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Labor education campaign gains momentum — Contribute!

Earlier this year, the Washington State Labor Council launched a three-year fundraising campaign (2011-13) to support the state’s labor education efforts, which play a critical role in strengthening and building the labor movement. The campaign benefits two innovative, effective institutions: the Washington State Labor Education & Research Center and the Labor Archives of Washington State.

To date, unions and individuals have contributed more than $75,000 in 2011 with pledges to match those donations in each of the coming two years, which is nearly 40% of the campaign’s $200,000 goal.

“I want to thank all those unions and individuals who have contributed so far to building our Labor Center and the Labor Archives,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. “Corporations and the political right want to silence our voices, but we won’t let them. Every dollar we invest in educating our members and the wider public about working-class issues, creates a huge return in strengthening the labor movement. I would like to see every local union, every labor council, every union member and every labor movement ally contribute whatever they can to build our labor education infrastructure. Let’s invest in ourselves!

TAKE A STAND! Support Washington’s labor education institutions and “invest in ourselves” by making an individual or organizational pledge/contribution. Download the campaign brochure, which includes a pledge form unions and individuals. If your union hasn’t already made a contribution to the campaign, ask your executive board to consider doing so!

The organizations and firms have made contributions to this critical campaign so far include (in alphabetical order): AFGE Local 3937, AFT Washington, ATU Local 1015, Cline & Associates, IATSE Local 15, IATSE Local 93, IBEW Local 77, IBEW Local 191, Lewiston-Clarkston County Labor Council, Machinists District 751, Machinists District Lodge 1351, Musicians Local 76-493, NALC Branch 79, OPEIU Local 8, Operating Engineers Local 302, Pacific NW Newspaper Guild, Pierce County Central Labor Council, Rosen Law Firm, Thurston-Lewis-Mason Counties Labor Council, UFCW Local 1439, WFSE Council 28, WFSE Local 1326, and of course, the Washington State Labor Council. In addition, many individuals have made generous contributions.

Amid budget cuts and efforts by right-wing foundations to defund labor education programs, these contributions are essential to help maintain staffing levels and important training programs that all unions need. Programs like the Labor Education & Research Center’s second Emerging Leaders Conference, which will be Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the South Seattle Community College. (Registration open until Oct. 14. For more information, click here and look on the “Emerging Leaders Initiative” page. For questions, contact Cheryl Coney at 206-934-5380.)

The Washington State Labor Education & Research Center is at the Georgetown campus of the South Seattle Community College, but works throughout the state to provide trainings and classes for and about working people. Its mission is to collaborate with unions and community members in designing programs that will help them develop the skills, confidence, and knowledge to become more effective leaders, staff, and rank-and-file activists.

“Working with the Labor Center on our Rank & File School has been a valuable asset for our Regional Council in helping our affiliates meet the educational needs of their members,” said Lynda Evans of the Spokane Regional Labor Council. “Although based in Seattle, the WA LERC is serious about providing educational service to labor throughout the state.”

The Labor Archives of Washington State was founded to preserve the records of working people and their unions and to serve as a center for historical research, ensuring that new generations have access to the rich labor history of the region. A collaborative project of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries, funding for the Labor Archives comes largely from the labor movement. (Watch an excellent KING-TV feature story about the Labor Archives that aired earlier this month.)

“The Labor Archives has been very supportive of my local union’s efforts to preserve its membership’s history by offering a helping hand in preserving our hard-fought history,” said Brian Earl, President of GCC/IBT Local 767M.

The WSLC passed a resolution at its May 10 meeting to launch the funding campaign with a goal of raising $200,000 a year in each of the next three years. For its part, the WSLC has contributed $20,000 and will do so again in 2012 and 2013 “to help build our labor education infrastructure.”

Download the campaign brochure, which includes a pledge form unions and individuals. For more information about these institutions contact:

Washington State Labor Education & Research Center
Director Sarah Laslett — — 206-764-5382

Labor Archives of Washington State
Labor Archivist Conor Casey — — 206-685-3976

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