NWU at Labor Education Conference

Indira Trejo, United Farmworkers. Courtesy Brigid O’Farrell

NWU was front and center at the annual conference of the United Association for Labor Education in Seattle, WA, in April.  Labor educators from unions and universities in the US and Canada were met each day by members at the NWU table just outside the main conference room stocked with membership flyers, members’ books, and a display from Hard Ball Press—the children’s books flew off the table.         

This year’s theme was Shared Struggle, Strategy and Success! Labor Education Takes on Today’s Challenges.  Stopping sexual harassment was a major focus in plenary sessions and panels, as well as the threat of a national right to work legislation, unsafe working conditions, environmental challenges, and immigration. New teaching and organizing materials were demonstrated and films reviewed. In a joint session with the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, activist, author and NWU member Bill Fletcher, Jr,  gave the keynote speech on Racial Justice in the Labor Movement, followed by a panel on Fifty Years Since Dr. King and Our Continuing Fight for Economic Justice.

NWU members Brigid O’Farrell and Molly Martin gave a curriculum demonstration for their new Tradeswomen History Workshop: Learning from the Past to Change the Future. Using a Media Presentation and Resource Guide photographs, images, words, and music are used to present the history of women in skilled trades, still just 3 percent, including the legal framework opening these jobs to women, strategies tradeswomen have used, barriers that remain, and new approaches now being developed.  The five-minute Tradeswomen History Video is now available at: https://vimeo.com/247078061.  For the Resource Guide contact:  mbrigidofarrell@gmail.com. For more on the conference see: https://uale.org/conference-downloads/conference-program/file.