Adriane Paavo and Barb Thomas

"Invisible Minority: Working with White Privilege"

Workshop abstract: "This workshop demonstration would try out a couple of tools with participants that we have developed to provoke: a) discussion of white rank/privilege and how to work consciously with it in the struggle for justice, and b) a sharing of other ideas and activities participants bring that we might all try in our teaching and facilitating. We hope the workshop will generate new ideas emerging from the synergy of the group who attends."

Workshop materials and links to further reading
Invisible Minority workshop materials (154 KB)

Invisible Minority links (161 KB)

Hester Lipscomb, Clayton Sinyai and Ashley Shoenfisch

“Unions seek to protect the health and safety of their members”

Abstract: Dozens of labor organizations sponsor occupational safety and health training programs. But do these programs prevent workplace injuries and illnesses – and if so, can we prove it? The authors are analyzing a dataset of Washington State Carpenters’ Union members and of Washington State workmen’s compensation claims to identify any association between safety training and claims activity. The presentation will examine the results and explore the implications for union bargaining and policy initiatives in occupational safety and health.

Pdf version of presentation
Union Sponsored OSHA training and health outcomes (1013 KB)

Tom Marvin

“Connecting University Labor Education with the Community by Co-Designing a Course on Organizing”

Abstract:"The Sam Masarachia Scholars program’s first-year seminar has evolved from an academic course to a hybrid, combining elements of popular education with service learning and a student-led campus organizing project, which provides practice in a familiar environment, building confidence. Role-playing scenarios prepare students to conduct one-on-ones, tabling, and house visits for local labor unions and community groups. Currently eight local organizers are conducting a thorough review of the curriculum. The presentation will trace the evolution of the course and describe the new directions that emerge from the cooperative design process."

PowerPoint presentation
Connecting Labor Ed with the Community (8.41 MB)

Sanjay Pinto and KC Wagner, Moderators

"Training and Education in the Domestic Work Industry: Defining Goals and Understanding Impact"

Session abstract:"While domestic worker training programs have been developed in New York and across the country, we know relatively little about their impact. How much do domestic workers actually learn through their participation in these programs? And is there a measurable impact on their ability to find work and command higher wages? Drawing on data gathered from recent training participants, this panel session will report the results of research that helps to address these questions. It will also engage representatives from relevant worker organizations in a conversation about the role of training and workforce development in their broader programmatic agendas." 

PowerPoint presentation
Domestic worker training (2.02 MB)

Nick Wertsch

“Just Employment on University Campuses”

Abstract: "This paper focuses on how those communities – particularly institutions of higher education in the US – have been able to develop and implement their own just employment policies that pay a living wage to campus workers and protect their right to organize. While most attempts to implement a living wage policy or protect the right of workers to organize focus on action from the government, there are strong examples of how community-based anchor institutions can play a critical role in forging a new norm that better serves workers."

Paper, Model Policy, and Guide to Model Policy
Just Employment on University Campuses (210 KB)
Just Employment Policy Model (154 KB)
Just Employment Policy Guide (271 KB)


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Conference 2015, Orlando: "Local to Global: Working in a Changing World"

Carmen Berkley, Alethia Jones, Lola Smallwood Cuevas, Auston Thompson:

"#Blacklivesmatter: The Upsurge In Black Activism, The Black Job Crisis And The Role Of Labor Education In Helping Unions Deal With This Moment"

Panel outline and flip-charts generated by discussion

In response to the latest round of police violence, the Black community (primarily young
Blacks) has engaged in a level of direct action that has not been seen since the 1960s
and this activism has spurred a broad range of activity from across the racial and ethnic
spectrum. While this mobilization has immense transformative possibilities, a key
question is the role of the labor movement in this mobilization. This panel will explore
the steps that labor educators can take to enhance the role of unions during this

#Blacklivesmatter outline

notes 1

Dequasia Canales, Alethia Jones, Deborah Rosenstein

"How Can Labor Educators Support Local Union Staff in their Internal Organizing Work with Members?

Workshop outline of "Courageous Conversations Module"

The attached curriculum draws from SEIU’s “Unleashing Our Power,” a three day training conference for organizing staff and their supervisors. This version is modified by 1199SEIU UHE. SEIU’s training format places supervisors and organizers on separate “tracks” for this module to encourage honest conversation and to allow peers to exchange shared issues and challenges.

