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, 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
Starbucks 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
1) Contract Negotiations Come to Fruition: We hear about the struggles DC 37 and 1199 SEIU went through to secure their contracts
2) Labor Leadership Education – Working Towards a Diverse Workforce: Find out about a labor education program that helps train leaders in the labor movement
3) The Labor Movement Confronts Climate Change: Members of various Unions talk about how Climate Change impacted them
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