As the world is swept up in the Covid-19 pandemic, major disruptions are happening in all our lives. Like every other organization, UALE must figure out how to keep functioning: what activities must be cancelled or postponed, what cen we continue to do by moving online, what resources we can pull together to help our members and constituents, what might wevbe able to contribute in our roles as educators.
Unfortunately, the regional gatherings planned for the Northeast and the Midwest have been cancelled or postponed. We are hoping to re-schedule them for later in the year. Of course, we do not know how long this epidemic will last, and the other regionas may have to cancel or postpone as well. We will post updates on our 2020 UALE regional meetings page. If the pandemic drags on for months, we will look for ways to hold these events online, if necessary. As UALE VP/Union Amanda Pacheco says in the UALE newsletter, "...these events provide inspiration and resources for our ongoing collective work, and that doesn’t go away. Our network is used to finding creative ways to build community. So, please plan to participate as opportunities are made available".
On the more positive side, many UALE members are involved in pulling together reliable information, lists of resources for union members and other working people, and examples of pro-worker legislation or contract language; in developing workshops and in other ways making a positive contribution to keeping our most vulnerable people safe and financially afloat during this crisis. If you are either looking for good information on what unions and other worker organizations are doing around Covid-19; or have some information to share, the UALE listserv is a very useful tool to send out a message to toerh labor educators. If you are not yet a member of the listserv, you can sign up by clicking on the button about half way up the home page.
At this time (March 24) the Northeast regional event has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to reschedule it later. Watch the 2020 Regional Meetings page for updates, or contact UALE NE Regional coordinator Sarah Hughes.
In anticipation of the important elections in Fall of 2020, United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host a one and a half day Northeast regional training and exchange in April 2020. The event is to be focused on sharing curriculum and best practices on popular and political education for labor, with the understanding that this work must center racial, gender, and economic justice.
UALE seeks proposals from labor union, university, and community practitioners in the Northeast United States for teaching demonstrations, presentations on training programs, roundtable discussions, and research sessions, in English and Spanish, for Friday afternoon and Saturday event times. Friday afternoon will also include a train-the-trainer session on popular education techniques, for new and experienced educators alike.
The event will take place Friday, April 24 (1/2 day) and Saturay, April 25 (full day) at CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, New York, NY.
Download the Call for Proposals here: pdf 2020 Northeast Regional Meeting (271 KB)
NB: The other UALE regions are also planning events. As the information becomes available, it will be posted on the 2020 UALE Regional Meetings page.
Mark your calendars!
The 2021 UALE Conference will take place from May 18-21, 2021, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The local hosts will be: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Labor Education program; DePaul University Labor Education Center, & the UIC School of Public Health.
Planning is getting underway now. Updates will be posted on this website as they become available.
At the 2019 Conference, UALE decided to change to a schedule of biennial conferences, with regional events in the in-between years. For this reason, there will be no national conference in 2020. But watch this site for informaiton about the various regional events.
Follow on Twitter #UALE2021@ualelabor
Download a Save the Date flyer: pdf UALE 2021 SAVE THE DATE (852 KB)
The University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center (LERC) has just learned that the university is planning to cut their funding by a full 68%. Most other programs at UO are facing cuts of between 2 and 10%. A 68% cut would totally gut the LERC. There is no other program in Oregon that could step in to fill the void.
Over the years, LERC has contributed mightily to the field of lebor education and research, as well as to the success of UALE. Losing it, or seeing it cut back to a shadow of its former self, would be a tragedy on a national scale, not just for Oregon.
Please help save LERC. Visit the Save LERC page on facebook to see what you can do.
Together, we can save this important program IF we act fast!
Are you plannig to attend the 2019 UALE Conference in Philadelphia?
A new, updated version of the conference schedule has been posted on the Conference page. Be sure to look at it, as several times slots have been changed.
Remember, online registration is only available through March 15. After that, you will have to register in person at the conference. You can register online from the Conference page (See links at top right of page).
Also, if you have not yet made hotel reservations, discounted rooms will be available until 3/12. Book here.
Calling all UALE members!
For the past two years, our organization has been engaged in an evaluation and conversation about how we structure our conferences, with the goal of making our conference more sustainable and accessible, while continuing to build the capacity of UALE. At our general membership meeting in Philadelphia on April 4, we will vote on these proposed changes to our constitution and by-laws.
The proposed constitutional changes should be taken together with the Regional Event Planning Recommendations and Toolkit to provide the full picture of what we have in mind. Please come prepared to discuss and vote on these changes.
We have uploaded three important documents to prepare for the meeting:
You can download them here.
Planning for the 2019 UALE conference is moving forward apace. The deadline for proposals for workshops and papers from individuals is coming up fast: December 21.
Online registration is already available.
Once again, UALE will offer research grants, financial aid for community organizations, and awards in several categories. See our Conference page for details.
UALE seeks proposals from labor union, university, and community practitioners for conference sessions on our 2019 theme "Labor and social movements: Labor education and organizing for unity and empowerment".
Our perilous and rapidly evolving contemporary period illustrates both the various challenges workers experience on the job and in society, and the resiliency and militancy with which workers have mobilized. Facing capital flight, contingent labor systems, automation, structural inequality and racism, and strident political opposition, workers have cultivated new movements and avenues for mobilizing to challenge—and often to emerge victorious against—these powerful forces. For example, movements and strikes in areas such as education, health care, telecommunications, hospitality, technology, fast-food, transportation, the growing fields of contingent employment, and the incarcerated in recent years have frequently crossed boundaries of race, gender, nationality, class, and other identities to grow bases of support and achieve important gains.
Please join us April 2-5, 2019, in Philadelphia for the United Association for Labor Education’s conference where labor and community educators, scholars and activists will share teaching innovations, analyses, applied research and experiences in the field. We aim to highlight and understand new approaches to labor organizing that respond to current challenges, as well as the role of labor education in building power. Finally we are interested in practices and ideas that support leadership development of young workers to expand and strengthen our movement.