We selected this module because it represents a core skill – the ability to hold authentic conversations about tough issues in ways that strengthen (rather than erode) relationships. Without the ability to engage in such dialogue, organizing efforts falter. The approach is helpful for conversations with peers, with supervisors and with members in the shop, helping to unearth and address issues that are getting in the way of organizing effectively.

This module has been conducted in all 5 states represented by 1199, with over 400 organizers and VPs. It consistently receives good reviews. Often the skills are immediately applied leading to deeper conversations for the rest of the training session.

Courageous Conversations

Melanie Dufour-Poirier and Melanie LaRoche

"Revitalizing union representation through labor education initiatives: a close examination of two trade unions in Quebec"

PowerPoint presentation saved as pdf

This presentation accompanies a paper which analyses the revitalization of union leadership and representation through labor education initiatives implemented by Youth Committees. The paper will be published in Labor Studies Journal.

Revitalizing union representation

Jeannette Huezo, Riahl O'Malley

"Connecting the Dots: Race, Gender and the Growing Divide"

Charts used in Teaching Demonstation, saved as pdf

This interactive workshop examines economic disparitiesin the U.S. through a lens of race, class and gender. Drawing from participant experience, it explores the policies and ideologies that have lead to these disparities. This workshop examines the concentration of women and people of color in low-wage work and the concentration of wealth and power among a few white men. It also provokes discussion on the underlying economic assumptions that create and exacerbate this divide. 

Connecting the Dots

Michelle Kaminski and Emily LaBarbera-Twarog

"Solidarity and Sisterhood: Collaboration, Conflict, and Detachment between Labor and the Women’s Movement"

While the women’s movement and the labor movement share some common goals, they are often surprisingly disconnected from each other in the U.S. We analyze the structures of the two movements as a foundational context, and identify some of the areas in which goals overlap and diverge. Then, we present specific examples of collaboration and conflict between the two movements. We close with a discussion of what the two movements can learn from each other. The paper is based on a combination of historical research and interviews with contemporary leaders.

Solidarity and Sisterhood

Greg Mantsios

"Through the Looking-Glass of History: A New Vision for Labor Education"


"The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential of Labor Education, examining models of the past as a reference for new visions and contemporary practice in the field. We draw on our experiences in the Joseph S. Murphy Institute (JSMI) and the City University of New York (CUNY) and trace the considerations that led us to a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and multi-faceted approach to university-based labor education. The evolution of our thinking, in turn, led our Labor Advisory Board to call upon public and University officials to establish a new school within CUNY—one that is dedicated to labor."

A New Vision for Labor Education

John Revitte

"Michigan’s Mackinaw Center for Public Policy versusMichigan’s labor studies centers and professors, c. 2011:Just another FOIA request or just another battle inAmerica’s Right-to-Work anti-union war games begun in 1947?"


"In 2011... the Mackinaw Center filed three Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests targeting the MSU HRLR school faculty and the U of M and WSU labor studies center faculty and staff. These FOIA requests concerned the university faculty and staffs’ email correspondence about the 2011 “reforms” of Wisconsin public sector labor laws. Was this just another FOIA request by a “non-partisan… educational and research” group or part of a national “war” on labor and its allies at Michigan’s LSCs? Was this just another battle in a long simmering “attack” by anti union forces, which goes back to the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act and the national right-to-work’s “war” against workers and their labor unions and allies? That story is told here."

FOIA MI v MI Labor Studies

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Conference 2014, Los Angeles: "Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class"

Anneta Argyres, Clare Hammonds, Kim Wilson Venancio

"Confronting Oppression in the 'Classroom'”

Workshop outline

As educators, we often find ourselves in teaching situations where a workshop participant makes an oppressive (racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, anti-immigrant, etc.) remark. Such comments are often made unintentionally or unthinkingly. Even so, if allowed to stand un-addressed, these comments can have damaging effects on other participants, on classroom dynamics, and on the relationship between workshop participants and the hosting union or organization. These situations also provide a “teachable moment” when individuals can learn about power and privilege. Using popular education methodologies, this workshop will explore how to identify and address oppressive behaviors and make the most of these teachable moments.


