The ongoing assault by the right wing against the middle class continues unabated, both in Wisconsin and around the country. Public employee unions are getting the most press right now because of Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s attempt to curtail their collective bargaining rights. But there are many other fronts in this conflict, including Congressional attempts at defunding consumer protection (EPA, USDA, etc….see here for more details), the frontal assault on Planned Parenthood (which is about much more than the tiny portion of their activities connected to abortion), repealing Child Labor laws, and even the enactment of State laws making it a felony to photograph a farm (aimed at protecting illegal practices on industrial farms from exposure).
As the San Diego Daily Fishwrap (also known as the Union-Tribune) proved over the weekend by not deeming a peaceful rally attended by 1000 people, featuring speeches by popularly elected officials worthy of even a mention, one of the key tactics in play here is a deliberate attempt by the mass media to downplay the fact that there are lots of people who really don’t like what’s going on. So it’s important that people find other ways to communicate with each other.
The folks at San Diego City College have put together (way before all this hubbub started) a terrific opportunity for advocates of change to meet, mingle, network and educate with a day long conference this coming Friday, March 4th. Entitled “Labor and Community in Times of Crisis” and sponsored by Labor Notes, this event offers workshops and speakers covering a variety of topics.
Labor Notes is a network of rank-and-file members, local union leaders, and labor activists who know the labor movement is worth fighting for. They encourage connections between workers in different unions, workers centers, communities, industries, and countries to strengthen the movement—from the bottom up. Registration is $10 (including lunch!) and free parking has been arraigned. Go here for more details
Schedule of Events:
9:00-9:30 AM Registration
** Greeting and “Lessons from Labor History: Bread and Butter versus Social Justice Unionism” (B103)
Discussion with Jim Miller, Professor of Labor Studies, San Diego City College, Political Action/Community Outreach Vice President, American Federation of Teachers Local 1931
This panel will address the history of the American Labor Movement with an eye toward the future. From the Knights of Labor in the populist era to the IWW at the turn of the century, the CIO in the 1930s, and the Memphis Sanitation Strike and the UFW in the late 1960s, the labor movement has always been strongest when it fought for the rights of all workers regardless of race, gender, profession, or union status. What scholars call “social movement unionism” or “social justice unionism” holds the key for survival and success labor and working peoples’ movements in the 21st Century.
** Greeting and “Maquiladora Workers’ Struggles and Cross-Border Solidarity” (B203)
Panel Facilitator: Enrique Davalos, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, San Diego City College, AFT Local 1931. Panel Participants: Alberto Rios, Cristina Diaz and Lidia Gutiérrez, Club CAFÉ City College; David Schmidt, CAFE, San Diego; Herb Shore, San Diego Maquiladora Workers Solidarity Network; Margarita Avalos, Collective Ollin Calli, Tijuana Sarina Sanchez; Nancy Cruz, Student Worker Front, UCLA
In this panel, the speakers will explore the current situation of the maquiladora workers’ struggles in Tijuana and the border area as well as some experiences of cross-border solidarity.
Luchas de los y las trabajadoras de la maquila y la solidaridad transfronteriza (B203)
Facilitador: Enrique Davalos, Estudios Chicanas/os City College
Participantes: Alberto Rios, Cristina Diaz and Lidia Gutiérrez, Club CAFÉ City College; David Schmidt, CAFE, San Diego; Herb Shore, Red en SD en Solidaridad con los y las Trabajadoras de la Maquila; Margarita Avalos, Collectivo Ollin Calli, Tijuana Sarina Sanchez; Nancy Cruz, Frente Estudiantil Laboral, Univ de California en Los Angeles
En este panel, los y las oradoras explorarán la situación actual de las luchas en las maquilas en Tijuana y la frontera y algunas experiencias de solidaridad transfronteriza.
