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Organizing for Power and Worker's Rights in the 21st Century

The University of Maryland's Center for the History of the New America to host symposium

On March 5, 2015, the Center for the History of the New America at the University of Maryland will host a symposium exploring workers and organizing in the twenty-first century.  Attacks on the freedom to organize in the last several decades have created new challenges for working people. New creative approaches have consequently emerged in sectors across the economy such as in domestic care, fast food, big box merchandising, etc. This symposium seeks to examine all those areas while also placing them within the context of a rapidly globalizing environment. Important questions to be addressed include: what are the most effective strategies for organizing and supporting working people today and in the future? How might we support a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between the workers’ centers that have emerged around the nation and the organized labor movement? Given the importance of immigrant workers to the 21st century political economy, how might we more fully integrate an understanding of global capital flows and outsourcing into our assessment of the challenges of labor organizing?

Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, will present a keynote address.  The symposium will be convened by Dr. Julie Greene and Dr. Ira Berlin (Professors of History at the University of Maryland) and will be coordinated with the annual meeting of the Southern Labor Studies Association in Washington, D.C. on March 6-8, 2015.

The symposium will include two panels: “Building the 21st Century Labor Movement” is designed to assess the efficacy of current organizing strategies in areas such as fast food and Walmart, and help point us towards creative approaches for labor movements more generally.  “Global Flows: Immigrants, Globalization, and the New Political Economy” will focus on interconnections between migration into the US and outsourcing and capital mobility globally.

Learn more about the symposium