The Center for Global Workers’ Rights 8th Annual Symposium

On April 4th and 5th, 2019, the Center for Global Workers’ Rights held its eighth annual symposium focusing on “Alternative Worker Movements at a Time of Political Crisis”.
The Center for Global Workers’ Rights 8th Annual Symposium

8th Annual CGWR Symposium Participants, April 5, 2019

By Paolo Marinaro, Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Global Workers Rights

On April 4th and 5th, 2019, the Center for Global Workers’ Rights held its eighth annual symposium focusing on “Alternative Worker Movements at a Time of Political Crisis”. The Center hosted scholars and activists from the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia to discuss alternative approaches to worker organizing, which seek to increase the inclusivity and militancy of the labor movement by contesting established leadership, norms and practices. Among the guests, Ruth Milkman, Beverly Silver, Ha Kim, Katy Fox Hoddess, Jay O’Neal, Minhyoung Kang Rina Agarwala, Kathy Feingold, Ellen Friedman, Cirila Quintero, Ruy Braga, Maurizio Atzeni, Massimo Modonesi, Julia Soul and Marshal Ganz reflected on how alternative worker movements can provide counter-narratives and strategic responses at a time when rightwing populists are stoking racism, xenophobia and misogyny across the globe.

The symposium shed light on approaches to labor organizing that prioritize democratic participation, direct action and intersectional and international solidarity through trades unions, cooperatives, worker centers, wildcat strikes and transnational activist networks. MPS students in Labor and Global Workers’ Rights from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Brazil, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.S. contributed to the symposium by introducing scholars and activists to their experiences with the labor movements in their home countries. Additionally, on Thursday, April 4th, at 7:30 pm, assistant professor Elaine Hui moderated the public event, “Labor and Resistance at a Time of Right Wing Populism: India, Brazil and the US” with the participation of Rina Agarwala (John Hopkins), Beverly Silver (John Hopkins), Ruth Milkman (CUNY) and Ruy Braga (Universidade de São Paulo). The Center also presented a labor rights art exhibition focusing on labor resistance in the North American Free Trade Zone.