To see the complete Call for Proposals, please visit the Conference 2019 page
Thanks to a grant from the Berger-Marks Foundation, UALE now has a new website especially for our Women's Summer Schools. You can take a look at it here.
This new site will centralize information and registration for all the upcoming UALE Women's Summer Schools. It will also collect and archive curriculum and materials used in various Summer School workshops, as well as other useful materials such as outreach and planning documents, evaluation forms, and the like.
This new website does not take the place of the Women's Summer School pages here on this website, which are intended for a more general audience.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City, faced with severe budget reductions from the state legislature, has cut the position of Director of the Worker Education & Labor Studies (WELS) Program. UALE member Judy Ancel, who held that position for almost 30 years, is the only staff member of WELS, so this cut has effectively terminated the whole program.
According to a UMKC spokesman, the unversity is "...currently investigating less costly options to keep the certificate program open....", but with its one staff member gone it is unclear what those options might be.
The program will be geatly missed by the labor movement in Kansas City.
According to Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star,
"Union leaders say the non-degree program provided the only college-caliber training in workforce issues available to union members who haven’t received the same higher education as their management counterparts...
'Without her and the labor studies program, we wouldn’t be where we are today,' said Pat Dujakovich, president of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO. 'She’s provided the education we need since there’s always been a disadvantage for organized labor.'"
This is not the first time WELS has had to fight for its existence. In 2011, the program was targeted in a smear campaign by Andrew Breitbart. He released a video purporting to show that Ancel, and colleague Don Giljum at UMSL, condoned violence in labor organizing. However, an investigation by the University found that Ancel and Giljum had been framed, their words purposefully distorted by deceitful editing.
According to Ancel, she herself is ready to retire, but the program is more needed now than ever. The labor movement in Kansas city is fighting attacks on many fronts.
"The program will only be saved if the labor movement saves it. Right now they're fighting right to work by trying to repeal it in a citizen initiative. Everybody's out gathering signatures. On top of that we've got a governor who keeps calling special sessions of the legislature in order to get legislation through that he couldn't get passed in the regular session and that includes repealing prevailing wage and paycheck deception. They've already outlawed project labor agreements. So labor had a lot on its plate and limited resources."
How can you help?
For more information
Background document from Judy Ancel: document What WELS does and why labor ed (703 KB)
Longtime labor educator at UMKC is out by Diane Stafford from Kansas City Star
Week in Review June 23 by Bill Onasch, from KC Labor blog
Former UALE President Elissa McBride was elected by acclamation to be the new Secretary Treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) at their International Executive Board meeting this month. You can see AFSCME's press release here.
Elissa joined AFSCME as the Director of the Education and Leadership Training Department in 2001. In this capacity, she also joined UALE that same year.
She was elected President of UALE in 2010, and served 2 consecutive terms (the maximum allowed).
WASHINGTON , DC– At a time when labor organizing, immigration, racial justice, prison reform, and the right for decent health care and working conditions are on the line, the Berger-Marks Foundation proudly announces the recipients of its 2017 awards. The Berger-Marks Foundation is an institutional member of UALE and a major supprter of our regional women’s summer schools.
Winners of the Edna Award for Social Justice and the Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Awards have each stood up for justice and workers’ rights in the face of enormous odds. This year’s honorees come from California, Connecticut, Kansas, and New York.
Angelica M. Clarke, Executive Director of the Albany Social Justice Center, has been named winner of the Edna Award for Social Justice, which carries a $10,000 prize. The Edna Award celebrates women age 35 or younger, who have distinguished themselves as social justice leaders. The award honors Edna Berger, a pioneer for women’s rights, who rose from a receptionist at The Philadelphia Inquirer to become a writer, editor, and the first female organizer in The Newspaper Guild-CWA.
At age 26, Ms. Clarke directs one of New York State’s long-standing hubs for social justice organizing, the Albany Social Justice Center. While still a student, she cofounded Save Our SUNY, which organized against tuition price increases and cuts in academic programs, and New York Students Rising, a statewide coalition that advocated for quality affordable higher education and student empowerment. After graduation, she organized for the Graduate Students Employees Union (GSEU/CWA 1104) and helped bring a new labor contract for SUNY graduate students. She co-founded the Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration (CAAMI), a leading upstate New York voice on issues of prison justice and police violence, and the Upstate NY Black Lives Matter Chapter. Throughout her work, Angelica M. Clarke has been able to inspire young activists while simultaneously building relations with, and creating bridges to, older generations of social justice advocates.
Two runners-up will receive the $1,000 Edna Awards of Distinction:
Kate Mullaney Award
The Berger-Marks Foundation also honors the three winners of the $1,000 Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award, given to young women age 35 or younger who have stood up for workers’ rights and organized their own workplaces. The award is named for a young laundry worker who, more than 150 years ago, organized one of the first women’s unions.
The 2017 Kate Mullany Award recipients are:
“We honor these young women for their steadfast commitment to leading the way for social justice and workers’ rights,” notes Berger-Marks Foundation President Linda Foley, “Just as Edna Berger broke boundaries to accomplish her goals, these award winners are inspiring the next generation to work for a more equitable world.”
The Edna Award and Kate Mullany Award winners will receive their awards at a reception on February 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. For more information on the award reception, please visit: https://2017ednakate.eventbrite.com.
For more information about the Berger-Marks Awards, please visit http://www.bergermarks.org/home/awards.
