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October Transatlantic Social Dialogue Webinar Series

The webinar edition of the 18th Transatlantic Social Dialogue (TSD) will take place in October, scheduled for the 15th, the 19th, and the 27th. These sessions replace in-person meetings that were to take place in Spring Hill, Tennessee organized in collaboration with the Worker Institute, IG Metall, the Hans Boeckler Foundation (HBS) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). Below is the fall 2020 webinar schedule. Registration will open on October 1st. Please email Claire Concepcion at to be added to the TSD email list serve.


October 15, 2020 (Thursday) 8:30 am ET (2:30 pm CET)
Labor Rights in the Age of Covid-19: A Conversation with ILO Director General Guy Ryder

What are the most pressing challenges for labor rights in the age of COVID-19? International Labor Organization (ILO) Director General Guy Ryder joins us for a conversation about the ILO's current priorities and agenda. The discussion will address a range of issues, including rising unemployment, the impact of the crisis on migrant and informal workers, the impact of trade agreements on workers, and gaps in social protection. 

Alex Colvin, Dean of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, will open the webinar and present introductory remarks.

Moderator: Desiree LeClercq, Professor, Cornell University


October 15, 2020 (Thursday) 10:30 am ET (4:30 pm CET)
Climate change, organized labor and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic – perspectives from Europe and the US

It is clear now that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities. Climate change is also affecting the most vulnerable in society. How could organized labor connect the global health crisis and climate change, and develop strategies to tackle those major challenges in the future?


Lara Skinner, Executive Director of The Worker Institute, New York
Béla Galgóczi, European Trade Union Institute, Brussels, Belgium
Mijin Cha, Assistant Professor, Occidental College, US; Fellow at Worker Institute and Senior Fellow at Data for Progress
Jan Philipp Rohde, Head of the Unit Environmental Policies, Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, Germany

Moderator: Larry Williams Jr., Founder, UnionBase, US


October 19, 2020 (Monday), 10 am ET (4 pm CET)
Transformation of manufacturing – can it work for the benefit of the workers?

Work in manufacturing is changing more rapidly than ever before due to technological innovation, digitization, artificial intelligence, globalization and ageing populations. These changes are accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, creating both chances and risks for workers. The task of trade unions is to improve working conditions in terms of job security and income level as well as diversified work content. To shape these changes, trade unionists must be made aware of the ongoing transformation, of their rights and possibilities and get the necessary qualification. This session will examine the transformation we how IG Metall in Germany is preparing works councilors for these changes and the bargaining agenda of the UAW in the US.


Jochen Schroth, IG Metall, Head of Division Global Trade Union Policy
Manfred Wannöffel, University of Bochum, joint cooperation between University of Bochum and IG Metall, Learning Factory
Jeffrey Dokho, Director, UAW Research Dept.

Moderator: Gabriele Ibrom, IG Metall, Division Global Trade Union Policy

October 27, 2020 (Tuesday), 11 am ET (4 pm CET)
Future of global value chains under the impact of Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has showed how fragile global value chains have become and how dependent some sectors are on particular companies and countries. Globalization slowed down already after the financial crisis, there are more and more conflicts over trade policy and competition between continents and leading countries. There is much anecdotal evidence of reshoring during the pandemic, especially in pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, but it is unclear if de-globalization and re-shoring have become the general trend.

This session examines whether re-shoring or regionalization of value chains is accelerating, what costs companies are willing to bear in order to address the vulnerabilities of value chains, and what the implications are for trade unions.

Dr. Sabine Stephan, Hans Boeckler Stiftung, IMK (Macroeconomic Policy Institute)
Dave McCall, United Steelworkers, International Vice President
Steve Johnson, Consultant European and General Works Council at Lear Corporation

Moderator: Carsten Huebner

October 30, 2020 (Friday), 11 am EST (4 pm CET)
Worker demands and business lobbying in the Covid-19 crisis: Strategies against inequality in interest representation

Obtaining influence over policy decisions on Covid-19-related economic and social policies has been of enormous importance for both trade unions as well as business organizations. But the two sides are unequally equipped in terms of financial and organizational resources; moreover, they differ by ways and extent of access to policymakers and public authorities.

This webinar explores what we can learn from the latter for better understanding the trade unions’ challenges in the public policy arena. Speakers will discuss topics such as how digitization affects the forms of lobbying, alliances between trade unions and social movements to gain more influence, and regulatory efforts to make ‘venue hopping’ by businesses more transparent.


Anne Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen: Inequality in interest representation
Laura Bucci, St Joseph’s University: The rise of restrictive labor laws in US States
Dieter Plehwe, WZB Berlin: Regulating neoliberal lobbyism via transparency and lobbying registers

Discussant: Judy Conti, National Employment Law Project