Labor Research Action Network Conference2016

June 24-25, 2016
Chicago, IL, United States

The 2016 Labor Research and Action Network national conference will be held Friday, June 24th and Saturday, June 25th at the DePaul University’s Loop Campus located in downtown Chicago, IL. The DePaul University Labor Education Center will host the conference. Scholars, labor practitioners, and activists from across the country will convene to share news ideas and lessons learned, and connect around research and campaign work.

Registration is now open.

Featured speakers include AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, UC Berkeley scholar Steven Pitts, and Only One Thing Can Save Us author Thomas Geoghegan. The conference will also include 16 workshops on a range of topics, including temp worker organizing, the growing “gig” economy of higher education, connecting racial and economic justice, and trainings to develop research skills for campaigns. Information on reduced rate rooms at Roosevelt University is also on the registration page.

See the conference website for the latest schedule.


From the Local to the Global: In order to build power in a rapidly changing economy, workers and their organizations are finding fewer recent successes at the national level. Increasingly, they are moving outward from the national into the two opposite directions — focusing their efforts locally and globally. What Chicago-area campaigns offer new solutions for working people? What global labor movement campaigns are finding the most traction and why? Are there fresh connections between today’s local and global worker movements?

Building Worker Power in a Gig Economy
: With the rise of the “on-demand” economy, how can workers effectively organize to protect good jobs and demand basic labor rights? Is the gig economy over-hyped, or is it the new paradigm? Who is actually an “independent contractor”, and why does this matter? What organizing and policy strategies are labor organizations employing to win basic labor protections, build economic security – – such as a collective bargaining rights, minimum wage, paid sick leave, paid family leave, and guaranteed basic income?

Racial Justice and Worker Justice: The nation still bears the legacy of slavery, and racial wealth inequality and racial profiling continue to mark the class experience for people of color, including immigrants and refugees from the Middle East and Global South. With high unemployment and under-employment, and a workforce comprised of re-entry citizens and undocumented workers, what is the role of race and ethnicity in today’s movement for economic justice? What is the relationship between the meteoric rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the work of unions and workers’ organizations? What are the connections (or disconnections) between the workers’ justice movement and movements around immigrant rights, racial justice, mass incarceration, the racial wealth disparity and racial profiling? What does the history of black and immigrant organizing and class resistance in the U.S. tell us about today’s struggles? What is the role of black and immigrant women in these movements?

Coalitions and Beyond: An Interconnected Workers’ Movement. Though the union movement has long recognized the need to build coalitions, workers and their organizations today may find that they must incorporate these relationships into their core work in order to counter corporate power effectively. How is today’s workers’ movement bargaining for the common good? To what extent are workers’ organizations and unions intertwined with movements for racial justice, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights and the faith community? Are there disconnects and, if so, how might the movement address them? In a post-Friedrichs world, what does an interconnected workers’ movement look like?

2016 LRAN Conference Planning Committee

David Bensman, Rutgers University; Paul Booth, AFSCME; Jessica Cook, University of Illinois at Chicago; Sheena Foster, LRAN Advisory Committee; Eric Geist, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; Beth Gutelius, University of Illinois at Chicago; Erin Johansson, Jobs With Justice; Adam Kader, ARISE Chicago; Nora Kelley, DePaul University; Christopher Lamberti, Workers United; Jacob Lesniewski, Dominican University; Meg Lewis, AFSCME Council 31; Dan Marschall, AFL-CIO; Marien Pabellon, Interfaith Worker Justice; Maryanne Salm, American Federation of Teachers; Lane Windham, University of Maryland; Mac-Z Zurawski, Laborers Local 1001

For more information, see the official site for Labor Research Action Network Conference: 2016 »