Labor Roundtable in Ithaca Connects Students, Scholars & Labor Leaders

Annual Labor Roundtable connects students on campus with leaders of unions and social justice organizations
Thursday, November 19, 2015

On November 13, eighteen leaders in the United States labor and social justice movements, four of whom were ILR alumni, met with students for the Thirteenth Annual Labor Roundtable.

The Worker Institute event provides an opportunity for students to engage in discussions with a broad cross section of representatives in labor leadership, unions and social justice organizations.

“This event provides our undergraduate and graduate students with an opportunity to gain exposure to the labor movement and understand the crucial role it plays in bringing about change,” said Rachel Aleks, assistant professor in the Department of Labor Relations, Law, and History.

“The roundtable is a unique event that educates students, through small group discussions with labor leaders, on current issues in the labor movement and allows them to learn about a variety of unions and non-governmental organizations working toward advancing worker rights,” she continued.

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

Allison Considine ’17, who is one of two student coordinators of the event, said, “I got involved in the roundtable my freshmen year through my involvement in the Cornell Organization for Labor Action, a student labor solidarity group on campus.”

“The Labor Roundtable allows people to see what the future of the labor movement is and how they can be a part of it,” she said. “I want students to walk away with an awareness of the many paths outside of the corporate world that they can pursue, and with connections to people who are finding success working for social justice.”

This year’s participants included representatives from American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees, Chicago Teachers Union, Civil Service Employees Association, Huck/Konopacki Cartoons, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers’ International Union of North America, New York Hotel Trades Council, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Service Employees International Union Healthcare, United Food and Commercial Workers, United Steel Workers, Virginia & Ambinder LLP, Washington Public Employees Association/UFCW, Worker Justice Center of New York and Writers Guild of America East.