Labor Roundtable

Annual Worker Institute event connects students with representatives of union and social justice organizations
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Eighteen leaders in the United States labor and social justice movements, five of whom are ILR alumni, meet with students on Friday, Nov. 18, for the Fourteenth Annual Labor Roundtable.

The Worker Institute-sponsored event provides an opportunity for students to engage in discussions with a broad cross-section of representatives from labor unions, worker advocacy groups and social justice organizations. Through these discussions, students gain exposure to current trends in the labor movement and the fundamental role that it plays in bringing about social change.

“The Labor Roundtable gives both undergraduate and graduate students from ILR and across Cornell the opportunity to learn from first-hand professional experiences in the labor and social justice movements,” said Ileen DeVault, academic director of The Worker Institute at Cornell and professor of Labor History.  

“Hearing how these leaders became involved in their organizations helps students understand how they can play a role in their future careers to drive change for workers’ lives and the world of work.”

“The event is unique, true to its name, educating students in a roundtable format where attendees join labor leaders in small-group discussions,” DeVault continued. “We always try to choose leaders involved in some of the most exciting efforts to advance worker rights, and this year, we made sure to bring in representatives of electoral activities, too.”

Representatives circulate in 20-minute intervals between groups of about 10 students to answer questions participants may have on union and community organizing, strategic research and campaigns, public policy and advocacy, labor law and union administration.

According to DeVault, “the Roundtable is one of two flagship events, including Union Days in the spring, hosted by The Worker Institute as part of its commitment to engaging Cornell and ILR students and generating innovative thinking and solutions to problems related to work, the economy, and society.”

The event runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 18, at the Statler Hotel, Carrier Ballroom. Students from all colleges are invited and encouraged to join and participate by registering here.

This year’s participants include representatives from AFGE, AFT, ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York, Chicago Teachers Union, Cohen, Weiss, and Simon LLP, Maine State Nurses Association, National Nurses United, Retail Action Project, SEIU, The Newspaper Guild of Detroit, UNITE HERE!, United States Department of Labor, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, West, Pacific Northwest Ironworkers, and Writers Guild of America.