Nina Fendel

"Law-related Union Advocacy Online"

PowerPoint presentation

The Public Works Compliance Website is a password-protected legal and advocacy education website aimed at the building trades (unions and joint labor management compliance groups). It provides “one-stop shopping” in the area of public works construction advocacy (prevailing wages, competitive bidding, investigation skills, etc.), with overviews and links to statutes, regulations, cases, useful government websites, checklists, sample letters, etc. The Alliance for Labor Standards Education and Training is a non-profit associated with a union-side labor law firm (Weinberg, Roger, Rosenfeld). They do hands-on training around the country, provide subscriptions to the website at a very low cost, and would like to expand into other types of on-line education in this area, which is critical to providing work for building trades union members. The training is aimed at non-lawyer advocates (primarily union reps), though some lawyers subscribe, and provides useful education and extensive resources to people who work in this area.

Note: This PowerPoint presentation has been divided into 2 parts, due to its size and the limited capacity of our software.

Public Works Compliance, part 1

Public Works Compliance, part 2

Jackie Gabrie

"Labor Displacement and Working-Class Resilience: A Case Study of Locked Out Grain Processing Workers in America’s Heartland"


On August 22, 2008, approximately 360 workers were locked out of Grain Processing Corporation Inc. (GPC) in Muscatine, Iowa, after the company and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local (UFCW) 86D could not reach an agreement during contract negotiations. Over the ensuing five years contract negotiations between the company and the union have come to an impasse, with no end to the lockout in sight. This qualitative case study investigates the conditions leading up to and following the lockout in an effort to effectively capture the structural factors at play in the broader economy, while also emphasizing the qualitative objective and subjective experiences of worker displacement. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the locked out workers, this study aims to provide a comprehensive account of the complex and sometime contradictory experiences these workers encountered as a consequence of being displaced from their jobs and finding alternative financial security and employment.

Labor Displacement and Working-Class Resilience

Ken Kroeger

“Distinctive Ways Union Members Become Aware of Unions and Distinctive Reasons Union Members Become Activists in Unions Based on Generations”


Survey data indicates that union membership has dropped considerably in recent years. Although there are many reasons for this decline in the popularity of unions, this paper will illustrate that one important reason may be that people in general are not informed about what unions have done, and can do, for them. The paper will examine the ways that people become aware of unions and the reasons that union members become activists. It will show that union history is not a focus in today’s school curricula, nor is information about unions shared as much today from one generation to the next as it has been in past generations.

Ken Kroeger Poster


Sonia Mistry and Tim Ryan

"A Proactive Union Strategy To Eliminate Child Labor"


Specific recent examples of how trade laws were used successfully in Pakistan and Bangladesh to remove child labor from certain industries; and examples illustrating how organizing trade unions in Liberia and India removed child labor and improved the status of adult workers.

A Proactive Union Strategy To Eliminate Child Labor

Bruce Nissen and Rick Smith

"A Novel Way to Represent the Interests of Workers: The People’s Budget Review in St. Petersburg, Florida

Paper for LSJ Session

In the unfavorable U.S. environment today, unions have been forced to consider new ways to represent worker interests. The more proactive unions have been experimenting with alternatives to traditional approaches, including corporate campaigns, various types of alliances with community partners, supporting workers centers and other independent non-union forms of worker organizations, and the like. Most recent attention has focused on non-union worker organizations such as OUR Walmart or the fast food workers uprising. These nascent organizing attempts are fascinating and deserve a great deal of scholarly attention. However, in this paper we will examine a different approach to worker representation. It concerns the role of a public sector union, the Florida Public Services Union (FPSU, an affiliate of the SEIU) working with community allies to create a movement/organization known as the People’s Budget Review (PBR)

 A Novel Way to Represent the Interests of Workers

Paul Clark, Introduction of Lois Gray, winner of 2014 UALE Lifetime Achievement Award

Lois Gray Lifetime Achievement Award

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Conference 2013, Toronto "Across Boundaries: What Are Workers Saying and Doing?"

Judy Ancel and Katherie Sciacchitano

"The TransPacific Partnership: Taking NAFTA Global"

Power point presentation and associated Resources list showing how FTAs hurt workers and small producers in both developed and developing countries. Also suggests principles for better agreements and steps to oppose TPP. "A work in progress"

 TPP PowerPoint (3.85 MB)
  TPP Resources (19 KB)

 Also see the following handouts:

North American Unity Statement re TPP (21 KB)
Public Citizen Article re TPP (36 KB)

Barbara Byrd, Deborah Mailander and Helen Moss

"Mobbing and Bullying in the Workplace"

While there is gorwing consensus on the definition of workplace bullying, translating this cosensus into effective workplace policies and contract provisions has remained challenging. This paper, originally delivered to the National Academy of Arbitrators, attempts to provide assistance to advocates and arbitrators dealing with the issue. 