About The Berger-Marks Foundation
The Berger-Marks Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to supporting women who organize for social justice and promoting the leadership and participation of women in the labor movement. The foundation is an institutional member of UALE, and has been a major funder of the UALE Women’s school. Since 2012 it has given $115,000 to the summer schools with the explicit purpose of providing scholarships to young women age 35 or younger to attend or teach at the summer schools. Berger-Marks also gave $49,100 in 2014 to UALE to evaluate and reimagine the four UALE regional women’s summer schools. In 2014, UALE hired Cheryl Coney to lead the evaluation and planning efforts. There was a retreat in November 2014 that brought together 26 women at the Highlander Center, where retreat participants examined, compared, assessed, and rethought the curriculum, recruitment, and financial structure of the four summer schools. The report that resulted from that reassessment can be accessed from the UALE Publications page of our Resources section. https://uale.org/resources-list/publications/348-union-women-s-leadership-education-proje
Since the overthrow of President Dilma Rouseff last August, Brazil's social movements have come under increasing attack from the new rightwing government of Michel Temer. In one particularly egregious case, police and military forces invaded the education center of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), the Movement of Landless Workers on November 4.
In response, on November 21, UALE issued the following resolution:
"UALE Resolution in Support of the MST, Landless Workers’ Movement
The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) condemns the invasion of the MST’s education center, Florestan Fernandes, by the Brazilian police and military forces on the morning of November 4, 2016. This school provides educational opportunities to rural organizers from throughout the hemisphere and beyond.
The largest social movement in Brazil today, the MST has enabled thousands of poor rural workers, including indigenous and African Descendant, to gain land for cooperative farming. It has a network of schools around Brazil and hosts students from countries all over the world. Their education integrates political economy with history, culture and agricultural knowledge, developing communities in solidarity and in struggle.
There is no question that MST’s Schools were viewed as dangerous and subversive by the Temer government. In its effort to stamp out any resistance to the new regime, the government has launched violent attacks such as this one, against other social movements as well, especially indigenous and Afro-Brazilian communities.
The raid began at 9:25 am, Sao Paulo time, with police and military firing weapons into the air and climbing over gates and fences. According to reports, the government had issued criminal complaints against MST organizers, educators and members, as part of a broad assault on social movements throughout the country.
As an Association of labor educators, we stand in solidarity with Florestan Fernandes and the MST, and call on all progressive forces to help publicize this and other attacks on social movements, and to contact immediately the Brazilian Embassy in DC, the US State Department and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to look into these human rights violations and pressure the Temer government to halt its repressive and violent actions."
More about the increasing repression in Brazil can be seen in this article by UALE member Ruth Needleman, posted in our Discussion Forum.
by Sarah Laslett
The Washington State Labor Education and Research Center (WA LERC) started drawing the ire and attention of the right-wing Freedom Foundation back in 2014. It all started because the Freedom Foundation didn’t think it was appropriate for the Labor Center to contract with the Washington State Labor Council to provide education on Right to Work legislation. The Freedom Foundation began to submit FOIA requests, and then sent a spy in to one of the trainings to acquire the curriculum. Freedom Foundation staff wrote blog posts decrying this work as a misuse of public funding and continued to request documentation about who the LERC served, how we spent our money, and about our relationships with Washington State legislators. Being a program of an institution of public education, South Seattle College, LERC responded with all the transparency we could, knowing that, although we had done nothing wrong, we were in for a long road of explaining how our activities working with labor organizations and community partners fulfilled the mandate of our mission without breaking the law or violating any Washington State ethics standards.
Two years later, we are exonerated. After the multiple information requests, the Freedom Foundation filed two official complaints, one with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (which oversees political lobbying) and the other with the Executive Ethics Board (which oversees public employees compliance with state ethics standards). Tellingly, neither of the complaints focused on the Right to Work program the Freedom Foundation had originally expressed interest in. When they took aim at the WA LERC and its former Director, Sarah Laslett, they focused on lobbying reporting and an allegation about the 2013 Summer Institute for Union Women.
The Public Disclosure Commission complaint was resolved in December of 2015 with a finding that the Seattle College District had, in fact, failed to file lobbying forms in a timely way. This was an unfortunate oversight but nothing of huge significance happened because of that lobbying activity. No additional funding for the Labor Center was forthcoming because of the unreported activity. No unethical or irresponsible interactions were had with public officials. We're talking about a few hours' worth of conversations that should have been reported and weren't. That's it. The $150 fine levied against the College District was suspended on the condition that no further violations are committed within a four year period. There was no fault found against the Labor Center itself.
The Executive Ethics Board complaint was dismissed on Sept 9, 2016 as "obviously unfounded or frivolous.” The story of this complaint is more substantive that the PDC complaint and more instructive, especially for higher education programs that host the Women’s Institutes across the country. In 2013 the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center took its turn in the regional rotation as the host for the Western Regional Summer Institute for Union Women. The summer institutes have been running for decades as annual, multi-day, residential leadership development programs. In the Western Region, the institute rotates among host organizations in CA, OR, WA, B.C., and Hawaii. It is a project of the United Association for Labor Education, the national professional organization for labor educators in higher education, unions, and community groups. One of the long-standing educational traditions of this institute is to offer participants the opportunity to take part in a direct action as part of a current and local labor struggle. Hosting institutions partner with unions or community organizations that are leading these struggles. It is an opportunity for Institute participants to learn about a local labor struggle, to learn about the organizations leading those struggles, and to see and experience, often for the first time, a direct action.
In 2013, Working Washington had been organizing workers at Sea-Tac airport around a number of issues for more than a year. Those campaigns focused on health and safety problems for baggage handlers and union recognition drives. This largely immigrant workforce bore the brunt of dangerous and low wage jobs, and were consistently stonewalled by employers when they sought redress to their issues. They had been attempting to get recognition for their unions through the democratic processes outlined under the law for some time prior to the 2013 SIUW. When ~150 women participating in the Institute when to SeaTac to participate in Working Washington’s direct action, the focus was on these issues.
