Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

Labor Studies CoursesLong-lost letters reveal Americans' response to adversity

Bridges Chair George Lovell to discuss his new book this Thursday, November 8 at Seattle's University Bookstore

In the face of an uncertain economy, indignant citizens demand that the government respect their fundamental rights. Just another day in the age of the Occupy movement and the Tea Party?

No, it is 1939, the Great Depression is in full-swing, and ordinary Americans are writing complaint letters to the federal government in droves. These letters, now held in the National Archives in Washington D.C., are the subject of a new book by George Lovell, UW Professor of Political Science and Harry Bridges Chair, This Is Not Civil Rights: Discovering Rights Talk in 1939 America. | Read more

Labor Studies CoursesLabor Studies Course List - Updated for Winter 2013

In Winter 2013, nearly twenty Labor Studies-related courses will be offered at the UW Seattle and Tacoma campuses. All of these courses count towards a Minor in Labor Studies.

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

Winter 2013 registration began November 2 and continues until mid-January. Plan now and register early!

Labor Studies Courses20th Anniversary of the Bridges Chair - Only two weeks away!

On November 16 and 17th, we celebrate 20 years of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies with a special conference, "Labor, Labor Studies, and the Future."

Recognizing the occasion, the newsletter of the College of Arts & Sciences published an article this month looking back at the Bridges Center's achievements, Two Decades of Bridges.

We hope you will join us Friday, November 16 for a keynote lecture with author Tom Geoghegan, and again on Saturday November 17 for discussions of union democracy and civil rights, youth and the labor movement, the results of the 2012 elections, and more. | Read more


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
Celebration of Life for David J. Olson

3:00-4:30 pm. Kane Hall, Room 210, UW Seattle.

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.

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 unique constituencies represented by the Bridges Center: organized labor, civil servants, and university students and faculty. He will be remembered fondly by them all.

The event will feature a short program and reception. Please direct any questions about the event to Catherine Quinn in the UW Political Science department at cquinn83@uw.edu.

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.



Wednesday, November 7

Lecture: A Crisis of Care and a Crisis of Borders: Towards Caring Citizenship

Victoria Lawson, UW Geography

3:30-5:00pm. Kane Hall, Room 110, UW Seattle.

An internationally respected feminist geographer, Victoria Lawson considers the ethics and practices of care in the global era. Drawing on themes common to both the humanities and social sciences, she explores how human relations have been altered by new modes of mobility, technology, and inequality; how people struggle to provide care and love in worlds that are fragmented by space and time; and how they support one another in an era of growing poverty.

Lawson is co-founder of the Relational Poverty Network and Middle Class Poverty Politics project. A past-president of the Association of American Geographers, she is also the author of Making Development Geography (2007) and serves as editor for the journal Progress in Human Geography.

Wednesday, November 7

Lecture: Gender and Activism in Prison: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women

Victoria Law, journalist and activist

3:30pm. Communications, Room 202/204, UW Seattle.

Victoria Law is a freelance journalist and independent scholar who has spent more than a decade writing about and supporting the struggles of women in prison. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, winner of the 2009 PASS Award and just published in a new, revised edition. She is co-editor of the new book Don't Leave Your Friends Behind, an anthology about parenting and social justice activism. Both books are published by PM Press. | 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

Saturday, November 10

UW United Students Against Sweatshops: Northwest Organizing Training

10:00am-7:30pm. Husky Union Building (HUB), UW Seattle.

Have you felt it? Around the world, students and workers have been under attack. But while university administrators and corporations are looking to make an extra buck or two, students and workers have been fighting back. Now it's YOUR turn!

Join United Students Against Sweatshops at the University of Washington for a one-day organizing training on the UW campus. Any and all students are welcome to attend!

Simply fill out this registration form so we know you'll be there: http://bit.ly/Pn6nLT.

You'll gain organizing skills, strategize around exciting national campaigns, and develop all the tools you'll need to effectively take back power for workers and students everywhere!

Food/housing will be provided by UW USAS but donations are happily accepted!

Questions? Contact uwusas@gmail.com or Morgan Currier at (818) 642-5302. Also see http://uwseattle.usas.org/ or http://www.usas.org for more information about USAS' work.

Tuesday, November 13

Lecture: The Bottom-Up Welfare State and the New Geography of Poverty in the United States

Margaret Weir, Sociology and Political Science, UC Berkeley

3:30-5:00pm. Parrington Hall, Forum (Room 309), UW Seattle.

A half a century ago when poverty stood atop the nation's policy agenda, the federal government launched a remarkable period of institution building. The delegation of federal policy goals to neighborhood-based nonprofit organizations marked a new form of social policy that has since developed into a critical element of America’s anti-poverty strategy. Yet, we know little about how diverse political and organizational contexts influence the formation and vitality of the nonprofit organizations that serve the poor.

