Lillian Roberts Legacy – Rank and File Education

From  the rank and file member  to the executive director of a Union, all great labor leaders need to build a strong understanding of labor history to develop a strong labor movement.  In a celebration of her life’s work, we talk to one of the iconic leaders of the Labor Movement, Lillian Roberts, who has announced her retirement as executive director of DC-37.  Then, we talk to Professor Kate Spaulding about how collaboration between IBEW local 3 and Empire State College assures workers  get their work  done while earning their Associates’ degrees.

The Legacy of Lillian Roberts

Lillian Roberts DC 37Lillian Roberts,  grew up poor and hungry never dreaming she would break barriers by stepping up to the plate to defend fellow workers.  At age 86, Roberts, a former Labor Commissioner of the State of New York, has served as Executive Director of DC 37 for the last 13 years.   In celebration of her many years in the labor movement, we learn about her start as a labor organizer in Chicago and how her role in union  leadership started with stepping up as a shop steward  to ensure that her fellow workers’ grievances were addressed. Ms. Roberts tells of her tutelage under her predecessor, the great Victor Gotbaum, and takes us through the struggles that culminated in her role as Executive Director of DC 37, taking a then scandal scarred union back to a sturdy future in New York City.

From living on welfare in Chicago to becoming Executive Director of DC 37. This is the legacy of Lillian Roberts Tweet this 

Rank and File Education

Kate Spaulding Labor EducationStarbucks recently earned some good press  after  offering  an opportunity for  its employees to earn Associates’ degrees via an online university. Nice,  but  remember,  unions did it first! Unions ensure that workers are trained how to do their jobs. Unions teach member s how to uphold good working conditions and safety standards on the job and to enforce their contract. And, increasingly, unions encourage – even require– that their members receive a college education. Kate Spaulding, Adjunct Professor of Labor Economics at Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies at Empire State College tells us d how the collaboration between the College and IBEW local 3 helps members – all members –  obtain their  Associates degrees  free of charge.

A Labor Education is important for dispelling the myths about labor that prevail mainstream media Tweet this

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