When union formation and pressure on employers failed to achieve results for these workers, Working Washington added a new strategy - legislating a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage and other labor standards that the workers had originally sought through union contracts. This became Proposition 1 in the City of SeaTac and was the first legislative action of its kind in the U.S. As we now know, that has spawned a nation-wide movement seeking to address deep-seeded economic inequality, especially for low-wage workers in service industries. However, when participants of the Summer Institute for Union Women went to SeaTac airport in June of 2013, the ballot initiative had not yet been certified, let alone any campaign in support of it having been publicly initiated. Working Washington’s action, which the SIUW participated in, focused on workplace issues and unionization efforts, and yet the Freedom Foundation’s complaint explicitly claimed that the Labor Center had “violated the Ethics in Public Service Act by using public resources for political campaigns.”
The timing of the action and the initiative certification was clear and obvious to anyone who bothered to look. Clearly the Freedom Foundation was willing to ignore the timeline. They didn't care that the Labor Center was carrying on a long educational tradition within the SIUW by participating in the Working Washington action. They didn't believe that the public employees that ran the Labor Center were well aware of and committed to complying with the laws and ethics standards that protect tax payers from corruption and inappropriate behavior. The Freedom Foundation’s sole purpose was to malign this unique and important educational program, and waste vital public resources that could have been much better spent serving the working woman and men of Washington State. And in this, they succeeded.
The investigator for the Executive Ethics Board did a thorough investigation. He looked at emails and financial information from the Labor Center. He investigated Working Washington. He looked at the invoices detailing the hiring of the buses that carried SIUW participants to and from SeaTac on that day. And he saw two essential things. First, that the Labor Center providing this opportunity for SIUW ". . . participants to gain firsthand knowledge about how and why community organizations engage in this kind of activity . . . was . . . consistent with WSLERC's curriculum to educate people on labor issues and participation in this type of activity furthers that goal." Second, that there "is no evidence to support the [Freedom Foundation's] allegations." The bottom line is that the Freedom Foundation was engaging in political harassment, and they were wasting the time of publicly funded professionals to do it.
The good news is how dismally the Freedom Foundation has failed to interfere with the $15 per-hour minimum wage movement. According to their website, they are still seeking to undermine Seattle’s minimum wage initiative. But their failure in this struggle is clear. Not only did Proposition 1 pass in SeaTac, and then faced a lengthy court battle from which it emerged intact, but the movement has spread throughout the country. We have a more robust debate about economic inequality in this country today than has been seen in a very long time, with an appropriate focus on the experience of low-wage workers. Organizations like the Freedom Foundation, with their cynical, right-wing funded, anti-worker, anti-equity agenda cannot stop this movement, any more than they could make any of the allegations against the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center stick. They accuse public sector unions of political corruption, and yet they abuse public resources to try and move their right-wing agenda. It’s clear that they have nothing constructive to contribute to ongoing efforts to solve our common problems. If only the many public employees who, under the law, were required to respond to and investigate the Freedom Foundation’s unfounded and frivolous complaint could recover the hours and hours we spent, but we can't. The best thing we can do is celebrate the clearing of our names and move forward with our work, because we have a lot of work to do.
The UALE Western Region and the Labor and Community Studies Department (LBCS) of City College of San Francisco co-hosted a Labor Education Exchange in San Francisco July 8th and 9th at City College’s Mission Campus. The Exchange included a dinner and performance Friday evening followed by a full day of presentations of teaching practices on Saturday. The Friday evening performance was an oral history reader’s theater about the lives and organizing efforts of the members of La Colectiva des Mujeres. La Colectiva is a domestic workers advocacy organization that partnered with LBCS’ Work Tales oral history theater project to create their work, Nuestras Vidas, Nuestros Testimonios. Attendees and performers engaged in a lively post-performance discussion. Saturday’s participants gave presentations on their change-oriented educational work. Contexts ranged from union leadership short courses to community college classes to trainings in community-based organizations, worker collectives and homeless shelters. Presenters engaged their fifty-five registered co-attendees in discussion about their various programs and teaching approaches. Keynote speaker Steven Pitts of the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center helped set the tone for the day as he spoke on Labor Education in the Era of Black Lives Matter.
Exchange participants were predominantly from the Bay Area, with others from Sacramento, Los Angeles and as far away as Iowa and New York. They included Peter Olney discussing a leadership development class aimed at advancing members of color into leadership in the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way section of the Teamsters, Guled Muse of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation outlining his groups’s low-income-resident training work, attorney-activist Nina Fendel’s wonderfully participatory use of inner monologue shadows in her anti-sexual harassment training role-play, Lamon Werlein-Jaen of the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center describing deeply worker derived training curriculum he developed with UNITE HERE Local 2 and Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino of UCLA’s Labor Center laying out plans for August’s Western Region Summer Institute for Union Women. The presentations were diverse and though-provoking.
This 2016 event was the third such Western Region Labor Education Exchange, indicating an ongoing need for gatherings that build and support a local network of labor educators who can learn from each other and share experiences, opportunities and resources. Exchange planners Helena Worthen, Joe Berry, James Tracy and Bill Shields will assess the event and share with our UALE colleagues our thoughts on what worked about this event and how future ones might be improved.For more information about the Western Region Exchange, including a detailed list of presenters and their topics, please contact Helena Worthen at or Bill Shields at .
The PNLHA has announced that its 2017 conference will tke place in Vancouver, BC, from May 26-28, 2017.
The conference theme will be: "Echoes Of The 1917 Russian Revolution; Decades Of Radicalism And Red Scares In The Labour Movements Of The Pacific Northwest"
Although the focus of the conference will be on exploring the impact and lasting influences of this history on contemporary labour, all topics are welcome.
See Call for Proposals pdf here (4.52 MB) .
The UALE 2017 Annual Conference will take place in Detroit, from April 5-8, 2017. The theme is "Rethink, Rebuild, Revitalize:Education, Labor, Community."
