Minutes Immigration/Globalization Working Group Meeting

5pm Wednesday, March 21 2012

UALE Conference, Pittsburgh

I. Call to order, roll call

Judy Ancel and Robin Clark-Bennett called the meeting to order at 5:00pm.

Present: Steve Schnapp, Tess Ewing, Kent Wong, Cam Duncan, Don Taylor, Susan Winning, Howard Kling, Dan Gilbert, Mary Bellman, Helen Moss, Luis Argueta

II. Reports on existing projects

A. UALE 2012 conference workshop track

Judy reported that at least eight conference workshops and one of the plenaries were developed from proposals generated by the Immigration and Globalization working group. Several participants provided more detailed descriptions of their workshops and encouraged everyone to attend and help spread the word.

B. Conference resolutions: 2011 and 2012

Robin distributed copies of the resolutions proposed by the Immigration and Globalization Working Group and adopted at the 2011 membership meeting, including: Resolution on Future Work on the Cananea Copper Strike by UALE, Resolution to Halt U.S. Funding of Union-Busting and Repression by the Mexican Government, and an untitled resolution that interpretation be considered an integral part of UALE conference planning when non-English speakers are part of the program or participating in the conference. Judy asked whether the Cananea resources had been transferred to the new UALE website, and offered to visit the website to find out.

Robin distributed draft copies of resolutions from the Immigration and Globalization Working Group, to be considered in the 2012 membership meeting: a budget request to fund workshop speakers for the 2013 conference, and a resolution calling for an E-Board committee to investigate ways of facilitating participation in the UALE conferences by worker activists and other allies) who lack the means to pay their way.   document I/G WG Resolutions, 2012 (122 KB)

The group had a lengthy discussion about the second new resolution.

Judy and Robin explained the background – there was some confusion and difficulty in the planning process for this conference, because several speakers invited to conduct Immigration and Globalization workshops were from organizations without much money. The official policy required them to pay full conference registration, in addition to funding their own travel and hotel, even if they were only coming as guest speakers for their sessions. The registration requirement for some guest speakers was waived for this conference, due to confusion about the policy, but the group would like to clarify this for the future. Immigration and Globalization-related speakers were perhaps more likely to have funding challenges, because issues of interest to this working group often involve non-traditional labor movement allies and leaders of global unions with less money. However, because the conference as a whole is enriched by the presence of a diverse pool of speakers, and conference participation may build stronger connections between traditional and non-traditional workers’ organizations, and there are broader financial considerations involved, it may be best if the E-Board considered the issue rather than one working group.

Tess noted that in the past, funding has focused on plenary speakers more than speakers in workshops. Susan agreed that this is a broader organizational, rather than working group issue. Mary felt that the underlying budget questions should be in the hands of people who see the financial “big picture,” but that this issue is also central to the question of how UALE attracts participation by other groups. Steve felt that the resolution should not be limited to encouraging conference attendance by a more diverse pool of labor allies, but also UALE membership and participation. Mary and Tess agreed, and proposed that the resolution be amended to include membership and participation. Don felt that the creation of a committee increased the likelihood that progress might be made on this issue, as opposed to similar previous resolutions that have not yielded results. Steve agreed to work on revising the resolution to reflect the group’s discussion.

The group unanimously voted to recommend the two resolutions, as revised.

C. Robin reported on the results of the online survey Immigration and Globalization Working Group conducted with UALE members in 2011. There were 39 responses. Perhaps most interesting, over 80% of respondents wanted the group to help disseminate case studies of innovative union and community responses to immigration and globalization challenges, followed by over 60% who were interested in curriculum sharing. Film clips were the third most popular priority. [Full results available – contact Robin for more information.]

III. Reports on recent news and labor initiatives

Kent reported on positive developments in the labor movement, in regard to immigration and globalization-related issues. For example, President Trumka recently delivered a powerful address to NDLON, including a statement that the future of the labor movement rests in efforts like theirs. Trumka also delivered a recent statement of support for a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. The AFL-CIO is encouraging new union/workers’ center partnerships – Ana Fink is staffing this, and there is a new LIFT fund to strengthen partnerships. Kent proposed that our group could track, promote, and highlight these types of partnerships. The AFL-CIO has embraced the work of the Excluded Workers’ Congress and is changing its approach to China. There is strong new leadership of the Solidarity Center and the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department. The Immigration and Globalization Working Group could play a meaningful role by writing case studies about these kinds of initiatives, and showcasing bilingual materials.

Luis Argueta described his film, abUSed: The Postville Raid, and asked for assistance with a curriculum he is working to develop for use with the film. He would like to finish the curriculum by the end of the summer. Kent noted that he would like to have a film screening in LA, and offered that the Immigration and Globalization Working Group could also compile lists of films and curricula, along with concrete examples of ways in which previous screenings have helped to promote new labor alliances, and disseminate them through state feds and labor ed programs. Tess offered to put a link to a clip from this film on our working group’s resource page, on the UALE website. Steve expressed an interest in working on popular education questions that could accompany the clip.

Cathy Feingold has expressed an interest in joining us via conference call in the next month, since she was unable to attend the conference as she had hoped. She wanted to discuss ways of sharing information and working together. Kent could help on that call – he has met with Cathy, and he also felt she is eager to work with us. Kent felt we should be prepared to propose specific initiatives on that call, and he would be willing to facilitate the process.

DREAM University – Kent reported on a new degree program by the National Labor College that would be open to undocumented students, who now are unable to attend college in states such as Georgia, Missouri, and others. It’s the first major institution opening its doors to undocumented students. It would help if UALE would support this. There will be about 50 students in the first class. They need online support, online lectures…UCLA is assisting with the curriculum, and NLC is making its courses available. Please contact Ken if you have ideas.

IV. Proposals for Working Group Activities in 2012-2013

Susan – film compilation. She is a big fan of clips, and this seems achievable, though she is aware and concerned that we need to encourage people to purchase the full film, to support the filmmakers.

Mary – get back in the habit of sharing curriculum, case studies, descriptions of immigration/globalization related events our programs have hosted

Ruth – more systematic work on globalization and international solidarity initiatives

Judy – pinpoint a couple upcoming events that we want to do more research on, such as Transpacific Partnership, G8, GATS and guestworker programs

Tess - with the new website, we need someone to update lists and web materials

Mary – should we do more delegations, like the Cananea example? Talk to Solidarity Center or Cathy Feingold for ideas?

Ruth – meet with labor educators in other countries

Respectfully submitted by Robin Clark-Bennett June 27, 2012