Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

In Memory of David Olson, 1941-2012

It is with great sadness we share the passing of David Olson, professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Washington and the inaugural holder of the Harry Bridges Chair in Labor Studies. David passed away Saturday, September 15. He was 71.

Without David Olson, there would be no Harry Bridges Chair or Center for Labor Studies. David was firmly dedicated to ensuring working people had, as he often put it, "a seat at the table," at the University of Washington. Both through his civic commitments and his charming personality, David brought together the constituencies represented by the Bridges Center: organized labor, civil servants, and university students and faculty. He will be remembered fondly by them all.

Additional Memorials to David

We will honor David's legacy at the Bridges Center's 20th anniversary events in November 2012. Other memorials are also being planned for this Fall.


Saturday, September 29
Workshop: National History Day Teacher Workshop

Labor Archives of Washington State

9:00am-12:45pm. Allen Library, UW Seattle.

National History Day and its state affiliate, Washington History Day, provides leading-edge training and curriculum materials to help educators meet and exceed education standards. Annual workshops help educators learn how to adopt National History Day in their classrooms, while also offering strategies that make history education interesting, exciting and fun for students.

This workshop is free of charge to participating teachers, librarians and administrators. It includes 3 clock hours free of charge and teaching materials. Learn how to use the History Day program to develop students’ ability to find, process and present information and to improve their reading comprehension, writing skill and critical thinking. This workshop is for teachers that are already active in NHD and looking to enhance their program.

Participants may register with University of Washington History Librarian, Theresa Mudrock, at https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/mudrock/175577. Get further information by e-mail at mvessey@wshs.wa.gov.

Thursday, November 8
Book Release: This Is Not Civil Rights: Discovering Rights Talk in 1939

6:00pm. University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.

"George I. Lovell has written a fascinating, important, and page-turning account of how ordinary people in American history have insisted that government take into account and respond to their vision of what constitutes fundamental rights. This is both an instant classic in law and society and a vital resource for proponents of popular constitutionalism." - Mark Graber, University of Maryland

Join us for a special event marking the release of the new book by Bridges Chair George Lovell, This Is Not Civil Rights, a fascinating look at complaint letters written by ordinary Americans to the Justice Department during the Great Depression. | Read more

Save the dates!
Friday, November 16 - Saturday, November 17
20th Anniversary of the Bridges Chair:
Conference & Banquet

On November 16 and 17, 2012, we celebrate 20 years of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies!

On Friday evening, we kick everything off with a keynote lecture by labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan, author of several notable books on labor law and the labor movement and a regular contributor to national publications like The New York Times and The Nation.

On Saturday, a special conference will discuss the accomplishments of the Bridges Chair, the state of the labor movement, and the hard work that lies ahead. Click here to download a full schedule.

Following the conference, our anniversary festivities continue into the evening with a special anniversary banquet, with food, drinks, and fundraising for the Labor Archives!

All events are free. A box lunch is available during the Saturday conference open plenary for $13, with option of chicken or vegetarian sandwich. Must be ordered in advance by Monday, November 12.

Reserve your banquet ticket today! Space is limited, so please RSVP in advance. To order lunch at the conference, or RSVP for the banquet, please call the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946 or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.


Thursday, September 27
Forum: Would the Proposal for a State Investment Trust (state bank) Be Beneficial to the People of Washington?

1:30-3:00 pm. Filipino Community Center, 5740 M.L. King Jr. Way S, Seattle, WA 98118. Free.

This forum will feature State Treasurer Jim McIntire, Rep. Bob Hasegawa, and community banker, Darel Grothaus discussing the potential benefits and risks of creating a state investment trust.

Sponsored by the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO, and IAM District 751. For more information, visit www.psara.org, or call 206-448-9646.

Thursday, September 27
Labor Book Group

MLK CLC Education Committee

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

Join the MLK CLC Education Committee Book Group in reading and discussing the Introduction and chapter 1 of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Come on down and bring a snack!

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

Tuesday, October 2
Info Meeting: United Students Against Sweatshops, University of Washington

6:00pm. Parrington Hall, Room 206, UW Seattle.

Do you know where your Husky apparel comes from?

For fifteen years, students at the UW have been forcing companies like Nike and Russell Athletic to stop using sweatshop labor. We haven't lost a campaign yet.

Adidas currently owes Indonesian garment workers $1.8 million. These workers made your UW apparel. Check out UW USAS to learn how you can put a stop to Adidas' labor abuses. | Read more

Friday, October 5
Lecture: From Rockefeller to Gates: Philanthro-Capitalism, Co-optation, and the Politics of Global Health Agenda-Setting

Anne-Emanuelle Birn, MA, ScD, University of Toronto

3:30-5:00 pm. Magnuson Health Sciences Building, Room A420, UW Seattle.

Anne-Emanuelle Birn, MA, ScD, is Professor and Canada Research Chair in International Health at the University of Toronto (with appointments in international development studies and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health).

