Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

Thursday, February 20: Exposing Wage Theft

What happens when workers aren't paid the wages they are legally owed? What recourse do workers have to getting their wages back? And what can be done to make employers stop stealing wages altogether?

This Thursday, February 20 on the University of Washington Seattle campus, Harry Bridges Chair in Labor Studies George Lovell will moderate a timely panel discussion on the issue of wage theft.

Participants will include attorneys, academics, and community organizers. | Read More

Labor Studies CoursesUniversity of Washington
Labor Studies Courses
for Spring 2014

In Spring 2014, twenty Labor Studies-related courses will be offered on all three UW campuses. All the courses count towards a Minor in Labor Studies.

For a full listing complete with course details, visit the Labor Studies Minor website.

Spring 2014 registration began Friday, February 14 and continues in March. Plan now and register early!


Thursday, February 20

Panel: Wage Theft Discussion

7:00pm-9:00pm. Parrington Hall, Commons (Room 308), UW Seattle.

Join us for a panel discussion on wage theft, an unfortunate trend that has affected millions of workers nationwide. Panel members will include:

  • Cariño Barragan, Casa Latina
  • Liz Ford, Seattle University School of Law
  • Donna Hart, US Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division
  • Michael Reagan, community organizer
  • Andrea Schmitt, Columbia Legal

Moderator: Prof. George Lovell, Harry Bridges Chair in Labor Studies, University of Washington

The simple definition of wage theft is when workers are denied wages they have already earned. However, the term is used to refer to several systemic and related crimes, including the deletion of workers’ payroll hours, the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, and the simple non-payment of wages, usually to undocumented workers who lack legal recourse. We will hear from a variety of perspectives regarding the successes and challenges of fighting wage theft in region.

Co-hosted by the Evans School Labor Discussion Group, UW Law School SLEJ, and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. Funding provided by the Evans School Organization.

Tuesday, February 25

Book Talk: Robert Self, All in the Family: The Cultural Politics of American Liberalism in Crisis

4:00pm-6:00pm. Smith Hall, Room 102, UW Seattle. Free.

Award-winning historian Robert Self's recent book All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s (Hill & Wang, 2012) is an exploration of how the sexual revolution, feminism(s), gay and lesbian liberation, and the new Right transformed American politics between 1964 and 2004.

Self treats the interaction and collision of these forces as an expansive process that included the multiple gender disruptions of the period: from the Vietnam War's problematic male soldier to the politics of abortion, welfare, black power, and gay liberation.

In between the Civil Rights Act (1964), Watts rioting (1965), and the Moynihan Report (1965) and the Bush-era insurgencies of the 2000s, Self traces the search for new male and female political subjectivities and the contests over manhood, feminism(s), and gay rights that remade liberalism in the intervening decades.

Robert O. Self is a professor of history at Brown University. His first book, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland, won numerous awards, including the James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island. He earned his PhD in History from the University of Washington in 1998.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Friday, February 28

Lecture: The Criminalization of Environmentalism

Will Potter and Jake Conroy

3:30pm-5:00pm. Smith Hall, Room 105, UW Seattle.

Will Potter is the author of the book Green is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege, and his corresponding web site ( http://www.greenisthenewred.com) is the most important source of information anywhere on the way that anti-terrorism laws have been used to target nonviolent environmental activists for surveillance, harassment, and arrest. He also is communications staff for the National Education Association.

Jake Conroy is an animal rights activist who spent 4 years in prison after being convicted of violating the Animal Enterprise Protection Act for using the Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty web site to incite people to commit "direct actions."

Jake and Will’s talk will be of interest to students and faculty interested in the War on Terror, social movements (especially anarchist and environmentalist), and criminal justice/ police/ prison issues. A local tie-in will also be made to the grand jury investigation of the May Day "riot" in Seattle in 2012, as Potter not only covered that investigation as a freelance journalist but has also been an important writer on the use of grand jury investigations nationally to bring anti-terrorism laws to bear on non-violent direct action protests.

Sponsored by the UW Comparative History of Ideas Department, Critical Animal Studies Working Group, and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

Monday, March 3

Book Release: Angela Day, Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster

7:00pm-8:30pm. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105. Free.

Red Light to Starboard: Recalling the Exxon Valdez Disaster documents the Exxon Valdez disaster that stunned the world, recounts regional and national history, and explains how oil titans came to be entrusted with a spectacular, fragile ecosystem. It discusses the disaster’s environmental consequences as well as failed governmental and public policy decisions, and tracks changes that, through opportunities for citizen input and oversight, offer hope for the future.

