Annual Meeting

Every year, the Labor and Working-Class History Association organizes or helps to organize a conference about labor and working-class history. Our past programs have featured scholars, activists, students, workers, journalists, and more in an effort to bring a diversity of those interested in the history of working people together across disciplines, borders, and professions.


Because of the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, the biennial conference of LAWCHA, 2021 Workers on the Front Lines will be delivered in a virtual format. The conference’s events will take place between May 21 and May 28, with conference sessions convening on Friday and Saturday, May 21-22 and Thursday and Friday, May 27-28.

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2019: Durham, North Carolina

The Labor and Working-­Class History Association, an organization of scholars, teachers, students, labor educators and activists, welcomes proposals for the 2019 LAWCHA conference at Duke University in Durham, NC, May 30-­June 1. The conference theme will be Workers on the Move, Workers’ Movements.

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2017: Seattle, Washington

Our 2017 annual meeting will take place in Seattle, June 23-25, at the University of Washington. This gives us a chance to visit the left coast city where labor have been winning important victories and pioneering new strategies. And late June is a great time to see the Pacific Northwest. Stay after the conference and explore Seattle and the mountains, islands, and waterways of Puget Sound.

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2016: With the OAH in Rhode Island

LAWCHA will be at the OAH in April of this year, in Providence, Rhode Island. We have a plethora of sponsored panels and events.

Thursday. April 7: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
LAWCHA board meeting
Bristol Room, Omni Hotel

Friday, April 8: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
LAWCHA Wine and Beer Reception
Room 557

Saturday, April 9: 12:20 pm – 1:50 pm
LAWCHA Awards Luncheon and Membership Meeting
Room: Ballroom B

Saturday, April 9: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Contemporary and Historical Labor Tour followed by light dinner at Trinity Brewhouse (register for this with conference registration)

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2015: Fighting Inequality: Class, Race, and Power

Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association. Economic inequality, while long a challenge for working-class people, has grown and become increasingly central in public life. It has been a theme in struggles for justice for low-wage workers and has shaped policies related to education, housing, health care, and the right to organize.

Fifty years after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, even access to the most basic democratic right faces new threats. We see concern with inequality growing in religious institutions, and it has been a theme in the media and the arts, as well — in spoken-word poetry about the link between mass incarceration and slavery, in documentaries about individuals and communities struggling to “recover” from economic restructuring, and in a variety of commentaries and reflections.

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2014: With the OAH in Atlanta

LAWCHA has two main events at this year’s OAH. We encourage all LAWCHA members to attend the public Friday night activist plenary organized by Bethany Moreton, which will also have a buffet and wine. Please also keep an eye out for the 15 exciting LAWCHA-co-sponsored panels organized by program committee member Monica Perales. Many thanks to Monica and Eileen Boris, who have done a fabulous job ensuring our visibility at the OAH!

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2013: Rights, Solidarity, and Justice: Working People Organizing, Past and Present

Meeting in a year in which surging corporate power has threatened both unions and democracy as we know it, the 2013 LAWCHA conference in New York City focuses on how varied groups of working people have built the solidarity needed to challenge their employers, each other, their communities, and the state to seek justice and improve their lives. Historically and today women, immigrants and people of color have often been at the forefront of these struggles. Many have seen the revitalization of their organizations—unions, cooperatives, mutual aid societies, and political movements—as critical to their struggles for equality and democracy in and beyond the workplace. In the present moment, faced with obstacles to organizing that evoke earlier centuries, workers and their allies are creating innovative organizational forms and strategies in the U.S. and around the world.

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