The 2014 Labor Notes Conference Educates and Energizes Worldwide Labor Activists

By Kahn, Nathan | International Musician, May 2014 | Go to article overview

The 2014 Labor Notes Conference Educates and Energizes Worldwide Labor Activists


Kahn, Nathan, International Musician


Labor Notes is a Detroit-based media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to "put the movement back in the labor movement" since 1979. Through their magazine, website, books, conferences, and workshops, they promote organizing, aggressive strategies to fight concessions, alliances with workers' centers, and unions that are run by their members. They encourage connections between workers in different unions, workers centers, communities, industries, and countries to strengthen the movement. More information can be obtained at www.labornotes.org.

AFM Local 24 (Akron, OH) Secretary-Treasurer and ROPA Conference Delegate Todd Jelen and I were fortunate to attend the 2014 Labor Notes Conference, held April 4-6 in suburban Chicago. Approximate 2,000 labor activists from all over the world gathered there to learn, connect, share, and re-energize from training specialists, speakers, labor educators, and their many colleagues. The international unions represented were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Hong Kong, India, Germany, Iran, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, as well as from all 50 US states.

There was such a huge menu of extremely valuable educational sessions offered that it was difficult to choose. I attended New Innovations in Social Media for Unions and Campaigns, Concessionary Bargaining, Advanced Bargaining Tactics, What Arbitrators Really Think, and Beating Apathy sessions, among others. The Social Media session was particularly intriguing as it outlined innovative methods for contract, organizing, and other labor campaigns that employ Facebook, Twitter, and combinations thereof. …

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