 Mobbing and Bullying in the Workplace (97 KB)

Jerry Carbo

"Bullying Leaders and Union Response"

Paper and associated PowerPoint presentation on addressing workplace bullying through concerted activity. Reviews the results of three different case studies where unions responded to workplace bullying in different ways, and presents arguments that union responses can indeed lead to effective resolution of workplace bullying.

Union Response to Bullying
 Workplace Bullying and Union Response (93 KB)


Jeff Grabelsky

"Strategic Decision Making" 

Powerpoint presentation used in workshop "Beyond Strategic Planning: Helping Labor Leaders Exercise Strategic Decision-Making Everyday" The workshop constructs and explains the Strategic Choice Framework (developed by David Weil) as a tool for leaders to make highly intentional decisions everyday about how they deploy precious resources, expand internal organizational capacity, and build and exercise leverage in the external environment.

Grabelsky - Strategic Decision Making

Gordon Lafer

"Corporate Lobbies’ Attack on Teachers’ Unions and Public Education"

Powerpoint presentation from workshop "Understanding the Attack on Teachers Unions" While teachers have often simply been included in broader attacks on public employees as a whole, many states and provinces have passed legislation that aims specifically at restricting the rights of school teachers and transforming the work they do. These attacks are not a local phenomenon. In its most ambitious version, this agenda aims toward the wholesale privatization of public schooling.

Lafer UALE 4-13 Attack on Teachers and Schools

Bruce Nissen

"Serving the Faculty Union: A Case Study of Labor Studies Research on One’s Own Campus"

"This paper examines the applied research arm of the Center for Labor Research and Studies at Florida International University (FIU), the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP), and focuses specifically on a set of research reports that RISEP has conducted for FIU’s faculty union, the United Faculty of Florida (UFF)... Studies such as this provide a vital service to higher education unions.

....[T]he most valuable lesson is that university-based labor education professionals can and should apply their expertise and labor-related knowledge to situations “close to home” – right on their own campuses. If they do so, they are likely to find it a rewarding experience, for academia has become one of the major sites of labor union practice in the U.S. today."

Nissen: Serving the Faculty Union

Alayne Unterberger

" Solidarity Forever? Immigrant Student Activists in Florida"

PowerPoint presentation from workshop "How Labor Studies Can Inspire Student Activism: A Case Study from Florida". This presentation explores the creation and establishment of FIU’s first official Student Farmworker Alliance chapter, how the students worked together across disciplines and ethnicities to accomplish some pretty hefty goals in their first semester on campus.

Please note: the presentation has been broken into separate 2 documents because of its size.

Unterberger - Solidarity Forever - slides 1-8
Unterberger - Solidarity Forever - slides 9-16


Helena Worthen

"How the Working Conditions of Online Teaching Affect the Worklives of Online Faculty: Report from the COCAL/UALE Working Group on Online Learning Survey, October-December 2012 "

To answer the question, “What are the working conditions of Online Faculty?” COCAL (the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor) authorized a survey at its August 2012 conference in Mexico City, as a joint project with the Online Learning Working Group of UALE, the United Association for Labor Education. This article reports the findings of that survey.

Working Conditions of Online Teaching

2013 Town Hall Report Back

Summary Report of the "Town Hall" activity in the plenary session Thursday, April 18, at the 2013 UALE Conference

2013 Town Hall Report Back

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Conference 2012, Pittsburgh "Subterranean Fire: The Labor Movement on Hard Times"

P.J. Dowsing-Buie and Debra Kidney

"AFSCME Council 79 Members and Activists Training"

Workshop presented at 2012 UALE Conference by P.J. Dowsing-Buie and Debra Kidney

document MAT_curriculm_for_UALE_posting (1013 KB)

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Conference 2011, New Orleans "Unfinished Business: Workers' Rights for the Next Generation"

Tess Ewing, Dale Melcher, Kim WIlson and Susan Winning, UMass Labor Extension Program

“Building Support for the Public Sector: Reframing the Debate, a Workshop for Public Sector Workers and Allies.”


