Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

We hope you will join us today and tomorrow for two events with labor historian Jefferson Cowie. Read below for more information on those and other upcoming Labor Studies events, as well as campus labor news, employment opportunities and more.


December 6, 2012 - April 19, 2013

Exhibit: Images of Labor and Social Justice: The Art of Richard V. Correll

Labor Archives of Washington

On-going. Special Collections Basement Lobby, Allen Library North, UW Seattle.

This exciting exhibit highlights new additions to the collection of the Labor Archives of Washington. Richard V. (Dick) Correll (1904-1990), was one of the leading masters of printmaking in the West. Best known for his powerful black and white linoleum cuts, etchings and woodblock prints, for most of his life he earned a living as a commercial artist in the book publishing and advertising fields while producing a large body of fine art in his own time. Correll's themes ranged from landscapes, animals and agricultural scenes, harbors and ships, and music and dance to those which reflected his lifelong concern with political and social issues.

This exhibit features selections from several core areas of Correll's recently donated collection at the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections: Images of labor, social justice, civil rights, anti-war themes, work for the Great Depression-era Washington State Works Projects Administration, and his work for the progressive Depression-era newspaper the Voice of Action.

For more information about the exhibit and the collection contact Labor Archivist Conor Casey at cmcasey@uw.edu or 206-685-3976.

Monday, February 4
& Tuesday, February 5

Talk: Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class

Jefferson Cowie, Labor History, Cornell University

Mon, Feb 4: 4:00pm. UW Bothell, room to be determined. E-mail Andrew Hedden to be notified when the room is announced.

Tues, Feb 5: 12:30pm-2:00pm. Thomson Hall, Room 119. UW Seattle. Introduction and discussion by Jim Gregory, UW History and Mike Honey, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Tacoma.

A wide-ranging cultural and political history that will forever redefine a misunderstood decade, Stayin' Alive is prize-winning historian Jefferson Cowie’s remarkable account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s. In this edgy and incisive book—part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American music, film and television lore—Cowie, with "an ear for the power and poetry of vernacular speech" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), reveals America's fascinating path from rising incomes and optimism of the New Deal to the widening economic inequalities and dampened expectations of the present.

Jefferson Cowie is an associate professor of history at Cornell University. He is the author of Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (The New Press), which received the 2000 Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Sponsored by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, Department of History, Simpson Center for the Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences - UW Bothell. For more information, call 206-543-7946, or e-mail hbcls@u.washington.edu.

To request disability accommodations, contact the UW Disability Services Office, 206-543-6450; 206-543-6452 (TTY); or e-mail dso@u.washington.edu

Friday, March 8

Conference: The Transformation of Supply Chains

10:00am-4:00pm. Forum (Room 309), Parrington Hall, UW Seattle. FREE.

This one-day conference will bring together scholars and stake-holders to discuss the current state of labor supply chains, how they are changing, and what the points of leverage are for making them fairer to workers.

Speakers will include:

Organized by the University of Washington Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing (ACTL) with support from the Office of the President.

Co-sponsors include the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, Evans School, Business School, Law School, and Department of Political Science.


Friday, February 8 & Saturday, February 9

Performance: Call Mr. Robeson: a Life with Songs

7:30pm. Langston Hughes Performing Arts Centre, 17th Ave. S. and E. Yesler St., Seattle, WA 98144. Advance, $20; door, $25.

This one-man show is performed by Tayo Aluko, and centers on the great Paul Robeson, singer, actor, and political activist of the 1920's-50's—and high-profile target of persecution for his political beliefs.

"First rate!" said England's Guardian newspaper of the show. Aluko won awards for Best Actor and Best Original Work at the London (Ontario, Canada) Fringe Festival last year.

The show includes some of Robeson's speeches and best-known songs; the Seattle Labor Chorus and the Sound of the Northwest chorus also are featured.

Advance tickets are $20 through brownpapertickets.com, or $25 at the door; half-price for children. For further information, call (425) 687-3190 or (206) 524-7753.

Wednesday, February 20

Talk: Performing Authenticity and the Labor of Dance

Susan Leigh Foster, World Arts and Cultures, UCLA

6:30pm. Communications Building, Room 120. UW Seattle. FREE.

