Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

UW mural connects Seattle and Mexico in surprising ways.

Anyone who has visited the University of Washington's Kane Hall can't fail to notice the prominent mural stretching above the main hall way, depicting men and women of many nations working together to build a better world. But many do not know the storied past of the striking painting and how it came to be displayed at the center of campus.

On Thursday, March 8th, join the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, El Centro de la Raza, and others as we recognize this local labor treasure with a lecture by SUNY-Cortland professor and UW alumna Gigi Peterson. | Read more


Thursday, March 8
Bridging Mexico and Seattle: The Journey of the Pablo O'Higgins Mural for the Seattle Ship Scalers Union

Gigi Peterson, SUNY-Cortland

7pm - 9pm. Reception to follow. Walker-Ames Room, Kane Hall, UW Seattle. FREE.

The Pablo O'Higgins mural "The Struggle Against Racial Discrimination," now hanging in UW's Kane Hall, was painted in 1945 for the Seattle Ship Scaler's Union. The mural was later donated to the University of Washington, and after a campaign led by UW MEChA and Seattle's El Centro de la Raza, it was restored and hung on campus in 1975.

In the Winter 2012 issue of the journal LABOR, UW alumna Gigi Peterson (now Assistant Professor at SUNY-Cortland) published a new article on the storied history of the mural, its place in a broader history of Mexican-US connections, and how it came to reside at the UW. Peterson will discuss her research on Pablo O'Higgins and the Mexican labor-left, the Ship Scalers Union, and the mural that brought them together. Reception to follow.

Sponsored by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; Simpson Center for the Humanities; UW Department of American Ethnic Studies; Diversity Research Institute; UW Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality; UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity; UW Latino/a Faculty Staff Association; and El Centro de la Raza.

For more information, call 206-543-7946 or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu

Unemployed Nation Friday, March 30 - Saturday, March 31
The Unemployed Nation Hearings

Kane Hall UW Seattle and Seattle City Hall. FREE.


More than 14 million Americans are unemployed. They are so numerous that they could populate a nation, a distressed and forgotten nation, a nation whose voice has not yet been heard.

We are going to do what Congress should have done long ago. We are going to listen to that unemployed nation.

The Unemployed Nation Hearings, a two-day event scheduled for March 30-31, 2012, will air testimony from a wide range of unemployed people about their experiences. Testimony will be supplemented with the expertise of economists, legal and political scholars, and others.

Friday, March 30
Room 225, Kane Hall Hall
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

Saturday, March 31
Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104

Out of work? Visit our website at UnemployedNation.Org to contact us with your experiences, or call 206-543-7946. With your permission, your story will be shared on our website, and could become part of the Hearings on March 30-31.

Sponsored by the UW Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; UW include the School of Law; the Evans School of Public Affairs; the School of Social Work; the West Coast Poverty Center; the UW Law, Societies and Justice Program; and the Martin Luther King, Jr. County Labor Council. Supported by the Seattle Mayor's Office and City Council President.


Saturday, March 3
Health Care and Social Justice: How we get there, where we came from, where we are

7:00-9:30pm. Room 120, Kane Hall, UW Seattle. FREE.

All are welcome to the Annual Public Meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, Western Washington Chapter, which will feature speakers, music and food. Speakers will include:

  • Amy Goodman, Award-winning journalist, host of Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now
  • Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, Co-Founder of Medical Committee for Human Rights, life-long social justice activist
  • Teresa Mosqueda, Legislative and Policy Director, Washington State Labor Council and Chair, Healthy Washington Coalition

Also on the program will be Rep. Jim McDermott giving wecoming and opening remarks.The PNHPWW Board will award its 2012 John Geyman Health Justice Advocate Award. Bob Wickline and Family will provide topical musical entertainment.

For more information visit http://pnhpwesternwashington.org/, or e-mail pnhp.westernwashington@comcast.net.

Saturday, March 3
Annual Labor Sing-A-Long and Auction

Seattle Labor Chorus

7:00pm-9:30pm. Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103-3720. $10-$15.

Join the Seattle Labor Chorus for their Annual Sing-Along and Auction. Lyrics to great songs of labor, justice and peace and golden-oldies are projected on a central screen so that all can participate. Appetizers, desserts and beverages are provided.

For more information, contact Contact Janet Stecher at 206-524-7753 or REBELVOZ@aol.com. | Read more

Monday, March 5
Where Does Democracy Come From? Popular Movements, Civil Society, and Parliaments in Egypt

Joel Beinin, Middle East History, Stanford University

7:00pm. Room 120, Kane Hall, UW Seattle. FREE.

Joel Beinin is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University and a former President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.His research and writing focuses on workers, peasants, and minorities in the modern Middle East and on Israel, Palestine, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Beinin has written or edited nine books, most recently Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa, co-edited with Frédéric Vairel (Stanford University Press, forthcoming) and The Struggle for Worker Rights in Egypt (Solidarity Center, 2010).

2010). His articles have been published in leading scholarly journals as well as The Nation, Middle East Report, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Le Monde Diplomatique, and others. He has appeared on Al-Jazeera TV, BBC radio, National Public Radio, and many other TV and radio programs throughout North America, and in France, Egypt, Singapore, and Australia, and has given frequent interviews to the global media.

Thursday, March 22
Labor Book Group

MLKCLC Education Committee

5:30-7:00 pm. Seattle Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121. Room 208

The MLK CLC Education Committee Book Group will be starting a new book by John Nichols entitled Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street. Bring a snack and join in the discussion of chapters 1-3 of the book.

