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Black Lives Matter Protest in Paris

18th Transatlantic Social Dialogue Webinar Series 2020

In the Covid-19 era, the worlds of work and politics have changed, and with them union strategies and tactics. Ten Transatlantic Social Dialogue (TSD) webinars took place from April to October 2020 to discuss these changes. The sponsors include Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR), Industriegewerkschaft Metall, the Hans Boeckler Foundation (HBS), and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).

Recordings of these webinars are now available, with links on this page below. These webinars replace the TSD, currently in its 18th year. In June 2020, a three-day in-person workshop was planned with European and US trade unionists and academics discussing labor organizing, race, and manufacturing work in the US south. 

Like so much of our work, the TSD was moved online. Carsten Huebner from the Transatlantic Labor Institute (TLI) took the lead on organizing in Tennessee and Ian Greer from Cornell’s ILR School took the lead on moving the event online. Sessions were conceived and organized by Dina Bishara (ILR), Birgit Kraemer (HBS), Maite Tapia (Michigan State University), Kurt Vandaele (ETUI), and Larry Williams, Jr. (founder of UnionBase). From the ILR School, Zoom infrastructure was organized by D.H. Goodall, Edward Martinez, and Steven Kaczmarczyk, and coordination and marketing by Claire Concepcion. Special thanks as well to Dean Alex Colvin of the ILR School, who moderated three of the ten sessions. 

The move online had one advantage: it was much easier to document than past in-person discussions. Below is information on the sessions (acknowledging speakers and moderators) and links to the recordings. 


Recordings of sessions:

27 April, 9.00 – Union responses to Covid-19. 

Angelo DiCristo (UNI Global Union); Lise Lotte Toft (Danish Trade Union Confederation); Horst Mund (IG Metall); and Liz Shuler (AFL-CIO), with Alex Colvin (Cornell-ILR) moderating.

6 May, 10.00 – Challenges to Unions and Workers in the Age of COVID-19: Views from the Global South. 

Kalpona Akter (Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation); Shawna Bader-Blau (Solidarity Center); Zingiswa Losi (Congress of South African Trade Unions); with Alex Colvin (Cornell-ILR) moderating.

9 June, 10.30 – Essential Workers in Healthcare. 

Judy Gonzales (New York State Nurses Association); Thorsten Schulten (HBS); Kalle Kunkel (Charité University Hospital Berlin) Mark Bergfeld (UNI Europa); with Maite Tapia (Michigan State University) moderating.  

22 June, 10.00 – We are Not All in this Together: Covid-19 Exposes Pre-Existing Inequalities in US and Europe. 

Vonda McDaniel (Central Labor Council, Nashville & Middle Tennessee); Zane Rasnača (ETUI); Romin Khan (Ver.di); with Larry Williams Jr. (UnionBase), moderating.

24 June, 10.30 – Avoiding layoffs and supporting the unemployed: Toward a trade union agenda.

Gabriele Ibrom (IG Metall); Roy Houseman (United Steelworkers); Dina Bishara (Cornell-ILR); and Torsten Mueller (ETUI); with Ian Greer (Cornell-ILR), moderating.

15 October, 8.30 – Labor Rights in the era of Covid 19. 

Guy Ryder (ILO) and Desiree LeClercq (Cornell-ILR), with Alex Colvin (Cornell-ILR) moderating.

15 October, 10.30 – Climate change, organized labor and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lara Skinner (Cornell-ILR), Béla Galgóczi (ETUI), Mijin Cha (Occidental College), and Jan Philipp Rohde (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund), with Larry Williams Jr., (UnionBase) moderating.

19 October, 10.00 – Transformation of manufacturing – can it work for the benefit of the workers? 

Jochen Schroth (IG Metall); Manfred Wannöffel (Univerity of Bochum); and Jeffrey Dokho (UAW). With Gabriele Ibrom, IG Metall, moderating.

27 October, 11.00 – Future of global value chains under the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. 

Sabine Stephan (HBS), Dave McCall (United Steelworkers), and Steve Johnson (Lear Corporation), with Carsten Huebner (TLI) moderating.

30 October, 11.00 – Worker demands and business lobbying in the Covid-19 crisis. 

Laura Bucci (St Joseph’s University), Dieter Plehwe (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin), and Anne Rasmussen (Copenhagen University), with Judy Conti (National Employment Law Project) commenting and Lowell Turner (Cornell-ILR) moderating.