From the Rockettes to flash mobs, from ballet to planking: how is the labor of performance represented? Do dancers labor when they learn a dance technique? Does dancing transcend labor? Does dancing offer a kind of authenticity that no other physical practice does?

Susan Leigh Foster's (World Arts & Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles) talk focuses on current theories of labor and their applicability to dance through consideration of experimental concert dance and also televised reality competition shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance."

Co-sponsored by the UW Dance Program, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the UW Philosophy Department.

Wednesday, February 20

Talk: Social Security: Preserve It. Strengthen It. Pass It On.

Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research

5:30-7pm. Philip Hall, 1918 Pacific Avenue, UW Tacoma.

Featuring Dean Baker, co-director of Center for Economic and Policy Research and Marilyn Watkins, Policy Director, Economic Opportunity Institute.

Dean Baker, a renowned economist and author, will cut through the political rhetoric on Social Security. He'll talk about challenges and opportunities facing the program, and offer ideas to strengthen it for current and future generations.

Sponsored by UW Tacoma Center for the Study of Community and Society; Pierce County Labor Council; League of Women Voters - Tacoma/Pierce County; Retired Public Employees Council; Social Security Works-WA.

Thursday, February 21

Labor Book Group

MLKCLC Education Committee

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

The MLK CLC Education Committee Book Group will be reading the Introduction and Chapters 1-2 of For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America Since 1865 by Robert H. Zieger. Please come prepared to discuss. Bring a snack and join in the discussion as they start our first reading of 2013!

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

Saturday, March 2

Seattle Labor Chorus Sing-a-long

7:00pm - 9:30pm. Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St., Seattle, WA 98103. $10-$15 adults, $5 children.

The musical voice of labor in Seattle, the Seattle Labor Chorus, would love to have you join them for this evening of music and socializing! It's their big fundraiser of each year, and they need your support and fellowship!

This is a lively annual event featuring community singing of topical songs, along with some golden oldies (words provided). After an admission fee of $10 to $15 per adult or $5 for children, you can nibble on homemade snacks and desserts, buy wine or beer, buy tickets for the Chorus' famous quilt raffle, bid in a silent auction (bring your checkbook or cash), and meet folks.

The SLC is a non-audition chorus of about 40 singers from all walks of life who serve the community in song. They appear at rallies, protests, union meetings and on stages around the Seattle area to inspire and educate in four-part harmony.

For further information, contact Janet Stecher at (206) 524-7753, or at rebelvoz@aol.com.



UAW 4121 members OK deal with UW over student fees

SEATTLE (Jan. 30, 2013) — Teaching and Research Assistants at the University of Washington have overwhelmingly voted to approve an agreement between the Union and the University over payment of two contested student fees. Out of 1,655 votes cast 98 percent voted to approve.

"It's gratifying to have resolved this dispute successfully after so many months of conflict," said Miaoyu Yang, Economics Teaching Assistant and UAW Executive Board member. "Members have continued to be really active and engaged on this issue because they care deeply about protecting our collective bargaining rights, and about protecting affordability and quality at UW for everyone, including resident and international students and employees. This is a great step forward but there's still plenty of work to do to stop increases in tuition/fees." | Read more


Support the Seattle Labor Chorus!

The Seattle Labor Chorus is the musical voice of labor in Seattle, serving the community by singing about issues related to labor, social justice and peace. We appear at rallies, protests, union meetings and on stages around the Puget Sound area to inspire and educate in four-part harmony.

If you haven't heard us sing, here are a few YouTube videos to introduce ourselves. First, is one professionally-made for the NW Folklife Festival; the second two are of us "in action" here and here.

You can support us! Keeping the Labor Chorus Singing takes money as well as time, effort and audiences. You can show your support by coming to our gigs, letting us know about performance opportunities, and by donating to us. We are a 501(3)c organization and your donations are tax deductible. We are not currently able to take donations over the web, but you can send funds to us at PO Box 17961, Seattle WA 98127-1954. All donations will be used to support our ongoing work and pay our director.