Public sector workers, and their unions, have increasingly been the focus of anger, ridicule and outrage. In this demonstration workshop, we will explore media coverage of the public sector and public sector workers, examine framing as a tool for countering negative attitudes in the context of building a movement, and discuss and practice crafting specific messages for targeted audiences.

document Building Support for the Public Sector (361 KB)


Tess Ewing, Dale Melcher, Ruth Needleman, Deborah Rosenstein, and Steve Schnapp

“Creating New Knowledge & Leaders for Movement Building: How Popular Education Works.”


As educators we understand that learning from our collective experiences is central for developing new strategies and leaders. But how can education best serve to promote the analysis, reflection and action that move us towards these objectives? This workshop will use popular education to demonstrate how popular education (also known as education for transformation) works and at the same time open a broad discussion on this pedagogical approach. Popular education is not just a set of techniques nor just a participatory form of education. It emerged as an integral part of social movements for change in order to help people think differently about their role in society and to strengthen their own ability to make changes. We will consider how to use this approach in our work and what the possibilities are for true education for transformation within the confines of our institutions and the movements within which we work.

document Using Popular Education (24 KB)

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Conference 2010, San Diego  "Borders: Walls, Bridges, and Doors"

Antonia Arias  and Margarita Avalos

"Experience in the Maquiladoras"

Testimony from 2 maquiladora employees during Cross Border Solidarity Tour to Tijuana.

Experience in the Maquilas


Paul Clark

"New Member Orientation"

The results of a five year longitudinal study suggest that effective union member orientation programs can play an important role in building long-term member commitment to the union. This study also provides insight into what constitutes an “effective” orientation program. The logic behind the findings is simple and straightforward. 1.) First impressions DO have a lasting impact. And 2.) the attitudes of new members towards their union are substantially formed over their first several weeks of membership; if the union can make a strong positive impression during that period, that impression will stay with the new member well into the future. An effective new member orientation program is the single most effective thing a union can do to build member commitment.

PowerPoint presentation

document New Member Orientation (355 KB)


Peter Fairbrother & Darryn Snell

"Carbon Obesity and Union Action in Australia: A Sustainable and Just Transition in Australia’s Carbon Exposed Regions"

In the midst of international debate and government initiatives, to address the human causes of climate change, many trade, unions are seeking to develop their capacities as environmental actors. Campaigns for ‘Green Collar Jobs’ have been at the forefront of union environmental activities in the US, UK,

Germany and Australia. Unions perceive these activities as a win for workers in that ‘Green Job’ programs are expected to deliver substantial job growth and a win for sustainable environmental goals. The benefits of a ‘greener’ and more environmentally sustainable economy, however, are not straightforward; nor are they likely to be experienced in the same ways in communities and by unions. As policy efforts are strengthened to reduce carbon emissions some sectors and regions will confront major challenges. In Australia, which has been described as the most ‘carbon obese nation in the developed world’ (McNeil, 2009: 45), recent Government efforts to curb the country’s dependence on carbon through an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has divided the nation. The Australian labour movement, which has been at the forefront of policy efforts to reduce carbon emissions and advance green jobs, is now seeking to address the detrimental impacts of a more carbon-constrained environment. This paper considers the dilemmas confronting Australian unions and how they are meeting these challenges. It considers three case studies.

Paper (LSJ session)

document Carbon Obesity and Union Action in Australia
(132 KB)

Elissa McBride

"The AFSCME Local Union Leadership Academy"

This two day program is for teams of local union officers. The program is based on two major premises. First, local unions will be stronger and more effective if they increase member participation, which requires effective strategic planning by local union leaders. Second, leadership training is more effective if it reaches teams of leaders instead of individuals. AFSCME has more than 3000 local unions in 47 states, and over the past two years the LULA has reached almost 2000 leaders in more than 200 locals. In the fall of 2009, the AFSCME Education Department conducted an online survey to assess the long term impact of the program on local union effectiveness. The results of the evaluation will be shared.

