Study Group -- Organizing on the Fringes


Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


124 Mt Auburn Street, South Lobby, Suite 160S, Room 105

Join Ash Center Democracy Fellows Johnnie Lotesta and Gali Racabi for the first session of their spring semester study group on the struggles and successes of the U.S. labor movement. Labor unions have played an important role in incorporating economically marginalized groups into the American working class, including, in particular cases, immigrant communities, people of color, and multiple classes of precarious workers. This session will explore past and present efforts to organize workers on the economic, social, and legal margins of the American organized labor movement - farm workers, home care workers, and students.

Guest Speakers include: Ege Yumusak, Harvard Graduate Student Union; Marshall Ganz, Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society; and Palak Shah, Social Innovations Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Lunch will be served. Seating preference will be given to students. No preregistration or RSVP is necessary.

Students are encouraged to sign up to the study group listserv to receive important updates and reading materials.

Throughout the course of the semester, the study group will examine unions’ past efforts to represent and give voice to marginalized groups within the workplace and without. The study group will also look at the role of the labor movement in important social transformations – such as the advancement of civil rights – as well as the organized attacks that have contributed to labor’s decline in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The study group will conclude with an eye towards the future, debating the prospects for aspirational labor law reform at the federal level. In these ways, the study group aims to shine light on labor organizing innovations past and present in order to deepen scholarly and practitioner insight into the possibilities for cross-sectional, worker-driven institutional change in the American context.