Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

Fall 2012 Newsletter Now Available

The Fall 2012 edition of Building Bridges, the Bridges Center's annual print newsletter, arrives in mailboxes this week.

This issue contains the latest news from the Center, including a full report from the Labor Archives of Washington, information on our 20th anniversary events, and more.

Not on our mailing list? Contact us at hbcls@u.washington.edu with your mailing address, and we will have a copy off to you in no time. The newsletter can also be previewed on the Bridges Center website.

Memorial for David Olson scheduled

The UW Department of Political Science is planning to hold a campus Celebration of Life for David Olson, inaugural holder of the Harry Bridges Chair, who passed away September 15th.

The event will take place Friday, November 16 from 3:00-5:30pm, starting in Kane Hall, Room 210 on the UW Seattle campus. It will feature a short program and reception.

Labor Archives Announces Extended Hours

University of Washington Labor Archivist Conor Casey has started working late on Wednesday nights to better serve researchers who want more hands-on help with the labor collections.

Casey will be working on the UW Special Collections Reference Desk from 5pm-7:45pm most Wednesday nights to assist researchers with using the labor archives collections and to help with research strategies.


Wednesday, October 31
Lecture: Labor and the South African Mining Conflicts

Keith Breckenridge, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Time and Location to be announced.

Keith Breckenridge, a historian based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg, South Africa, will give a talk on the recent labor conflicts and state violence in the South African mining industry.

A historian of science and technology, Breckenridge studies how South Africa has served as a global laboratory for forms of biometric government. He has published quite widely on this theme, with important papers in Africa, History Workshop, the Journal of Southern African Studies, Public Culture and anthologies on identification and biometrics.

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

Friday, November 16
20th Anniversary of the Bridges Chair

Keynote: Only One Thing Can Save Us: Why Our Country Needs to Snap Out of It and Have a New Kind of Labor Movement

Tom Geoghegan, author and labor lawyer

6:00pm-8:00pm. Kane Hall, Room 120. UW Seattle. FREE.

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.

Co-sponsored by UW Department of Geography and UW Department of History. For more information, call the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946 or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Saturday, November 17
20th Anniversary of the Bridges Chair

Conference: Labor, Labor Studies, and the Future: The Bridges Chair at 20 Years

12:15pm-4:30pm. Husky Union Building (HUB), Room 334. UW Seattle. FREE.

Marking 20 years of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, a special conference will discuss the accomplishments of the Bridges Chair, the state of the labor movement, and the hard work that lies ahead. The schedule includes:

  • 12:15am-1:30pm. Opening Plenary
    The Harry Bridges Chair: Creation, Evolution and Impact
    The creation of the Bridges Chair as a grassroots fundraising initiative, and its many achievements since.

  • 1:45pm-3:00pm. Two Panels (Choose One)
    Union Democracy and Civil Rights
    A reflection on the legacy of two distinctive, core commitments of Harry Bridges: Rank and File Democracy and non-discrimination/civil rights.

    Youth and the Labor Movement
    A new generation of labor activists is emerging. What is the history of student activism at the University of Washington? What is going on now, on campus and off?

  • 3:15pm-4:30pm. Closing Plenary
    The 2012 Elections and Labor's Future
    A review of the outcome of the 2012 elections, and a look at the bigger picture, including attacks on collective bargaining rights and public sector unions.
Click here to download a poster for the event.


Parking is free on Saturday at the University of Washington beginning at noon.

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. To order, please call the Bridges Center at 206-543-7946 or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.

Saturday, November 17
20th Anniversary of the Bridges Chair

20th Anniversary Banquet & Labor Archives Fundraiser

5:00pm-8:00pm. Husky Union Building (HUB), South Balloom. UW Seattle.

Following our afternoon conference, our 20th anniversary festivities continue into the evening with a special banquet, with food, drinks, and fundraising for the Labor Archives!

RSVP today! Space is limited, so reserve your ticket today. We ask those who can to make a donation to the Labor Archives. However, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Support the Labor Archives! To raise funds for the Archives, we are offering the chance to sponsor the banquet, or place an ad in a special anniversary booklet. For a sponsorship form and more information, visit the Bridges Center website.

To RSVP, or for more information, contact the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at (206) 543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@uw.edu.



Thursday, October 18
Lecture: The Strange Career of the Filipino Nation: Race, Citizenship, and the Dilemmas of U.S. Empire

Rick Baldoz, Oberlin College

3:30-5:00 pm. Gowen Hall, Room 201, UW Seattle.

Rick Baldoz, assistant professor of sociology at Oberlin College, will examine the complex relationship between Filipinos and the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

Baldoz will explore how American practices of domestic racial exclusion repeatedly collided with the geo-political imperatives of U.S. imperial expansion, producing unexpected outcomes and consequences on both sides of the Philippine-American divide. The talk will focus on what Filipino immigration to the United States reveals about the racialized economic and political foundations of American society. The politically ambiguous status of Filipinos, who were classified as U.S. nationals, confounded immigration authorities, resulting in ever-changing rationales about how to determine and police racial and national boundaries.

This talk is cosponsored by the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest and the University of Washington Department of History. | 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

Thursday, October 25
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 chapters 2-4 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

Friday, October 26
Colloquium: Scholarship as Public Practice: Arguments and Claims

Gillian Harkins (English), Kelly Fryer Edwards (Bioethics and Humanities), and Trevor Griffey (U.S. History, The Evergreen State College)

3:30pm. Communications, Room 202, UW Seattle.