 Local Union Assessment

LULA Results

Carol Oppenheimer

“From the Global to the Local: Building a Green Stewards Network”

Outline for a presentation as part of a panel  "Labor and the Envirnment"

document UALE Green Stewards-Energy Fund Presentation (33 KB)

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Conference 2009, Silver Spring, MD  "ImagInIng AlternatIves: A Moment of Challenge and Opportunity"

Elyse Bryant, France Laurendeau, D’Arcy Martin, Elissa McBride, and Katie Quan, facilitators

Politics and the Labor Movement

Notes from plenary session using Open Space Techmology to discuss the theme of "What is the role of labor education in promoting political consciousness among working people?"

document Report on Politics and the Labor Movement
(42 KB)

Carol Anderson, France Laurendeau, d’Arcy Martin & Barb Thomas

“Uncertainty In Union Representation And Education: An Ethical Challenge”

This interactive session focused on applied ethics in union action. Together, participants explored what “union values” actually are, both on paper and in practice. This is particularly challenging in a time of uncertainty, where long-held union principles are being called into question by economic, social, demographic, cultural and organizational changes

Notes from Roundtable session

document Roundtable on Uncertainty and Union representation and education: An Ethical Challenge (32 KB)


Tony Brown & Keiko Yasukawa

“Between Imagination And Immediacy: Education For Union Renewal In the Midst Of Crisis”

 This session reports on research conducted with twenty-five Australian trade union leaders, who were asked to describe the educational activities of their unions; and to assess the education provided by the ACTU’s education and Campaign Centre (ECC). It reveals a number of structural, organisational and pedagogical challenges for delivering a national union education program. More substantially, the findings reflect a lack of imagination about how education, and what type of education, can support a union movement battling to convince new layers of workers that unionism can be a dynamic forward-looking social movement.


document Between Imagination and Immediacy: Education for union renewal in the midst of crisis (104 KB)

Steven Cook & David Cormir
“Political Impact Analysis of a Successful Union-Led Political Coalition: A Case Study”

In 2006 a unique alliance occurred between a local of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia (AFT-WV) and the non-union West Virginia School Service Personnel Association (WVSSPA) in Monongalia County, West Virginia. For the first time the two organizations initiated a formal coalition to endorse candidates for the Monongalia County School Board with the ultimate goal of electing School Board members who would support an excess levy that contained a salary supplement increase for all employees. The successful activities of this coalition now serve as a model for similar joint efforts in the state’s other 54 counties. This coalition may also be an opportunity to create a significant labor presence in many counties where there are currently few, if any, non-teacher AFL-CIO union members.


document Political Impact Analysis of a Successful Union-Led Political Coalition: A Case Study (90 KB)


Ellen Dannin

"The Evolving Definition of the Immigrant Worker: The Intersection Among Employment, Labor, and Human Rights Law"

When it comes to workplace rights, the only certainty is that management will fiercely oppose and judges will take away rights that Congress has given. this paper uses the lessons of history (in this case, Hoffman Plastics,) as “comparative” law on lost rights and strategies to ensure workplace laws remain effective.


pdf The Evolving Definition of the Immigrant Worker: The Intersection Among Employment, Labor, and Human
(224 KB)

Randyl D. Elkin and Joan Hill

How to Teach the Use of Critical Thinking and Evidentiary Issues in Arbitration

This workshop will discuss how to teach rank-and-file members about the decision making process arbitrators go through, how to influence arbitrators’ decisions through evidentiary submissions and objections, what factors are considered in their decision making process, including concepts of critical thinking, evidence, hearsay and objections and how presentation of the grievance in arbitration can lead to success.


Instructor notes: document How to Teach the Use of Critical Thinking and Evidentiary Issues in Arbitration Instructor Notes (117 KB)

Student Outline: document CONVINCING THE ARBITRATOR Student Outline (103 KB)

PowerPoint presentation: document CONVINCING THE ARBITRATOR Presentation (507 KB)


Kim Scipes

Neo-Liberal Economic Policies in the United States: The Impact of Globalization on a ‘Northern’ Country

As the financial crisis continues, it is important to recognize the economic situation of workers before the crisis hit. Thus, we find in the first four years of the George W. Bush administration that the bottom 80% of families had lost income absolutely, not just relatively, and that our country had, by far, the most unequal income distribution of any so-called advanced country. At the same time, millions had lost jobs, 47 million were uninsured, and these had important negative ramifications for our well-being, standard of living and health standards. Thus, the financial crisis hit an already vulnerable working population, intensifying its impact.

Paper/Panel presentation

document Neo-Liberal Economic Policies in the United States: The Impact of Globalization on a “Northern” Country (285 KB)




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