Celebrate labor: Organize MayWorks events

MayWorks, the annual month-long celebration of workers’ culture and history first organized in 2012 by Washington’s labor movement, will be held again in 2014. MayWorks concerts, movie nights, workshops, exhibits and other events are already being organized so now is the time for you and your union to get involved. Here’s how (download a flier with this info):

VIDEO CONTEST — Submit entries for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will conduct the 3rd Annual Video Contest. Participants will submit 3- to 5-minute films with the theme “We Do the Work.” Winners will receive cash prizes (1st-$250, 2nd-$150, 3rd-$75). Submit video contest entries — including the film’s title, filmmaker’s name and union affiliation to Kamaria Hightower, c/o Washington State Labor Council, 314 1st Ave. West, Seattle, WA, 98119. Entries can be submitted electronically via email but must be in a form that can be transferred to DVD for screenings. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 2.

(Check out last year’s video contest winners.)

MOVIE NIGHT — Your union can host a movie night followed by a discussion on issues important to working people. The WSLC MayWorks Committee will be happy to offer movie suggestions.

WORKSHOPS — Host a workshop or labor songwriting/spoken word/poetry event. You could offer a reception/open mic night for performances and invite the community or you could take a group of labor artists to someone else’s open mic night.

LABOR TOURS — Bring a group on an existing Labor Tour, like those recently conducted in Tacoma by the Pierce County Central Labor Council, or create tour of your own!

SPEAKER SERIES — Host a speaker night, series, or reception where the community can hear from leaders about emerging labor issues. The Washington State Labor Education and Research Center staff provide excellent presentations on a wide range of topics related to the MayWorks theme, from labor history and the role culture has played in it, to presentations on the current state of the labor movement including such hot topics as the $15 per hour minimum wage. Plus, educator Mark McDermott conducts multimedia presentations on econ0mic justice and strengthening our economy. UW-Tacoma Professor Michael Honey could make a presentation about his new book, Sharecroppers Troubadour.

CONCERT — Host accomplished and aspiring musicians, and include a speaker on local labor issues. Again, the WSLC MayWorks Committee will be happy to offer suggestions and help you contact performers.

EXHIBIT — Find a venue for displaying labor posters, union members’ art and the work of other local artists.

If you, your union or your community organization is interested in hosting any of the types of events described above, or if you have a unique idea of your own, please contact the WSLC’s MayWorks Committee and let us know. This group can suggest movies, performers and speakers, and help publicize your event. Just email Kamaria Hightower or call her at 206-281-8901.

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