AFL-CIO’s Tefere Gebre will keynote ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ conference
By SARAH LASLETT
Special to The Stand
SEATTLE (Feb. 4, 2019) — With increased public funding, the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center at South Seattle College is gearing up to offer more education and research services to unions and workers across the state.
Meet the new staff and join us for our Grand Re-opening Celebration & Conference, “The Best is Yet to Come: The Future of Jobs and Organizing,” on Feb. 22-23 at the South Seattle College Georgetown Campus, 6737 Corson Ave. South. Registration is on a sliding scale from $10-50. For more information, click here. (The deadline to pre-register is Feb. 15.)
Who’s at the Labor Center?
Director – Adair Dammann
Labor Educators – Amy Yi and Dan O’Donnell
Labor Policy Researcher – David West
Program Coordinator – Anita Scheer
With the erosion of workers’ and civil rights, and wealth inequity reach dizzying heights, our social and economic justice labor movement needs activists and leaders engaged in collaborative, creative and strategic thinking.
What will it take for us, unions and community organizations together, to not just “resist” but to thrive? What will it take to win? Here at the Labor Center, we believe that THE BEST IS YET TO COME, for our labor education and research mission, and for the constituencies we serve.
This Feb. 22-23 conference offers timely panels and workshops on some of the most pressing issues of the moment. Here are some highlights:
● Keynote Address by Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President on Attacks on Democracy
● Plenaries on Challenges to Solidarity in the Workplace and The Future of Organizing
● Industry panels on jobs and organizing in logistics, aerospace, technology, and education;
● Issue panels on workforce development and apprenticeship, occupational safety, sanctuary unions, and labor policy initiatives;
● Workshops on race and labor, beating apathy, and more!
This conference will feature an exciting line-up of presenters including:
● Phyllis Campano, President, Seattle Education Association
● Jesse Cote, Director of Organizing, International Association of Machinists District 751
● Bill Fletcher, Jr., labor intellectual and international activist
● Eunice How, Organizer, UNITE HERE 8
● Abdi Rahman Muse, Executive Director, Awood Center
● Phil Neel, UW Dep’t. of Geography
● April Sims, Secretary-Treasurer, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
● Nancy Simcox, UW Dep’t of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
● Leonard Smith, Director of Organizing and Strategic Campaigns, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 117
● Karen Strickland, President, Washington State, American Federation of Teachers
● Shaunie Wheeler, President, Washington Young and Emerging Labor Leaders
Additional presenters will attend from:
- 350 Seattle, calling out Amazon’s environmental impact
- Game Workers Unite!
- Chicago Teacher’s Union, recent charter school strike victory
- Ingersoll Gender Center
Minneapolis’ Awood Center is mobilizing East African workers in Amazon’s warehouses. They are calling for Amazon to be accountable to their employees and the communities that workforce comes from, and forcing the retail behemoth to negotiate. Innovative Amazon organizing is also happening here in Washington.
UNITE HERE is pushing for better standards in the hospitality industry with their “One Job Should be Enough” campaign. They are also movement leaders in developing enforceable sanctuary language to protect immigrant workers.
Teachers and para-educators are going on strike here in Washington and across the country – go Red for Ed!
The UW Alliance is pushing for affordable housing and transportation for workers at the cutting edge of Bargaining for the Common Good.
This is just a taste of the challenges and successes the Labor Center’s conference will highlight. Join us!
Sarah Laslett is the former Director of the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center at South Seattle and was a Career Instructor for the Oregon Labor Education & Research Center.