Her research explores the history of public health in Latin America and the history and politics of international health. She has published widely in North American, Latin American, African, and European journals and has authored two books, the Textbook of International Health, and Marriage of Convenience: Rockefeller International Health and Revolutionary Mexico. | Read more

Friday, October 19 - Saturday, October 20
Conference: From Civil War to Civil Rights

2012 Pacific Northwest History Conference

Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA.

Registration deadline: October 15, 2012

The Conference begins at 2:00 p.m. on October 19 and continues on Saturday October 20, 2012 until 2:30 p.m. with all sessions at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Friday evening reception and Saturday morning light breakfast included in registration. Saturday lunch on your own.

Highlights include Friday evening reception and book signing event at the Washington State History Museum with Dr. David W. Blight noted author on Civil War legacy who will also give the keynote plenary address for the conference on Saturday, October 20, 2012.

Scheduled presentations include panels on Civil War connections in Washington Territory, Civil War Biography, Seattle Civil Rights, Oregon Slavery and Exclusion, Native American Civil Rights and the Labor and Civil Rights Struggle Project in Tacoma. | Read more

Friday, November 9
to Saturday, November 10
Class: What's Up With Labor Law?

Washington State Labor Education and Research Center

6737 Corson Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108. Cost: $125 per person.

Registration Deadline: Friday, November 2, 2012

Instructors: Labor Center Staff, Sean Leonard from the law firm of Schwerin, Campbell, Barnard, Iglitzin & Lavitt, and George Lovell, Harry Bridges Chair and faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington.

When men and women working in the private sector in the U.S. got the legal right to organize unions and bargain collectively, it was a huge achievement and came only after more than 100 years of struggle. The Wagner Act of 1935 and subsequent state-by-state laws governing public sector collective bargaining rights have fundamentally shaped how we think about unions and workers' rights. We also know that we are living in an era of concerted and escalating attacks against organized labor that some trace all the way back to 1947 and the Taft-HartleyAct. In the past, laws have helped us, and laws have hurt us.

In this class the Labor Center will bring together experienced labor lawyers, academics, and organizers to present on a range of subjects, from recent NLRB rulings and Washington State-specific labor laws, to the broader question of how to use the law as a pillar of your union building program, without relying on it as a crutch!

Bring your legal questions and your passion for the labor movement to this class and let's see how we use the law as a tool.

For more information, contact the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center at (206) 934-5382 or sarah.laslett@seattlecolleges.edu



Upcoming deadline for WA State Labor Research Grants

Deadline: September 28, 2012

Due to a lack of applications, the deadline to apply for the Washington State Labor Research Grant has been extended to Sept. 28, 2012.

The grant provides $7,500 to UW faculty members for projects related to labor and policy in our state. | Read more



Call for Papers: Union power and effectiveness in the global economy

Labor Studies Journal Stream
International Labour Process Conference
March 18-20, 2013
Rutgers University, New Jersey

Deadline: October 30, 2012

Unions have been facing dramatic and ongoing challenges in recent years.The global economic crisis, political upheavals, and attacks on the right to organize and bargain collectively have occurred in a context of declining unionization rates in many countries.We call for paper that address the following questions or related topics:

  • What defines an effective and powerful union in the current global economy?How has this changed over time? How is it different in different parts of the world?
  • What are contemporary union goals?What should they be? What is the balance between representing union members and representing working people in general? What is the balance between representing current members and organizing new ones?
  • How are union goals and union power influenced by national culture and national laws?
  • How is union power changing in countries that are experiencing major political changes (e.g., the Arab Spring), major economic crises (e.g. Greece and the Southern E.U.), and/or long-term political attacks (e.g., U.S.)
  • In what ways can union cooperation with non-union groups (e.g., Occupy, anti-sweatshop groups, cross-border solidarity groups) make a union more powerful?
  • What other forms of worker representation are effective? What is the relationship between those forms and traditional unions?
  • Does having a "leadership that looks like the membership" make a union more effective?
  • Are there internal organizational practices that make some unions more powerful and effective?
  • Are global unions necessary to counter global corporations?Is it possible to create a truly global union, in contrast with a global coalition of unions?What are the necessary conditions?

Papers selected for this stream will be presented at the conference, hosted by Rutgers University, 18-20 March 2013. Following the conference, papers will be submitted to the Labor Studies Journal peer-review process for possible inclusion in a special issue.

Abstract submissions are due October 30, 2012.Find more information and submit your abstract at http://www.ilpc.org.uk.

September 24, 2012


Bridges Center Events

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Support the Bridges Center



WA StateState Austerity Measures and the New Challenge to Collective Bargaining

Christopher Stockwell, Best Labor Paper 2012-2013

In this year's Best Undergraduate Labor Paper, Stockwell examines the current wave of austerity measures and attempts to crush public sector unions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Washington.



Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project - Interview with Aaron Dixon

An oral history interview with Aaron Dixon, co-founder of the Seattle Black Panther Pary, whose memoir has just been published.



American Federation of Teachers Local 200 Photograph Collection

As a teacher's strike in Chicago makes national news, revisit the history of Washington State's teacher's unions.


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