**“Women in Labor” (B103)
Panel Chair: Kelly Mayhew, City College Labor Studies Coordinator, AFT Local 1931
Panel Participants: Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council; Camille Zombro, San Diego Education Association; Jennifer Badgeley, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and Geri Jenkins, California Nurse’s Association
This panel will focus on women’s relationship to Labor as women workers. What affects women workers in particular? What are their roles in unions? How do women mentor new leaders? How is the economic downturn effecting women workers? These and many other questions will be addressed.
** “Immigrant Labor Rights” (B203)
Panel Chair: Justin Akers Chacon, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, San Diego City College, AFT Local 1931
This panel will discuss a wide range of issues with regard to immigrants’ rights and labor.
ACTIVIST LUNCH (provided) in D121 (Faculty-Staff Lounge)
“Making Change at Walmart”
Panel Chair: German Ramirez, Organizing Director, United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 135
Panel Participants: Silvia Fabela, UFCW International Union and Hevily Ambriz-Espinosa, UFCW Organizer
**“Social Justice Work in San Diego” (B103)
Roundtable Discussion with: Rabbi Laurie Coskey and Elizabeth Maldonado, Interfaith Committee on Worker Justice; Susan Duerkson, Center on Policy Initiatives; Peter Zschiesche and Alor Calderón, Employee Rights Center.
This panel will address ICWJ’s faith-based organizing campaigns, CPI’s anti-privatization efforts, and the ERC’s work to aid non-union workers fighting for their rights in the workplace and community at large.
** “Labor and the Environment” (B203)
Panel Chair: Jennifer Badgley, IBEW
This panel will discuss the impact of Sempra Energy’s cross-border transmission line on workers and the environment on both sides of the border and other pressing issues.
** “Student Activism” (B103)
Panel Chair: Larissa Dorman, Professor of Political Science, San Diego City College, AFT Local 1931
Panel Participants: Jose Rodriguez, Cody McCormack, Sasha Marie, Allie Tarantino, Kallie Sandtrom.
This panel will discuss the host of actions taking place on college campuses throughout the San Diego area with representatives from City, Mesa, Cuyamaca, Grossmont, SDSU and UCSD. The goal of the panel is to create solidarity among student groups and share tactics that have proven to be helpful in organizing students specifically around the issue of budget cuts. Additionally, there will be a short brainstorming session to produce a vision of how we can create a stronger, more cohesive movement in San Diego utilizing community and union relationships.
** “The California Budget Crisis and Its Impact on the Economy, the Public Sector, and the Community” (B103)
Roundtable Discussion with: Fred Glass, Communications Director, California Federation of Teachers, AFT 2121, San Francisco; Mathew Kostrinsky, Assistant Political Director, United Domestic Workers of America; Dave Lagstein, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), San Diego
This panel will address the stark realities of the current California budget crisis and how they impact the public sector and our communities with an eye toward solutions.
** Rank and File Speak-Out (B203)
Roundtable Chair: Tony Perez, Teamsters Local 542. Panelists: Jeff Graves, union steward SEIU 221; Michael Anderson NABET CWA Local 54; Lucilia Conde, President, San Diego Pride at Work; David Guiterrez, Shop Steward, Teamsters Local 542.
This roundtable will deal with a wide range of issues including organizing tactics, politicizing the workplace, pride at work, and rank and file democracy.
** “Education ‘Reform’ in San Diego and the Nation at Large” (B103)
Roundtable Discussion with: Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified School District Board President; Bill Freeman, SDEA President; Cindy Martin, Principal, Central Elementary School, San Diego; Jonathan McLeod, AFT Local 1931; Sandy Mattson, Parent McKinley Elementary
This panel will deal with the top-down corporate reform trends both nationwide and here in San Diego with particular attention paid to an upcoming ballot initiative that would end democratically elected school boards as we know them. Panelists will both outline the issues and discuss how community based reform and labor-community alliances hold the key to a brighter future for all.
** Closing Remarks: Labor and Community in Times of Crisis (B103)
Doug Moore, Executive Director, United Domestic Workers of America; Josh Pechthalt, United Teachers of Los Angeles