July 2010, Week 3


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Tue, 20 Jul 2010 21:37:19 -0400
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Collaboration Power: How Are Unions and Educators Joining

By Richard Greenwald

July 20, 2010, Working In These Times InTheseTimes.com


I participated in a remarkable event this past weekend, the
Education and Labor Collaborative, hosted by Adelphi
University at its Manhattan center. The focus of the event
was teaching the Triangle Fire, the 1911 tragedy that killed
146 mostly young, women workers. The goal was to explore ways
for teachers to teach the fire as a larger lesson in social
justice. With that in mind, Adelphi brought together labor
scholars, unionists and activists, as well as area high-
school teachers, for a weekend of training.

It was a great event and the teachers got a lot out of it.
But, it led me to think about these kinds of collaborations,
and wonder why Adelphi, which has its main campus in suburban
Long Island, was hosting the event. I wondered why City
University of New York (CUNY) wasn't hosting it-and then
realized that it probably has hosted something similar, and I
just didn't know it. I began to explore other labor and
educator groups and found many, scattered across the country.

Which brings me to this post. I write as a form of community
journalism, in the hopes that readers will, via the comment
section, list any and all such collaborations (with some
contact info) between unions and educators (either through
schools or districts or labor education centers). My hope is
that activists and unionist will be able to see where
activity is being done in their area and can lend their
support and get involved.

As I sat in Adelphi's lecture room Saturday watching the
school teachers in attendance, I realized the power of such
sessions. Here were dedicated teachers, caring professionals,
looking for resources to help make them better teachers. They
left the event fully armed with new knowledge. I am sure that
when they return to their classrooms in the fall, their
lessons will help students better understand America's
history of labor struggles.

[Richard Greenwald is a labor historian and social critic. He
is currently a professor of history at Drew University. His
essays have appeared in In These Times, The Progressive, The
Wall Street Journal among others. He is currently writing a
book on the rise of freelancing and is co-editing a book on
the future of work for The New Press, which features essays
from the county's leading labor scholars and public


Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

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