UALE Immigration and Globalization Working Group Call 10/11/13 Notes

Attending: Kent Wong, UCLA Labor Center; Mary Bellman, University of Minnesota LES; Howard Kling, University of Minnesota LES; Ruth Needleman, Calumet College Charlie Fanning, AFL-CIO; Jennifer Angarita, AFL-CIO; Helen Moss, University of Oregon, LERC.

Mary B. facilitated, Helen took notes.

Prior to starting the meeting, Kent Wong gave an update on the exciting legislative victories from California – Governor Brown just signed into law the “Trust Act”, a bill prohibiting local law enforcement officials from detaining immigrants longer than necessary for minor crimes so that federal immigration authorities can take custody of them. Other recent victories in California include the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, that gives domestic workers wage and hour protections, and the Drivers’ License Bill, that allows immigrants to obtain a drivers license regardless of immigration status.

Kent also gave a report on the AFL-CIO convention that took place in September in LA. He felt that the convention was a “break-through” occasion on many fronts, with a commitment at the highest leadership level to immigrant workers’ rights, having partnerships with worker centers and other groups organizing workers and looking at labor issues globally. Tefere Gebre, was elected to an AFL-CIO Executive Vice President position; Bhairavi Desai, the founding member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a union representing approximately 15,000 taxi drivers in New York City was also elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Committee. President Trumka recently visited key labor leaders in China and Cathy Feingold, International Affairs department and Shauna Blader-Blau of the Solidarity Center are very committed to global labor solidarity, recently convening a International Conference. Mary Bellman mentioned that there was a follow-up call after the convention to discuss the implications for labor education, especially in terms of broadening the definition of Labor Education. Video coverage from LES of the convention, including interviews with Tefere Gabre and Bhairavi Desai, can be found at workdayminnesota.org

Meeting to Discuss IMGWG proposal process for 2014 UALE conference

1. Call for proposals: The conference last year in Toronto was great, but a lot of the participants felt that there were too many concurrent sessions. While more inclusive, it meant that some workshops were poorlyThere will be less concurrent sessions at the 2014 conference, and the working groups will be meeting during the session times. We don’t know the exact number of sessions we will have, but it will be less than prior years.

2. The call has specific guidelines for proposals, and Helen suggested we follow the same guidelines, which are fairly broad. From the website:


Conference proposals will be selected based upon


-       relevance of proposals to the conference theme

-       having a balance of academic, union, and community presenters

-       aiming for demographic balance: race, gender, region, age, etc.

-       balancing the number of proposals with depth of presentations

-       proposals that spark and hold people’s interest.



3. Kent mentioned that the Executive Board will be meeting in November and will ratify the plenary suggestions. Three ideas for plenaries:

    1. New Labor Movement for New Working Class – New ways of organizing, worker centers, examples of new forms of organizing: Domestic Workers, Taxicab Drivers.
    2. A plenary that reflects the recommendations from the People of Color Caucus: broadening the understanding in the field of education, new generation of people of color, using new techniques, creative education.
    3. A plenary on a globalization topic – Kent asked the group for suggestions. Ruth suggested a plenary that dealt with women’s global role in new forms of organizing, she has been working on this idea with Lisa McGowan from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, she will ask Lisa to submit to the conference planning committee, working with Shauna. Kent said he would talk to Lisa while in DC for the Executive BoardThe plenary could possibly pair international speakers with local speakers doing work that with gendered forms of organizing.




 Mary Bellman suggested that once we know the plenary speakers, we consider whether they might fit into a panel session, if willing. Kent mentioned that there is not a lot of money to pay for international airfares.

4. Our process – Mary and Helen suggest that we form a subcommittee that would include Mary and Helen (co-chairs) and no more than two more volunteers to screen proposals. Ruth volunteered, we’ll ask Judy Ancel to consider being on the committee. We’ll ask for proposals from our group by December 1, and ask Tony to give us the proposals that fit our working groups’ topic area by December 1. Kent stated that the proposals that seemed to fit our group would be sent to us as in prior years. We will review and consolidate, using the conference criteria, but also try fill any crucial


5. Some ideas for proposals that were mentioned:

    1. “Global Capitalism’s effect on our worksites”, asking Dana Frank from UC Santa Cruz; or perhaps Dana would discuss the food chain, since she has great book on the banana workers. Ruth will follow up on these proposals.
    2. Kent will be submitting a proposal on the work that some of his colleagues have done at the Trade Union University in Viet Nam.
    3. Kent will also submit a proposal for a session that highlights some of the victories of the immigrant youth movement – pushing President Obama on CIR, the Dream 9 action;
    4. Ruth also suggested a session based on a labor education conference she will attend in January, which will discuss new forms of democracy
    5. We discussed whether CIR would be a good topic. Helen is interested in a session discussing local movements/victories. She will see what comes in from others before making a proposal. Jennifer mentioned the AFL-CIO’s work in expanding democracy for residents who are not citizens, and how this might fit in this session.

Other news:

Ruth mentioned a new video that she thought folks might be able to use: