38th Annual Conference to look at history of worker actions, their effectiveness

The history of “direct actions” by workers, such as strikes, mass rallies and sit-downs, will be discussed at the 38th Annual Conference of the Wisconsin Labor History Society to be held Saturday, April 13, in Madison.

Entitled “How Labor Can Win Again: ‘Direct Action’ Strategies of history offer promise for the future,” the conference will be held at the Madison Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park St., with registration at 8:30 a.m.  The program will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Demonstration in the Wisconsin State Capitol during the 2011 Uprising, when workers fought against Act 10.

Dan Kaufman, author of “The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics,” will opening speaker.  A Wisconsin native, Kaufman is a contributor to the New York Times and has written extensively about the state’s political history and the occurrences since 2011 Wisconsin Uprising.

A panel discussion, “Direct Action events, past and present” will bring together activists who have helped develop winning strategies for workers. Among the presenters will be organizers for Madison’s “Day Without Latinxs & Immigrants” march; a substitute teacher whose hunger strike won benefits; a young worker who has found new strategies, and a leader of a recent organizing victory.  The session will be moderated by Jillian Jacklin, lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Closing out the day will be a discussion on “Strategies for the Future,” featuring union activists and academic experts including Kevin Gundlach, President, South Central Federation of Labor, and Rachel Buff, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee.  Other speakers are still to be confirmed.  Moderator of the panel will be Jon Shelton, Democracy and Justice Studies, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

An award will be given to a person for “Lifetime Achievement to the Wisconsin labor movement” as well as to student winners in the annual labor history essay contest sponsored by the Society and for academic work done by college-level or post-graduate level students.

The conference registration fee of $35.00 covers lunch, refreshments and materials; special rates are available for students and unemployed persons.  Further information and registration here.