Author Angela Day spent nearly a decade working evenings and summers around a full-time job and graduate school in order to complete her manuscript. She is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her dissertation, currently in progress, is When the Whistle Didn’t Blow. She lives in Snohomish, Washington with her husband, Bobby Day.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Thursday, March 6

(Rescheduled from Monday, February 17)

Book Release: Jake Rosenfeld, What Unions No Longer Do

7:00pm-8:30pm. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way, N.E., Seattle, Washington 98105. Free.

Jake Rosenfeld's What Unions No Longer Do (Harvard University Press, 2014) examines the consequences of the sharp decline of organized labor in the United States in past decades. Unions, Rosenfeld concludes, are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, and the result is a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.

Jake Rosenfeld is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, co-director of the Scholars Strategy Network Northwest (SSN-NW), and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE), the West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University in 2007. His research and teaching focuses on the political and economic determinants of inequality in the advanced democracies.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Thursday, March 13 - Two events!

Book Release and Performance: Michael Honey, John L. Handcox, the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union, and the African American Song Tradition

3:30pm-5:00pm, book presentation. Communications Building, Room 230, UW Seattle. Free.

7:00pm-8:30pm, performance with the Seattle Labor Chorus. University Temple, United Methodist Church, The Sanctuary, 1415 NE 43rd Street, Seattle, WA 98105. Free.

Descended from African American slaves, Native Americans, and white slaveowners, John Handcox was born at one of the hardest times and places to be black in America. Over the first few decades of the twentieth century, he survived attempted lynchings, floods, droughts, and the ravages of the Great Depression to organize black and white farmers alike on behalf of the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union. He also became one of the most beloved folk singers of the prewar labor movement.

Michael Honey's fascinating and beautifully told history gives us John Handcox in his own words, recounting a journey that began in a sharecropper's shack in the Deep South and went on to shape the labor music tradition, all amid the tangled and troubled history of the United States in the twentieth century.

Michael Honey is the Fred T. and Dorothy G. Haley Endowed Professor of the Humanities at The University of Washington, USA, and was a 2011 Guggenheim fellow. He is author of numerous award-winning books on labor, race relations, and Southern history, including Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign (Norton, 2007). His interviews and writing regularly appear in national media such as The Atlantic, NPR/Fresh Air, The Nation, History News Network, ColorLines, and many other print and digital publications.

For more information, contact the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.


Tuesday, February 18

Panel Discussion: Hospitality Workers Rising: Organizing for Justice & Equitable Pay

4:30-6:00pm. Seattle University, Room C5, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122.

What does it take to make a sustainable living in Seattle?

This event will honor workers who have faced intimidation and retaliation in organizing for a better life. We will explore how employers use the law to circumvent workers' rights, and what workers and their supporters are doing to stand up against that pressure. Workers around Seattle, including at the iconic Space Needle, will share their stories of being on the forefront of ongoing multi-year labor disputes, highlighting examples of collective action and victories along the way.

A panel of community leaders will hear and respond to testimony from workers, including:

  • Seattle City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Sally Bagshaw, and Tom Rasmussen
  • Seattle University Law Professor Charlotte Garden
  • Prominent social justice activists Marsha Botzer and Bob Santos

The audience will engage in a frank discussion on what it takes to make a sustainable living in Seattle, and what next steps they can take to help.

Presented by UNITE HERE Local 8 and the Access to Justice Institute at Seattle University. For more information, contact Jasmine Marwaha at jasmine@unitehere8.org.

Wednesday, February 19

Lecture: "Abajo Los Chinos:" Race and the Public Sphere in Revolutionary Mexico

Jason O. Chang, University of Connecticut

4:00pm. Communications Building, Room 120, UW Seattle.

When the Mexican republic erupted in revolution in 1910 it's competing leaders often used the language of mestizo nationalism to rally supporters. References to a populist mestizo nationalism gestured towards the emergence of the democratic principles of a public sphere. Historians have attributed the success of revolutionary Mexican nationalism to state ideologies of mestizaje and populist agrarian reforms.

However, the history of Mexico's anti-Chinese politics reveals that racism has played an unappreciated role in the creation of a public sphere in which the common good of mestizos became thinkable. Dr. Chang details the ways that racial violence, anti-Chinese organizations, and racist policies contributed to the expansion of mestizo nationalism. This revisionist history highlights the ways that race was an essential technology of state formation that undergirded the transformation of rule and consent after the revolution.

