We are at a critical moment in the history of unions and the labor movement. We face an ever-widening wealth gap, a growing carceral state, intense anti-immigration rhetoric and policies, an unprecedented attack on public-sector unions, and a President who actively tries to divide the labor movement. At the same time, however, there are strong indications that working people are fed up and willing to fight, from the massive teachers' strikes; to Black Lives Matter and #MeToo; to the success of progressive candidates and the increasing public support for unions. In a climate characterized by both deepening inequality and promising sparks, this conference explores key debates for labor that are at once old and new:
How do we build power in ways that address the immediate needs of working people while also advancing the labor movement in the long term?
How do we overcome policies and laws that make organizing and building a labor movement extremely difficult?
And, finally, how do we build solidarity across differences?