"In a perfect world we would wake up each morning to the music of the Seattle Labor Chorus. When the Seattle Labor Chorus sings, you can feel the spirit and energy of working people coming together in solidarity to make our world a better place to live. Music and song has been an essential part of peoples’ movements throughout history. The Seattle labor Chorus is reawakening the labor movements’ recognition that we express our better selves through music and song; that we organize better through music and song; and that singing is damn fun!" - Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO


WA State Labor Education and Research Center Seeks Labor Education Project Coordinator

Deadline: March 1, 2013

The Washington State Labor Education and Research Center at South Seattle Community College is seeking a contractor for a year-long workers' rights project. The position is contingent on funding from the Fetzer Institute, but the process to bring the funding to the Center is well advanced and we are optimistic.

Project Description

The Labor Center has already produced two editions of the Washington State Workers' Rights Manual (WRM). The manual covers all workplace rights at the federal level as well as state-specific statutes and also has a significant list of legal and community resources. The Center has published the manual in 3 formats: an abridged, pocket-size booklet, an unabridged desk-top binder size, and both of these versions are available on-line at the Center's website. The manual has been produced in both English and Spanish.

The Labor Center has been working with the Fetzer Institute to build a case for funding a year-long project with the WRM that would include updating the legal and resource information, editing it appropriately, having it translated into Spanish plus another language (TBD), having it printed, and having the manual distributed to educators, unionists, and community-based labor organizations and activists. However, this time we are taking it a step further. In addition to producing the manual and making it available in printed and electronic formats we want to engage in a curriculum development process to create both direct training materials and train-the-trainer materials that can be used in the K-12 setting, the community college setting, within unions, and within community-based organizations. In addition to printing and posting on the web we also expect to do a significant amount of video production during the year.

The Fetzer Institute is interested in this project because of their commitment to understanding the nature of love and forgiveness and its ability to heal the wounds of social wrongs. We contend that labor law is an example of institutionalized care for working people attempting to codify workers’ rights in such a way that workplace injury and exploitation are minimized and workplace voice and empowerment are maximized. How well those laws work in the interests of workers and employers remains an open question. While a discourse around love and forgiveness is unusual in considerations of labor law and worker organizing , Fetzer believes that there is a great deal to be learned about the nature of love and forgiveness (and the conflicts they seek to address) in better understanding the dynamics of the workplace. Our commitment to Fetzer is to provide them with narrative information on these issues through production of a video.

Contingent upon the funding from Fetzer being finalized, the Labor Center will be seeking a contractor to head this year-long project starting in March, 2013. The qualifications and experience needed to complete the work associated with this contract will be:

  1. Comfort with the law and, specifically, labor law. We don't need someone who has specific legal training since we will have attorney partners to keep us on track.
  2. The ability to do research and teach others how to do it.
  3. The ability to write and edit legal information into plain language.
  4. The ability to work with video narratives.
  5. The ability to create on-line resources.
  6. The ability to work with translators.
  7. Curriculum development skills and experience with popular education.
  8. The ability to form productive partnerships with:
    a. College students and young labor activists (we will be offering internships which the Project Coordinator would manage).
    b. The Washington Education Association and K-12 teachers.
    c. The American Federation of Teachers and community college instructors.
    d. Other labor leadership in unions and labor councils.
    e. Leadership of community-based organizations, especially those working with immigrant communities.
    f. Labor education professionals at the WA LERC and the broader professional community both within unions and institutions of higher education.
    g. Videographers.
  9. The ideal candidate for this contract position will be fluent in at least one language other than English. Languages preferred are Spanish, Somali (or other East African languages), or Vietnamese (or other SE Asian languages).
  10. A commitment to social justice
  11. An activist and/or education background
  12. A true interest in the nature of love and forgiveness and healing the wounds of social inequity

To express an interest in this position please write a cover letter and send a resume to:

Sarah Laslett, Director
Washington State Labor Education and Research Center, South Seattle Community College
6737 Corson Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108

February 4, 2013


Bridges Center Events

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WA StateThe Cultural Foundation of Resources, the Resource Foundation of Political Cultures: An Explanation for the Outcomes of Two General Strikes

Victoria Johnson, Working Papers Series

94 years ago this week, daily life in Seattle ground to a halt as workers' walked off the job in a general strike. In this report, Johnson compares the Seattle General Strike with the 1934 San Francisco General Strike.



Seattle General Strike Project

Learn all about the historic 1919 action on this website, full of essays, images, video and more.



Anna Louise Strong Papers, 1885-1971

A prominent figure in the Seattle General Strike, Strong covered the event as a labor journalist. Her collection includes correspondence, photographs, and much 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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