Wednesday, February 19

Lecture: Explaining the Arab Spring: The War of The Cities

Ellis Goldberg, UW Political Science

5:30pm. Smith Hall, Room (205), UW Seattle. Free.

Arabs at the University of Washington is very proud to present Professor Ellis Goldberg from UW's Political Science Department, who will be giving a talk titled Explaining the Arab Spring: the War of the Cities. The uprisings of the Arab Spring were far from uniform. Some were mass mobilizations, some turned into civil wars, and some were rapidly extinguished. While each society aimed for change, not all were able to lead a successful revolution. So what was standing in their way?

Join us on Wednesday February 19th as Professor Goldberg explores the different urban and spatial structures of the Arab countries and their capital cities, and the effect it had on the success of the Arab Spring uprising.

Thursday, February 20

Lecture: The Art of Witnessing

Rosa-Linda Fregoso, Stice Feminist Scholar of Justice

7:00pm-8:00pm. Kane Hall, Walker-Ames Room (225), UW Seattle. Free.

Rosa-Linda Fregoso is Professor and Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies and affiliate faculty of Film and Digital Media, Social Documentation, Feminist Studies, and History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of six books and edited collections, and has numerous articles published in print and online journals, as well as edited collections. A Rockefeller Foundation Resident Scholar, Fregoso won the MLA Book Prize (2004) for meXicana encounters: The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands (UC Press). Her most recent book is titled, Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas (Duke University Press).

Fregoso’s research and teaching reflect her interest in human rights, culture and feminism. Her publications cover issues of human rights, feminicide, and gender violence, media and visual arts, intercultural and transborder feminism , cultural politics and aesthetics, in the Américas. As a member of the editorial collective, Fregoso writes for the online news site, The Feminist Wire. Her research interests include human rights studies, intercultural and transborder feminism, cultural studies, and Latina and Latino Americas film and media arts.

Recently Fregoso served as a visiting researcher at Ober/Com Observatório da Comunicação in Lisbon Portugal, a member of the Scientific Commission of the Observatório Nacional de Violencia e Género in Lisbon, Portugal, an International Research Collaborator with the Red de Investigadoras por la Vida y Libertad de las Mujeres in Mexico and Central America. She is a co-principal investigator of the Interdisciplinary Initiative for Human Rights in the Américas.

A native of Corpus Christi Texas, Fregoso earned a bachelor in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to working in academia, she was a radio and television journalist. From 1977-79, she produced and hosted “Telecorpus,” a daily television-news program, broadcast in South Texas. From 1979-1982, she produced and hosted the weekly radio program, “The Mexican American Experience” for the Longhorn Radio Network and KUT-FM (an NPR affiliate). The Mexican American Experience was the first nationally syndicated radio program on Chicano/a issues to air on public and commercial radio stations.

Thursday, March 6

Reading & Discussion: Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements

Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein

4:30pm. Thomson Hall, Room 101, UW Seattle. Free.

Until the Rulers Obey brings together voices from the movements behind the wave of change that swept Latin America at the turn of the twenty-first century. These movements have galvanized long-silent—or silenced—sectors of society: indigenous people, campesinos, students, the LGBT community, the unemployed and all those left out of the promised utopia of a globalized economy. They have mobilized to fight against mines and agribusiness and for living space, rural and urban; for social space won through recognition of language, culture, and equal participation; for community and environmental survival.

This unique collection of interviews features sixty-seven organizers and activists from fifteen countries presenting their work and debating pressing issues of power, organizational forms, and relations with the state; it provides an indispensible compilation of primary source material for participants, students and observers of social movements.

Clifton Ross is a translator, filmmaker, and writer who has traveled extensively in Latin America and worked in solidarity with its social movements for more than thirty years. His first feature-length film, Venezuela: Revolution from the Inside Out, was released in 2008 by PM Press. In 2005 Ross represented the United States in the Second World Poetry Festival of Venezuela, and his book of poetry, Translations from Silence, was the recipient of PEN Oakland’s 2010 Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence.

Marcy Rein is a writer, editor, and organizer who has engaged with a wide range of social movements and organizational forms over the last thirty-five years, including publication collectives, labor unions, and community organizations. Her articles have appeared in women’s, queer, labor, and left publications from the pioneering radical feminist journal Off Our Backs to Race, Poverty & the Environment. She also worked for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for almost twelve years, writing for its newspaper and serving as the communications specialist for its organizing department.

Saturday, March 8

UW Women's Center Fundraising Gala: Women of Courage: Bridging the Divide

6:00pm. HUB Ballroom, UW Seattle. Individual tickets, $150; table of 10, $1,500.