What is public scholarship? Who are its publics and audiences? What kinds of artifacts does it yield? What claims can be made about it?

The Scholarship as Public Practice colloquia series seeks to foster crossdisciplinary conversation about scholarship as public practice. The series builds on the portfolio-based curriculum that informs the graduate Certificate in Public Scholarship. It models a method for articulating the significance of publicly-engaged work for multiple audiences, inside and outside higher education. | 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



Bridges Center Faculty Associate Jake Rosenfeld's Research Cited in The Economist

A 2011 study regarding private-sector union membership co-authored by UW Sociology Professor and Bridges Center Faculty Associate Jake Rosenfeld was cited in a September 22 article in The Economist on unions and the 2012 elections. | Read more


Rethinking Marxism: Stranger Economies

November 1-3, 2012

Communications, Room 202, UW Seattle.

This conference, coordinated with a meeting of the editorial board of Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture, and Society, interrogates the nature of the economic by elucidating the workings of economy and imaginations of the economic in its strangeness and alterity. It invites participants to contemplate the strange in relation to economy in all its forms. | Read more

2013 United Association for Labor Education Conference: Across Boundaries - What are workers saying and doing?

April 17-20, 2013

Toronto, Ontario Canada

In a world which sometimes divides us, the world of work affects us all. It is a world in which working people face trying economic times, inequitable labor policies, and systemic attacks on workers and their human rights. Dedicated to progress, growth, and hope for the labor movement, the United Association for Labor Education (UALE) invites labor educators and those who value labor education to look beyond the boundaries we may perceive and come together in Toronto, Ontario Canada for a conference that values workers and worker education.

UALE welcomes proposals for paper presentations, panels, research projects, workshops, demonstration teaching sessions, and other activities which value what workers are saying, what workers are doing, and that generally support the labor movement or contribute to the art of labor education.

UALE invites proposals on topics across the entire span of the challenges facing working people. Proposals may draw from all disciplines and take many forms, including strategic or academic reports; qualitative or quantitative analyses; teaching demonstrations; labor history research, curriculum for adults or K-12; union membership training tools; case studies; workshops; general curriculum design; strategy sessions and performances, music, art, including public art, and theater.

We are interested in what workers are saying and doing as they assert such fundamental rights as the right to bargain collectively, enjoy union representation, obtain education, and remain safe at work. We are also interested in how modern labor education helps working people assert these rights despite economic struggle, systematic inequality and challenging political climates. | Read more

2013 International Labour Process Conference

March 18-20, 2013

New Brunswick, NJ

The primary focus of the International Labour Process (ILPC) Conference is work and employment relations in the context of the broader political economy, with an emphasis on employee perspectives and theory-led empirical research.

ILPC is one of the longest established and best known forums for the analysis of all aspects of work and employment. It has earned a reputation as a cornerstone of empirical research and cutting edge theoretical debate within the labour process and work organization tradition. Every year, the conference brings together academics and policy makers from the sociology of work and employment, business and management studies, human resource management, industrial relations, organizational analysis and a range of other disciplines to discuss and critically assess developments in the field. | Read more


Call for Proposals: Strengthening Trade Unions in the Textile and Apparel Sectors in Haiti

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Deadline: October 15, 2012

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) announces a Request for Proposals (RFP) from organizations with the ability to implement a program supporting trade union capacity building and labor rights awareness for unions and workers in the garment industry in Haiti.

This project will support the goals of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2008 (HOPE II). The purpose of the program should be to educate textile and apparel sector workers and union leaders on internationally-recognized labor rights, including freedom of association, local labor laws, and the roles, responsibilities of unions, including worker organizing and other core union skills such as running union meetings, engaging with employers and negotiation skills.

By the end of the proposed program, Haitian workers should not only be aware of their labor rights, but should also be better able to effectively advocate for these rights via bipartite and tripartite dialogues. The USG funding requested for the proposal should total the exact amount of $297,000 for a period of 12 months. The proposal should include a detailed staffing strategy and should indicate how activities would be complimentary rather than duplicative of other current labor rights projects in Haiti. Successful applicants should have demonstrated experience in providing trade union capacity building in the region, including in Haiti. | Read more

Washington State Labor Research Grants

Deadline: Friday, December 14, 2012

Due to a lack of applications, the deadline to apply for the Washington State Labor Research Grant has been extended to Dec. 14, 2012.

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

October 8, 2012


Bridges Center Events

Other Events of Interest

News & Announcements

Support the Bridges Center



WA State"A World Apart": Union Member Residence Patterns and Political Preferences

Amanda Clayton, Best Labor Paper 2012-2013

In this year's Best Graduate Labor Paper, Clayton shows that union locals have often been able to achieve a higher degree of unity and a militant political culture when their members live in the same neighborhoods.



Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project - Urban Indians and Seattle's civil rights history

In honor of Indigenous People's Day on October 8th, learn about the history of Indian civil rights activism in Seattle.



David Olson Papers, 1915-2008

Shortly before his passing, David Olson donated his papers to the UW Labor Archives. His collection includes materials relating to the founding of the Harry Bridges Chair, Olson's research in labor and urban politics, and more.


Support the Bridges Center

Please support the work of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

Donations can be made to the Bridges Center on-line securely with a credit card, or with a check by downloading our donation form. All gifts are tax-deductible.

For more information, click here, or call us at 206-543-7946.

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