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UW Harry Bridges Center conference Nov. 16-17

SEATTLE (Nov. 6) — Today, voters will decide on a host of issues and candidates for the 2012 elections. At the center of many campaign and initiative efforts are the rank-and-file members of labor unions, who are going door to door, phone banking, and getting out the vote.

Labor’s role in the outcomes of these elections will be among the topics under discussion at an upcoming conference being held Nov. 16-17 at the Seattle campus of the University of Washington, “Labor, Labor Studies and the Future.” This free event marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, an institution founded at the UW in 1992.

Opening the conference on Friday evening, Nov. 16 is a special keynote address by Tom Geoghegan, a noted author and frequent contributor to national publications such as The New Republic, The New York Times, Slate and The Daily Beast, and a regular commentator on cable news programming. It will be at 6 p.m. in UW’s Kane Hall, Room 120.

Is the labor movement in need of revitalization? More importantly, are there real solutions to be found in the labor community to the crises affecting American government in recent times? Geoghegan plans to address these and other questions drawn from his forthcoming book, Why Our Country Needs to Snap Out of It and Have a New Kind of Labor Movement. In a style The New York Times calls “quirky, brilliant, and inspiring,” Geoghegan explores how a new labor movement is the solution to many of the country’s most pressing issues including increasing inequality, the falling middle class, and corporate dominance.

The conference continues Saturday, Nov. 17 from 12:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Husky Union Building (HUB) on the UW Seattle Campus. Panels will address a range of pressing economic and political topics. A box lunch is available during the Saturday open plenary for $13, with option of chicken or vegetarian sandwich. Must be ordered in advance by Monday, Nov. 12. To order, please call the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946 or e-mail

Saturday will begin with a panel discussion appraising the accomplishments UW’s Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies since its unique founding by a grassroots fundraising campaign in the early 1990s. Subsequent sessions bring together labor union veterans and up and coming activists to discuss “Union Democracy and Civil Rights” and “Youth and the Labor Movement.”

The closing plenary of the conference, “The 2012 Elections and Labor’s Future,” features officials from the M.L. King County Labor Council and Washington State Labor Council and Political Science faculty from the University of Washington, who will discuss the outcome of the elections and their impact on the future activities of labor unions.

Following the conference, the Bridges Center anniversary festivities continue into the evening with food, drinks, and fundraising for the Labor Archives at the 20th Anniversary Celebration Banquet from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Husky Union Building’s South Ballroom. Space is limited, so please RSVP in advance by contacting the Bridges Center at (206) 543-7946 or

See the full conference schedule here.

About the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington — After a fundraising campaign involving more than 1,000 organizations and individuals, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies was established in 1992 to encourage the study of work, workers, and their organizations. Today, the Bridges Center is recognized as a preeminent site for rigorous academic study, education, and outreach. Bringing together faculty, students, and the labor community, the Bridges Center regularly hosts conferences, public lectures and other events – from a groundbreaking conference in 1995 on the global economy to the “Unemployed Nation Hearings” in 2012 that spurred hearings on the subject of unemployment in the Washington State Legislature. It has also extensively supported students and faculty through scholarships, fellowships and grants, now awarding more than $50,000 in tuition and research support each year. Learn more at

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