As more information becomes available, we will post them on our Conference 2017 page.
The four regional UALE summer schools are accepting registrations. These are wonderful opportunities for women activists, electeds, staff and community allies to grow their leadership in an empowering learning community. Please share this information widely and know that there are scholarships available for women ages 35 and younger (see the websites for instructions and/or contact coordinators directly for information).
For more information go to our Upcoming/Current Women's Schools page.
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.
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.
Applications are now open for the 2017 version of both these awards.
For further information, download the complete announcement and application instructions here:
Sisters & brothers. UALE has connected with Democracy Spring which will take place in DC at the same time as our conference. Democracy Spring is many things and includes a march on Washington and series of sit-ins “to create a watershed moment to show Washington that Americans are determined to claim the democracy we were promised. Together we can defend the basic, beautiful concept that in our democracy everybody deserves an equal voice, not just billionaires and big money interests.” You can learn more at http://www.democracyspring.org/
A significant number of unions and labor allies are participating in Democracy Spring, and Thursday April 14th is the official “Labor Day,” but we’ve arranged to participate as UALE on “Student and Youth Day” on Friday, April 15th. In order to open up time in our conference schedule for this, we have had to (unfortunately) cancel the plenary session for Friday morning. Many of the concurrent sessions that were scheduled for Friday afternoon have been moved to that morning so that UALE folks can be free in the afternoon to participate in Democracy Spring. Remember that our membership meeting will start promptly at 4:30!
Here’s what we’d like your help with.
Labor Educators from UALE will run one or more teach-ins during the sit-ins (without expectation of arrest) on Friday afternoon between about 2:00 & 4:00 pm.
Will you volunteer to facilitate a teach-in? This means preparing some introductory remarks on a specific topic, and some provocative questions, and then facilitating discussion. Here are some possible topics that the organizers have expressed interest in:
a. The role of unions and worker organizing in democratizing the workplace
b. Attacks on unions as part of the push-back against the movement for economic equity and inclusion
c. The experience of young workers in the labor force and in unions
d. As per the theme of our conference, racial justice as a labor issue, especially for young workers
e. Campaign finance reform
f. Voter suppression
If you can help with a teach-in on one of these topics, or another that you think would be relevant to the themes of Democracy Spring and its “Student and Youth Day,” please email Sarah Laslett at ASAP! We hope that all conference attendees will come to the sit-ins and participate in the teach-ins. More information and logistics organizing will take place at the opening session of our conference on Weds 4/12. Thank you!
Dear UALE Members, The Nominations and Elections Committee wishes to remind you about our upcoming UALE Executive Board elections process.
Date: Elections for a new UALE Board will occur at the UALE Annual Conference business meeting on April 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Eligibility: UALE members in good standing are eligible to run for any seat on the Executive Board. Executive Board members serve two-year terms and are term limited after four years of service.
Responsibilities of Board Members: The responsibilities of being on the UALE board include participating on monthly conference calls, helping with the annual conference, and performing the specific duties associated with a particular Executive Board position. Job descriptions and duties for each Executive Board position can be found on the UALE website (http://uale.org/ under the “Constitution” tab)
Open Seats: There are several positions that will not have an incumbent running for a new term. These are Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President for Universities, Board Member from a Union-Based Education Department, and an At-Large Position. Please note, however, that all Executive Board positions are open.
Running for Office: Prior to the annual meeting, nominations can be sent to committee chair Bob Bussel at . We request that nominations be accompanied by a brief description (150-250 words) of the candidate and a statement of why they are seeking office. Nominees will be asked to accept their nominations before becoming candidates. Candidates will have the opportunity to make a brief statement at the business meeting prior to the election. Additional nominations can be made from the floor at the business meeting. Any contested elections will be conducted by secret ballot.
Voting: Each UALE member in good standing will be entitled to one vote at the annual meeting. A recent change in the UALE constitution provides that institutional members are permitted to cast a vote. The individual casting this vote on behalf of their institution should be identified when they register for the conference.
We strongly encourage UALE members to consider running for the Board. Our organizational effectiveness depends on the willingness of members to assume leadership and help UALE remain a strong and vibrant voice for workers education. For the Nominations and Elections Committee, Bob Bussel, Professor of History and Director Labor Education and Research Center University of Oregon 1289 University of Oregon Eugene, OR 97403 (w) 541 346-2784 (fax) 541 346-2790
Welcome to our new website. The site has been redesigned to be accessible from all mobile devices to keep up with the fast paced lives of labor educators.
After some initial problems, the site is now running normally. Please browse through the site to see the new formatting.
Dear Labor Activists and Labor Educators,
My ask is simple – join the United Association for Labor Education (UALE). Here is why you should do this today.
Working people are under siege! Where do you go to learn and share information about your craft of educating people who work? Perhaps you work in a university or college and teach about worker rights. Perhaps you work in the area of health and safety. Perhaps you represent a worker organization, a labor union or alt labor. Where can you go to share your craft and your knowledge?
Join the United Association for Labor Education (UALE) and learn how we can change the rules! Membership in UALE is open to all persons engaged in or preparing to engage in labor education regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political beliefs. Labor Education programs, unions, worker centers and other organizations engaged in labor education are eligible for institutional membership.
According to Article XIII of the UALE Constitution, any member of the Association in good standing or any committee, task force, caucus or subsidiary body of the Association may submit proposed amendments to the Constitution in writing no later than February 15, 2016. Proposed changes to the UALE By-laws must be submitted in writing to the Constitution and By-laws Committee no later than March 16. Proposed Amendments to the Constitution shall be referred to the Constitution and By-laws Committee for review prior to consideration at the annual membership meeting, which is April 15, 2016 in Washington DC. Timely submissions will be made available to the membership for review by March 16, 2016.
The proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws that were submitted according to the above procedure can be downloaded here: Proposed constitution and bylaws changes
Voting will be held at the annual meeting.
Constitutional amendments submitted by March 16, 2016 shall require 66% of the votes cast. By-law changes will be passed by a simple majority. Constitutional amendments can also be moved and seconded from the floor at the Annual meeting but will require 90% of votes to pass. Please refer to the UALE website for the most current version of the Constitution and By-laws: http://uale.org/about-uale/constitution
The closure of the National Labor College was a sore loss to the labor education community. However, the college’s archives and intellectual property, including curricula, are secure at the University of Maryland. Now, there is an opportunity for programs and institutions to carry forward the value of the NLC’s curriculum, and benefit from its name recognition and legacy.
The Board of Trustees of the National Labor College is currently soliciting shows of interest from higher education programs that share the NLC’s mission and wish to continue its degree and credit bearing programs, either on-line or in a traditional format. A description of the NLC legacy program is noted here: document NLC Legacy Program (17 KB)
Click on "Read More" for further information.
Online Registration is now open for the UALE 2016 Annual Conference, which will take place in Washington, DC. You can register using the "Conference Quicklinks" on the right side of the page.
Or, even better, visit our conference page to see the Call for Proposals, the Call for papers for Labor Studies Journal, and other important information. Nominate a colleague for one of our annual awards. Submit a paper as a student or first-time presenter and be entered in the running for our New Generation Award.
More details about conference schedule, speakers, and other events will be added as they become available.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Building on the success of the curriculum exchange in 2014, the UALE is again planning this event for November 18th, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm.
Location: UFCW offices, 1775 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006
We are interested in brief (15-20 minute) demonstrations of curriculum that may, in actual practice, take many hours to implement. You are encouraged to distribute complete and detailed descriptions of the entire curriculum, but for the purposes of the demonstration we are asking that you extract one small section. This should be curriculum that has been successfully used in the past, or new curriculum ideas in development that you are seeking input on. Each demonstration will be followed by a 10-15 minute discussion.
Students, labor educators or scholars new to their fields, or emerging researchers are welcome to submit a paper to the UALE Executive Board for consideration.
Veteran labor educators and scholars: Please help us identify and encourage newer colleagues to submit papers. Actively reach out to anyone you think is a good candidate for this award including students, activist, interns, researchers and staffers. Authors do not have to be UALE members. Their paper does not have to be written specifically for this competition.For details and how to apply, click on "Read More".
UALE is pleased to continue awarding grants 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. We will select a maximum of two award recipients. The total number of awards for 2016 will be determined by the UALE executive board.
Applications for the 2016 grants are due by January 18, 2016. The recipients will be announced by February 5, 2016. UALE requests that successful applicants present the results of their research at a UALE conference within a few years following receipt of a UALE research grant.
For details on how to apply, click on "Read More"
The Labor Studies Journal invites paper proposals for presentation at the 2016 UALE Conference on “Labor and Racial Justice.” This special issue is co-edited by Robert Bruno, Ph.D., University of Illinois and Alethia Jones, Ph.D. 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
The conference will take place in Washington, DC, April 12-15, 2016
UALE has recently begun an ambitious research project to investigate the political and financial status of labor studies and labor education programs at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.
The project has a very short time line. The first report and presentation will take place at the November 13 Mid-Year UALE meeting in Washington, DC.
"In order to meet that deadline," says former UALE VP Helena Worthen, who is heading up the research effort, "I am going to have to do some shameless crowd-sourcing, which means help from you and others who have been paying attention to labor education."
Please help out by taking the 10-question Surveymonkey survey that you can access here.
Keep track of the progress of this project on our Research Project Page.
The Joseph S. Murphy Institute at the CUNY School of Professional Studies has launched a national scholarship competition dedicated to fostering a diverse leadership in the labor movement and in the academic field of labor studies.
The Institute will award significant scholarships to deserving students: up to $30,000 for graduate students and up to $20,000 for undergraduates. The deadline for applying is March 31. See press release here: pdf Murphy Institute Press Release
According to Murphy Institute Director (and long-time UALE member) Gregory Mantsios, “Our goal is to help prepare the next generation of union leaders, advocates, and labor scholars, and to do everything we can to ensure that the new leadership adequately reflects the diversity of the U.S. labor force.”
The Women’s Caucus of the United Association for Labor Education (UALE) and the Berger Marks Foundation are pleased to announce a new collaborative project focused on assessing current practices and strategically planning ways to increase the impact of labor education and leadership programs for union women. Building on almost forty years of experience with the UALE Union Women’s Regional Summer Schools, related union and university programs, and the foundation’s scholarship and mentoring initiatives the project will gather data on existing programs and convene a conference of 25 labor educators with expertise in women’s leadership development. The weekend retreat will facilitate the intergenerational exchange of information and experience, develop strategies for improving union women’s leadership programs, and produce an on-line source of materials, a summer school coordinator’s guide, and a report on the state of women’s labor education. We are currently seeking applicants for the job of project coordinator. A job description follows.
The tentative schedule for the UALE 2014 Conference, scheduled for March 26-29, has now been posted on our conference page. It is still a skeleton, to be filled in, and doubtless changed multiple times, as further decisions get made. However, the general shape of the conference is there-- so you can start making your travel plans now.
And it is shaping up to be an exciting conference!
Three plenary sessions are planned:
Other features include a pre-conference Labor History Tour of Los Angeles, an action in support of a local labor struggle and a cultural evening.
You can register online (or the old-fashioned way by mail) now from the Conference 2014 page.
UALE gives five awards at the Awards Luncheon at our annual conference. In 2014, the Awards Luncheon will be from 12-2 pm at the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown (California) on Saturday, March 29.
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 vote of the Executive Board. Candidates for three of these Awards are nominated by the membrship of UALE.
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 2012-13. 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.
