Labor history conference looks to past for clues on fighting back in 2017

Larry Cohen, former national president of the Communications Workers of America and a key leader of Our Revolution, will keynote the 36th Annual Conference of the Wisconsin Labor History Society Saturday, April 8, at the Madison Labor Temple.

Cohen is board chair of Our Revolution, a group that includes many supporters of Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders and is committed to empowering unionists and other activists on progressive political and legislative causes.

Entitled, “Building Workers Power: When Labor’s Under Attack, How Do We Fight Back,” the conference will hear about labor’s many successes against past challenges and to discuss strategies to meet the challenges rally-photo-essay-contestof current state and federal policies that curb the rights of working people.  Jon Shelton, historian from University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, will offer historical perspective, followed by a panel discussion on how unions are successfully responding in today’s anti-union climate.

Phil Neuenfeldt, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO president, will discuss labor’s response in an afternoon session that will also include Robert Kraig, executive director of Wisconsin Citizen Action, a state legislator and a building trades representative, both to be named later.

The conference will provide time for discussion from the audience.

Awards will be presented to winners of the high school essay contest, for scholarship in labor history and to a person for lifetime achievement.  The Society’s annual meeting will be held at the end of the program, about 3 p.m.  Regular business and election of officers will be held.  (See details and registration here.  Online registration available at