This International Women’s Day, March 8, 2014, the University of Washington Women’s Center will host our 2014 gala, WOMEN of COURAGE: Bridging the Divide. Join us in celebrating women’s progress and advancement while continuing to close the equity gap, and honor women in Washington State who are bridging social and economic divides in our local and global communities.

  • Silent auction begins at 6:00 p.m.
  • Dinner presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.
  • Dancing and entertainment to follow

Tickets available here: http://engage.washington.edu/womenofcourage2014. For more information, contact Heather Hudson at hzhudson@uw.edu or (206) 685-7570.

Saturday, March 8

Performance: Seattle Labor Chorus Annual Singalong

7:00-9:30pm. Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, 7500 Greenwood Avenue, Seattle, WA 98103. Adults $10-$15, children $5.

SING, EAT, DRINK, and MAKE MERRY at the Seattle Labor Chorus’ annual Singalong on Saturday evening, March 8th, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. And what a way to celebrate International Women’s Day! The event will take place at a new location with plentiful parking, the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, 7500 Greenwood Avenue, Seattle 98103. The #5 bus serves Greenwood Avenue.

The musical voice of labor in Seattle, the SLC, would love to have you come for this evening of music and socializing. It’s the Chorus’ biggest fundraiser of each year, and they would like your support and fellowship. The SLC is a non-audition chorus of about 40 singers from all walks of life who serve the community by appearing at rallies, protests, union meetings and on stages around the Seattle area to inspire and educate in four-part harmony.

The Singalong features community singing of great songs of labor, peace, and justice, as well as some golden oldies - words projected on a screen for your reading comfort. You’ll also be able to nibble on homemade snacks and desserts, buy specialty soft drinks (no alcohol this time), get tickets for the Chorus’ famous quilt raffle, and bid in a silent auction (bring your checkbook or cash).

Admission is by a suggested donation of $10 to $15 per adult or $5 for children, but no one will be turned away. Tickets are available from Chorus members or at the door. For further information, contact Janet Stecher at (206) 524-7753, or at rebelvoz@aol.com.

Monday, March 10

Lunch Discussion: Meet Foundation Cristosal: A Rights-Based Approach to Community Development in El Salvador

12:15pm 1:45pm. Thomson Hall, Room 403, UW Seattle. Free. Please RSVP attendance with Hannah Perls: hperls.cristosal@gmail.com.

Foundation Cristosal is a Salvadoran faith-based human rights and community development NGO that works to strengthen the ability of the poor in El Salvador to act for justice and development as equal citizens in a democratic society. Cristosal’s Human Rights and Community Development Program positions the poor as partners in the construction of development solutions, not as recipients of charity.

Join Cristosal's Executive Director, Noah Bullock, and Program Development Coordinator, Hannah Perls, in a conversation about applying a rights-based approach to development, issues of asylum and violence in the context of building democracy, and opportunities for international exchange.

This discussion will be of interest to students interested in human rights, sustainable international development, public policy, and Latin America; and especially to those interested in studying abroad though international week-long courses and seasonal internships (graduate and undergraduate).

Event sponsored by the University of Washington Center for Human Rights.

Monday, March 10

Presentation: Human Rights and Social Justice in El Salvador

6:30pm 8:30pm. Thomson Hall, Room 101, UW Seattle. Free.

More than two decades after the close of a bloody twelve-year armed conflict, El Salvador has made great advances in democracy, but problems of economic inequality, social exclusion, and violence remain deeply rooted. Salvadorans are challenging these painful legacies on many fronts: as political and social movements winning power at a national level; as communities striving towards their own development priorities; and as survivors demanding accountability for crimes of the past.

At this event, representatives of the UW Center for Human Rights’ Unfinished Sentences project, Foundation Cristosal, and the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) will share their analysis of the challenges facing El Salvador today and insights from years of working alongside Salvadorans for human rights and social justice.

Speaker Info:

  • Unfinished Sentences An initiative of the UWCHR to encourage public participation and support Salvadoran efforts to address human rights in the wake of human tragedy (Prof. Angelina Snodgrass Godoy, Director).
  • Foundation Cristosal A Salvadoran-based NGO focused on a rights-based approach to community development and democracy building (Noah Bullock, Exec. Director; Hannah Perls, Prog. Dev. Coord.)
  • Seattle CISPES Seattle CISPES is a grassroots organization working for social justice and human rights in El Salvador and the United States. A member will speak on their experience as an election observer.

For more information, please contact info@unfinishedsentences.org.