To learn more, or to submit a nomination for one or more of these awards, visit our Conference 2014 page.
The UCLA Labor Center just launched a new radio show, "Re: Work". Each week Re:Work radio broadcasts stories that rethink work.
The first four shows all feature various facets of the immigrant worker experience.
The first is on domestic worker Ramiro who has emerged as a nationally known street artist.
The second features two immigrant students activists.
The third segment is on the New York Taxi Workers Alliance
The fourth is a conversation between two extraordinary women leaders, one an undocumented student organizer and the other an African American worker organizer.
You can also find out more about upcoming and past shows on the Re:Work Radio facebook page.
The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) invites labor educators, community organizers, organizers based in worker centers, and others committed to worker education to unite together in Los Angeles for a conference dedicated to educating, empowering, and organizing the new working class. UALE seeks proposals on how labor education can contribute to a new labor movement which empowers the new working class. Specifically, we invite proposals which demonstrate how modern labor education can help working people assert their fundamental right to organize proudly, bargain collectively, and work safely in a neoliberal climate which relies on systematic inequality. See the Full Call for Proposals on the Conference 2014 page
UALE welcomes the involvement of students interested in the critical role that unions and related organizations play in improving the lives of working people. And we seek to encourage students to consider the field of labor education as a possible career. We especially invite student papers that address some aspect of the conference theme. At the same time, we are receptive to contributions that consider other issues relevant to unions, workers, and labor education.
Also, Labor Studies Journal has issued a call for papers for a special issue of the Journal in conjunction with the 2014 UALE conference.
THE LSJ Call for Papers, the Call for Student Papers, the Conference Brochure, and other information on our 2014 Conference, "Organizing for Power", can all be found on the Conference 2014 page
While many labor educators debate the pros and cons of online learning, social media and the like, Indiana University Assistant Professor Marquita Walker has staked out a spot for Labor Education in the new electronic world. She has created a Labor Studies app for IPhones and ITunes. There will be one for Ipad later.
The app is entitled "Guide to Labor Studies" and is designed to be used in an introductory Labor Studies or Sociology course which deals with work, workers, society, and social justice. The app has 30 short podcasts and written lectures dealing with such topics as the American work ethic, the unemployment relationship, wage disparities, etc.
UALE is pleased to continue awarding grants to fund research related to workers, unions, and employment policy. Preference will be given to UALE members in determining award recipients. UALE has allocated $5,000 for this purpose. We will select a maximum of two award recipients.
A subcommittee comprised of three UALE executive board members (one union, one university, one community-based) will review applications and make a recommendation to the entire UALE board, which will have final approval.
Applications for the 2013 awards are due by December 2, 2013. The recipients will be announced by December 15, 2013. The total number of awards for 2013 will be determined by the UALE executive board.
UALE requests that successful applicants present the results of their research at a UALE conference.
Click "Research Grant Application" under "Conference Downloads" on the right side of this page to download the application.
Labor Studies Journal has issued a call for papers for a special issue of the Journal in conjunction with the 2014 UALE conference, to be held in Los Angeles, March 27 to 29.
The theme to be addressed is "New Models of Worker Representation". Across the United States workers are engaging in forms of collective action, advocacy and resistance that are at the same time familiar and new approaches. The AFL-CIO, along with its affiliate unions, community partners and allies, is embarking on a deep evaluation of the future for working people and the labor movement and exploring innovations for the future of worker organizing. In the spirit of the labor movement’s embrace of exploratory forms of worker representation and recognizing the activity that is happening on the ground, LSJ invites paper proposals that critically address the phenomena of “New Models of Worker Representation.”
Papers submitted will be considered for presentation at the 2014 UALE Conference. Papers accepted and presented at the conference will then be eligible to undergo a peer review process for possible publication in a special conference issue of Labor Studies Journal.
See full Call for Papers here: LSJ Call for Papers 2014
According to a recent survey initiated by the UALE Online Learning Working Group, both tenured and adjunct faculty in colleges and universities express dissatisfaction with routinization and loss of control of their work when their courses are delivered online. Poor pay is also an issue for the adjunct faculty who usually teach these courses.
This survey, prompted by concern that in all the excitement about the expansion of higher education into online delivery, no one was talking about the working conditions of online faculty, was a project of the OLWG and COCAL, the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor. Sent out by SurveyMonkey during October and November 2012, it drew 132 responses from 36 states and 107 different institutions, ranging from Research I universities to community colleges, private non-profits and for-profits.
Interestingly, union-based online educators do not seem to share these concerns. Another survey of teaching in a union-based environment is planned.
This year’s UALE Conference, which took place in Toronto from April 17 – 20, broke new ground in several ways.
With over 200 participants, it was the largest conference we have had in several years. One of the exciting features of this year’s gathering was the participation of over 50 Canadian labor educators. We also had attendees from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Nepal and Trinidad & Tobago, which gave the conference a truly international feel.
The conference theme, “Across Boundaries: What Are Workers Saying and Doing” was intended to make the optimal use of this coming together of colleagues from different countries, and the results were as hoped. Interactive plenary sessions gave all participants a chance to hear from and dialogue with colleagues from everywhere, and to see both the commonalities and the particularities of each country’s situation.
UALE member Tom Juravich, Professor of Labor Studies and Sociology at the University of Massachusetts and graduate students in the UMass Labor Center have created a soup-to-nuts website on Strategic Coprorate Research that will be a great boon both to unions that want to engage in research on their employers and to labor educators who want to teach others how to do it.
Aimed at both US and Canadian corporations, as well as public sector and not-for-profit entities, this website provides everything one needs not only to research a company but to mount a strategic campaign. The website includes a tutorial, videos, plenty of graphics, and useful links. It's easy to follow, with step-by-step instructions as well as more detailed and theoretical pieces for those interested in the "Why" as well as the "How".
