Union Days March 20-23

Events include “The Long Ride” film, career fair; all events open
Friday, March 10, 2017

The annual ILR Union Days celebrating the labor movement with events to encourage students’ participation in the social movement for worker rights will be March 20-23.

Sponsored by the Worker Institute at Cornell, its events are free and open to the public.

“We bring students together with representatives from labor unions and other social justice organizations to discuss strategies for building a broad and inclusive labor movement,” says Risa Lieberwitz, Union Days committee chair and ILR professor of labor relations, law and history.

The celebration begins at 7 p.m. March 20 with the screening of the new documentary, “The Long Ride, at Cornell Cinema.

The documentary chronicles the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003, when 900 immigrants and their allies traveled by bus across the United States to attend the 100,000-person-strong immigrant rights rally in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The ride played a key role in inspiring the introduction of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the U.S. Senate in 2013, Lieberwitz said.

“The Long Ride” exemplifies the Union Days theme of “Fighting Back: Resisting, Organizing and Building Coalitions!” Lieberwitz says.

“This important and exciting film shows the power of social movements for immigrant rights, civil rights, and labor rights joining together to fight for the human rights of immigrant workers in the U.S.”

The film’s director and producer, Valerie Lapin, and UFCW Local 770 Director of Organizing Rigo Valdez will introduce the film and lead a discussion after the screening. Both were Freedom Riders.

At 4:30 p.m. March 21, Sophorn Yang, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions and former garment worker, will give a talk in 105 Ives Hall as part of the United Students Against Sweatshops’ Women Workers Resist! nationwide speaking tour.

On 4:30 p.m. March 22, Tiffany Dena Loftin, Racial Justice Program coordinator for the Civil, Human, and Women's Rights Department, AFL-CIO is to give the keynote address in 105 Ives. She focuses on addressing the racial and economic disparities affecting workers across the country.

Union Days’ activities continue on March 23 with a social justice career fair from 1 to 4 p.m. in 423 ILR Conference Center. This is an opportunity for students to explore careers in social justice with Cornell alumni and other representatives from labor and non-profit organizations.

At 4:30 p.m. March 23, a panel discussion, “Social Justice Organizing and Coalition Building on Campus and in the Community,” will be held in 105 Ives Hall.

Panel participants are:

  • Russell Rickford, associate professor, History Department; Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy; Black Lives Matter Ithaca
  • Allison Considine, Cornell Organization for Labor Action
  • Cole Norgaarden, Cornell Environmental Collaborative
  • Hadiyah Chowdhury, Cornell undergraduate student
  • Rachel Kaufman, Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union/SEIU Local 200United
  • Tiffany Dena Loftin, Racial Justice Program coordinator for the Civil, Human, and Women's Rights Department, AFL-CIO

The Worker Institute is part of Cornell’s ILR School. Union Days cosponsors include the ILR Office of Career Services, Cornell Organization for Labor Action, ILR International Programs, Law and Society minor, Cornell Cinema, ILR Office of Student Services, ILR Catherwood Library, Tompkins County Workers’ Center, and Cornell Farmworker Program.