For more information, contact Cheryl Coney at the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center at (206) 934-5350 or cheryl.coney@seattlecolleges.edu



UW Committee Puts Adidas In The 'Hot Seat'

Feb. 23, UW Daily. The UW's licensing contract with Adidas is being questioned after the company allegedly violated the university's code of conduct.

The UW's Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing, students, and an Adidas representative met yesterday to discuss if workers will be compensated for thousands of hours of employment, and what that means for the contract between Adidas and the UW.

Members of the committee said Adidas' refusal to pay $1.8 million in severance to workers in Indonesia who make Adidas apparel violates the contract the company has with the university.

UW United Students Against Sweatshops (UW USAS) members and other students came to the meeting to express their concerns. They believe two standards were violated: one, that Adidas allegedly did not achieve "maximum possible compliance" with the UW's code of conduct, and two, that the rights of the employees to collective bargaining were not recognized. | Read more


Book fulfills promise to slain union activists

Feb. 15, Seattle Times. Thirty years ago, two young activists were murdered in Seattle.

Ron Chew tells their story and that of the causes they fought for in a book just out, Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes: The Legacy of Filipino American Labor Activism.

At the book's center is the story of two young men who fought for better treatment for cannery workers and who were fatally shot June 1, 1981, in their Pioneer Square office by members of a gang that opposed their work.

People within the union they fought to reform, and the Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, were implicated in the killings.

Chew knew the two men well and was one of the many young Asian Americans inspired by them to act on their own convictions. | Read more


Second Annual Emerging Leaders Conference - Bread & Roses: 100 Years of Struggle and Beyond

April 13-14, 2012 at South Seattle Community College, Georgetown campus

The 2012 Emerging Leaders Conference and Bread & Roses Project is inspired by the centennial of the Bread & Roses strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912. If you want to know more about that historic victory by textile workers, you can download a description of it below, or watch a short video at http://www.massaflcio.org/node/198811.

Conference activities will start in March, leading up to the official conference sessions on Friday, April 13th and Saturday April, 14th, 2012, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

In the spirit of this important historical labor action, our ELC isn't going to be a traditional conference, but a series of hands-on activities, starting in March and running through the end of May. Those of you who participate throughout will learn how to produce a large-size inflatable display that can be used during marches, at rallies, etc. You will learn how to create activities around the display: script writing and character development, messaging, sound tracks, etc. We will then take our action in to the streets for the May Day March in Seattle. We will also have the opportunity to present it at the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association Conference in Tacoma, and then at the Northwest Folklife Festival over Memorial Day weekend!

Those of you who are not able to participate in the full range of events will still be welcome at the April conference.

Registration forms are available by clicking here.

More information is available through the WA Labor Education and Research Center website by clicking on "Emerging Leaders Initiative.

2012 Summer Institute on Union Women: Registration begins March 5th

July 23-27, 2012 at Sonoma State University


The UC Berkeley Labor Center is pleased to host the 31st Annual Western Regional Summer Institute on Union Women 2012 (SIUW). Sponsored by the AFL-CIO and the United Association for Labor Education, this is a week to honor, strengthen, and support women in the labor movement.

The institute, "Campaign School for a New Generation" will strive towards mentorship, training and inspiring new women leaders in the labor movement. In addition, they welcome community partners that play a major role in building labor/community alliances to join their effort.

In this time of major challenges to labor and economic uncertainties, providing basic skills and vision to future leaders is akin to an "organizer's boot camp." This year's SIUW hopes to bolster union members' training, inspire the young and old, and challenge 'up and coming' leaders to continue their paths.

On-line registration will begin Monday, March 5th. For a list of workshops, registration information, accommodation information, and more, visit http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/siuw/.


Call for SubmissionsCall for Papers: Woody Guthrie at 100 - Woody's Legacy to Working Men and Women

September 7-9, 2012 at Penn State University

The GRAMMY Museum is partnering with the Guthrie Foundation and Archives to create the centennial celebrations of Guthrie’s life and work. Penn State University in State College, PA will host one of those events, a Conference and Concert, "Woody Guthrie at 100 - Woody's Legacy to Working Men and Women."

To that end, we seek papers for this interdisciplinary conference devoted to Woody Guthrie and his legacy. Papers may address any aspect of Guthrie's legacy and influence with regard to folk music, art, literature, rhetoric, philosophy, mediastudies, politics, and culture; labor history; gender, free speech, and class issues; the history of social movements; the global fight against fascism; and/or the work of the many writers, artists, and musicians whom Guthrie inspired and influenced.

Send 200-word abstracts to woodyguthrie.psu.conference@gmail.com by March 15, 2012.

February 27, 2012


Bridges Center Events

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Ship Scalers'There Were Years of Neglect:' The Ship Scalers Union and Seattle's Racial Progressivism in the 20th Century

Adam Farley,
Best Labor Paper 2011-2012

On March 8, scholar Gigi Peterson will visit the UW to discuss the school's Pablo O'Higgins mural. In Farley's prize-winning student paper, learn more about the remarkable union that commissioned the artwork and their contributions to the fight for racial equality in the city of Seattle. | Read more.



Great Depression in Washington State Project

The hard times of the Great Depression changed Washington State forever. Facing our own hard times now, learn how State residents then withstood the hardship - including mass movements of the unemployed.



Labor and the New Deal CollectionLabor and the New Deal

Working people were central in re-building the country during the Great Depression. Visit this digital collection to browse dozens of photographs of the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and more.


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