Cornell University

May 17 2012

Transatlantic Social Dialogue

Lowell Turner

International meeting benefits collaboration, research, education

More than 50 trade unionists, researchers, students, academics and others from both sides of the Atlantic are meeting at ILR this weekend for the tenth annual Transatlantic Social Dialogue.

"This is a project of long-term importance and impact, which has led to significant spinoffs: relationships among unionists waging parallel campaigns in different countries, major collaborative research grants, contacts and funding for graduate students," said Professor Lowell Turner, who organizes the meetings with faculty member Lee Adler.

Guest lectures for ILR classes, research initiatives and other projects have resulted from the meeting, which alternates annually between ILR and Europe. The event is sponsored by the Hans Boeckler Foundation, the European Trade Union Institute and ILR.

This year, two sessions are aimed at encouraging transatlantic communication and solidarity in efforts to organize unions at German-owned auto plants in the United States, Turner said. Officials from the United Auto Workers and the German Metalworkers will offer perspectives.

Other sessions will feature analysis, information sharing and strategy development on contemporary labor and political issues in the United States and Europe. Presenters are from the AFL-CIO, Occupy Wall Street, the Brussels-based European Trade Union Institute, the British Trades Union Congress and the journal Social Europe.

During the meeting, the new Worker Institute at Cornell and its project groups – Strategic Leadership, Sustainability, International Collective Action, Workplace Diversity and Equity – will be introduced.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Friday in the ILR Conference Center with a presentation on student activism at Cornell by members of the Cornell Organization for Labor Action.