This presentation considers the impact of two different types of local variation: 1) differences among metropolitan areas that exhibit distinct regional political and organizational characteristics and 2) differences within metropolitan areas among cities, low-income suburbs, and segmented suburbs. Drawing on data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics and elite interviews, the presentation shows that the bottom-up approach to institution building has struggled to adapt to the new geography of poverty. The presentation concludes by considering how federal policy could better address the local institutional gaps in social provision for low-income Americans.



Op-ed: Who is Michael Young? (UW Daily)

Thursday afternoon in Meany Hall, UW President Michael Young gave his annual address to the UW community.

We were in the audience, along with dozens of other academic student employees (students, mostly at the graduate level, who work at the university as instructors, teaching assistants, research assistants, tutors, and graders) from across campus. We listened to Young present his vision for the UW’s future, which, on the surface, seemed to be a reasonable one: a combination of cutting-edge research, online learning, and community service. He also avowed his commitment to "the retention and the fair compensation for the people at the university." What followed, however, was a shocking display of disrespect for the students and instructors who make the UW a top-caliber university. Members of the university community have the right to know what Young thinks of the people he purports to serve and lead.

In the question-and-answer period, Young responded to a question from a UW undergraduate who asked whether the university would help undergraduates finance their educations if Pell grants were cut. Young snidely remarked that such a scenario might require undergraduates to go out and actually get a “real job.” We were appalled at Young’s insensitivity to the reality that undergraduates face, given the number of our students who work so hard at real jobs in order to make ends meet and put themselves through college. | Read more

Committee recommends termination of UW-Adidas contract (UW Daily)

An advisory committee has recommended that UW terminate its apparel contract with Adidas in response to alleged workers' rights violations in Indonesia.

The Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing (ACTL) comprises faculty, staff, and students and is appointed by the UW president to advise the administration and ensure all products with UW trademarks are produced under humane working conditions. The committee has spent the last year discussing an alleged failure of Adidas to pay $1.8 million in severance to former workers at Indonesian factory PT Kizone. In response to Adidas' decision not to pay, the committee voted to advise a 30-day termination of contract notice to Adidas. | Read more


Prewar citizen complaints to government explored in ‘This is Not Civil Rights' (UW Today)

*Bridges Chair George Lovell will discuss his new book this Thursday, November 8 at the University Bookstore*

George Lovell, UW associate professor of political science, is the author of This Is Not Civil Rights: Discovering Rights Talk in 1939 America, published in October by University of Chicago Press. He answered a few questions about his book for UW Today. | Read more

Universities Dump Adidas Over Labor Disputes (The Nation)

*Garrett received the Bridges Center's Martin and Anne Jugum Scholarship in Labor Studies in 2010-2011*

By Garrett Shishido Strain

For the first time in Adidas's history, the German sportswear giant recently lost a contract to produce university apparel over labor rights abuse. Within the last three weeks, Cornell University and Oberlin College both decided to sever ties with Adidas for its refusal to pay $1.8 million in stolen severance pay from 2,800 workers who sewed its products at an Indonesian factory called PT Kizone. Wisconsin's attorney general and Adidas are entangled in a lawsuit after the University of Wisconsin threatened similar action.

Meanwhile, this week, PT Kizone workers rallied in Jakarta to demand Adidas pay the $1.8 million in severance, just hours before three million Indonesian factory workers went on strike to protest sweatshop conditions. Adidas deserves the lion's share of the blame—the company contracts with 80 factories to produce its apparel and footwear in the country, nearly double Nike's 44 factories. And back in our hemisphere, Adidas's two largest suppliers have been the targets of unprecedented worker protest amid death threats, illegal firings to repress union activists, and ever-increasing production quotas for poverty wages. | Read more

Iconic Memphis photo becomes towering D.C. art exhibit

*This article quotes Michael Honey, Harry Bridges Chair 2000-2004*

WASHINGTON — A block from where Duke Ellington grew up, 17 Memphis sanitation workers, all about 15 feet tall, stare out from the facade of a three-story brick building at the corner of T and 14th Streets in northwest D.C.

In this iconic photograph, they and the ranks of men behind them are carrying posters reading "I AM A MAN" during the historic 1968 strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. within range of his assassin. | 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

November 5, 2012


Bridges Center Events

Other Events of Interest

News & Announcements

Support the Bridges Center



WA StateHarry Bridges, the ILWU, and Race Relations in the CIO Era

Bruce Nelson, Occasional Paper Series

A panel at the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Bridges Center will be on "Union Democracy and Civil Rights." In this paper, historian Bruce Nelson explores Harry Bridges' and the ILWU's record on race.



Harry Bridges and the Tradition of Dissent Among Waterfront Workers Conference

An early initiative of the Harry Bridges Chair was a special conference on the legacy of Bridges and the ILWU. Watch footage of the 1994 event, which brought together brought together ILWU veterans, Pacific Northwestern activists, and academics.



Everett Prisoners' Defense Committee Records, 1916

November 5th marks the the 96th anniversary of the Everett Massacre, when members of the Industrial Workers of the World were shot by police as they attempted to dock in the city. This collection includes materials related to the cases of IWW members arrested that day.


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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