Event sponsored by the University of Washington Center for Human Rights.



Advocates Push For Improved Working Conditions For UW Faculty (KUOW)

KUOW's David Hyde talks with University of Washington professor Robert Wood about why he wants to improve working conditions for adjunct and contingent faculty at the UW. | Listen


Former Bridges Chair quoted about Washington state and workers' rights (CNN)

As resentment builds over the growth of low-wage jobs and a stagnant federal minimum wage, a wave of populist sentiment is inching across the country -- state by state -- in some places leaving higher minimum wages in its wake.

But Washington state, it seems, has remained lengths ahead of those trends, serving as a beacon for workers seeking higher pay, decent benefits, and workplace protections.

And although Washington's recent wage and benefit initiatives have sparked interest beyond its borders, its progressive tendencies are historically rooted and are as much a trademark of the state as Seattle's Space Needle and Mount Rainier.

"It's in our DNA," says Gael Tarleton, a state representative who sponsored the bill for vacation time. James Gregory, a professor of history at the University of Washington, puts it this way: "We think of Washington state as if it's the upper left corner of the United States -- both geographically and politically." | Read More

Bridges Center Faculty Associate Jake Rosenfeld explores the sharp decline of union membership, influence (UW News)

Jake Rosenfeld, a University of Washington associate professor of sociology, examines the far-reaching economic and social consequences of the decline of organized labor in his new book, “What Unions No Longer Do.”

Q. You write that organized labor in the early to mid-1900s was a major factor in promoting economic justice, even for workers not in unions, and led to the expansion of the middle class. Can you explain?

A. By the late 1940s/early 1950s, the labor movement had organized roughly a third of all nonfarm workers in the U.S., including such major industries as auto and steel. Nonunion firms often matched the pay levels and benefit packages of their unionized competitors. Why? First, if you’re an owner of a new business looking for some guidance on how to set pay at your company, you’ll often just mimic what the most successful company in your industry is doing. If that firm happens to be union, then you’re paying union-level wages regardless of whether your company is organized. Second, many nonunion companies wanted to stay that way and a tried-and-true way to stay nonunion was to keep your workers happy by paying them relatively well. | Read More

Bridges Center Faculty Associate Jake Rosenfeld Quoted About Kellogg Lockout in Memphis (New York Times)

“By using a lockout, Kellogg’s is partly taking advantage of a weakened labor movement,” said Jake Rosenfeld, an expert on labor relations at the University of Washington. The locked-out workers’ union — the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union — is small and far less powerful than larger unions.

Kellogg is pressing for what Caterpillar, Boeing and Detroit’s automakers have sought in recent years — to reduce blue-collar compensation packages. | Read More

New UW Labor Studies Publication: "Provoking Preferences: Unionization, Trade Policy, and the ILWU Puzzle"

Former Bridges Center Fellow John S. Ahlquist, UW Political Science Professor Margaret Levi, and labor studies graduate student Amanda Clayton recently published an article, "Provoking Preferences: Unionization, Trade Policy, and the ILWU Puzzle," in the January 2014 issue of the journal International Organization.

From the abstract: "If any group of American blue-collar workers has benefited from the growth of trade it is the unionized dockworkers along the US West Coast. Nevertheless, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) representing these workers is vocally opposed to trade liberalization. We examine several competing explanations for this puzzle and evaluate them by tracing the union's stance on trade over several decades. We also use an original survey to compare ILWU affiliates' attitudes on trade with those of nonmembers with otherwise similar characteristics. Consistent with a model of organizational socialization, the data support the hypothesis that ILWU membership affects the members' revealed political opinions; the data are difficult to reconcile with standard theories of international trade. Our findings indicate that the political support for trade depends not just on voters' structural positions in the economy but also on the organizations and networks in which they are embedded." | Read More

February 17, 2014


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WA StateOn-line Oral History: Fred and Dorothy Cordova

An interview with Filipino American activist Fred Cordova, who passed way December 21, and his wife Dorothy, discussing their years of social justice activism.



One Generation`s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes

A recent documentary, now available on-line, discussing the lives and legacy of Seattle Filipino American fishing cannery union activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, who were murdered in 1981 for their activism.

Written and directed by Shannon Gee, the film makes extensive use of materials from the Labor Archives of Washington.



Ship Scalers, Dry Dock, and Boat Yard Workers Union, Local 541 Records, circa 1930-1996

In honor of Black History month, learn more about the Ship Scalers, a majority-African American union responsible for some of the most significant civil rights reforms in Seattle, WA.


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