You can get to Strategic Coprorate Research from this website by clicking on "Weblinks" under the "Resources" tab above, and then going to the subcategory "Resources for Labor Educators"
The 2013 UALE Conference in Toronto Ontario, closed on Saturday, April 20, with an Awards Lunch at which several well-deserving labor educators received UALE's annual achievement awards.
Among the honorees were D'Arcy Martin, of the Center for the Study of Education and Work at the University of Toronto, for Lifetime Achievement; and The Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education in 2012. The Illinois Labor Education Program, and in particular Director Bob Bruno and Steve Ashby, were honored for their work with the Chicago teachers Union last year.
The UALE Executive Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the UALE 2012 research award.
The 2012 award will support the research of Cindy Hanson and Adriane Paavo. Their project, "Sustaining Transformation: Building on the Success of the Prairie School for Union Women," will evaluate the movement-building potential of a women's labor education school in Saskatchewan.
Cindy Hanson is an education professor at the University of Regina, and Adriane Paavo is education officer of the Saskatchewan Government and Employees General Union. They will be assisted in their research by the steering committee for the Prairie School for Union Women.
We look forward to having the authors present the results of their research to UALE audiences once it is completed.
In a move that took the Labor Studies Program by surprise, the administration of UMass Boston has decided to “inactivate” the Labor Studies undergraduate degree program at the university effective immediately.
The reason given was low enrollment, but there are other programs on campus with lower enrollments that are not threatened. In addition, the Labor Reource Center operates in the black. And it is unclear that shutting the program will save any money, as all the same courses will continue to be offered for certificate students. This decision closes the only bachelor’s program in Labor Studies in our state and region. It is therefore of the upmost importance that the Massachusetts public university system continue to offer this program.
Please take a few minutes to let the UMass Boston know that you want to bring back the Labor Studies Undergraduate Degree Program.
For details on sending letters of support, click on Read More.
The UALE Education Directors Meeting took place on November 15 at the AFT headquarters in Washington D.C. Thirty-eight educators from unions and universities gathered from around the country.
The agenda focused on critical issues of importance to labor educators. A highlight of the meeting was a video-conference with President Karen Lewis, the leader of the recent Chicago Teacher’s strike, and key members of her team. The interactive conversation was an inspiring example of a powerful labor victory for teachers and public sector workers.
The Labor Education program at City College San Francisco is currently facing a crisis. The program is part of a larger group of programs called the CCSF Diversity Departments (Ethnic, Women's, Interdisciplinary, LGBT and Labor and Community Studies). These programs were created as a result of student struggles in the 1960's, and have been built and maintained by generations of further hard struggle since then.
Now, they are all threatened with cutbacks, consolidation and an end to democratic governance.
Supporters of the Diversity Departments have set up an online petition at:
Out of town supporters are welcome to sign.
If you live in the San Francisco area, you can join their Rally on Thursday, November 15th at Noon. Meet at Ram Plaza on CCSF Ocean Campus.
For background information, keep reading
By Bill Shields
The Western Region UALE meeting on September 14th and 15th in San Francisco brought together labor educators from colleges, unions and workers' centers for two days of networking and presentations. The program was hosted by Verlene Jones, Western Region Representative, and City College of San Francisco's Labor and Community Studies Department (LBCS).
Some forty participants from the Bay Area, Seattle, Portland and Eugene met over the weekend, starting with dinner at Sinbad's Restaurant on the waterfront on Friday night.
Three UALE member organizations: the City University of New York's Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, and the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education, have been awarded a two-year grant from the US State Department advance the field of labor relations in China.
The American universities will partner with Shanghai Normal University's School of Law and Political Science in a multi-level project to develop programs in China ranging from a non-credit extension service to graduate level courses.
Click on "Read More" for a more detailed description of the "Advancing the Field of Labor Relations" project.
"The United Association for Labor Education firmly support the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), AFT Local 1, in their efforts to secure a fair contract that will enable them to give their students the best opportunities."
Thus begins a Statement of Support for the CTU voted on Sept. 13 by the UALE Executive Board. Noting that the CTU has already agreed to work a longer day, the statement points out that the teachers are fighting for the best interests of the students, not just for themselves.
The UALE EBoard urges members to circulate the statement and get their own organizations to pass and publicize similar resolutions
Read the full statement below.
Two UALE members, Mary Bellman and Ruth Needleman, recently participated in a 10-person delegation organized by Witness for Peace to monitor labor rights in Colombia. Specifically, the mission of the delegation, which took place July 20-30, was to investigate the compliance with the Labor Action Plan passed as part of the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia.
Meeting with multiple affected groups and NGO's, the group found "multiple and egregious violations of the plan in the areas of Cooperatives, Collective Pacts, and Violence and Impunity, as well as a lack of response to the troubling consequences of the FTA for women in Colombia."
They point out that the Free Trade Agreement now makes the US complicit in these violations, and call on the US Embassy in Colombia to do all it can to remedy the situation.
A full report published by the delegation in August can be seen here: document Colombia Labor Report
Starting in January 2013, UALE will begin awarding grants to fund research related to workers, unions, and employment policy. Preference will be given to UALE members in determining award recipients.
UALE has allocated $5,000 for this purpose. We will select a maximum of two award recipients.
The deadline for applications for next year's grants is September 15, 2012.
More information and an application form can be downloaded here: UALE Research Award Form
UALE endorses the extraordinary movement of students, workers, families, the employed and unemployed, and people across the political spectrum who have joined the demonstrations called Occupy Wall Street. We agree that now is the right time to protest what Wall Street has done to our society, specifically our jobs, wages, savings, healthcare, retirement, educational system and physical infrastructure. As labor educators, we have studied and taught the realities of growing inequality for many years. We are happy to accept the challenge to our teaching practice raised by OWS and the worldwide movement of which it is a part.