[DEBATE] : Fwd: cornell sponsored international conference on labour struggles this weekend in new york
zapata at mutualaid.org
Wed Feb 8 04:29:24 GMT 2006
First-of-its kind New York City conference to look at labor's responses to
NEW YORK -- At an unusual international labor conference in New York City,
Feb. 9-11, trade unionists and scholars will strategize about the role of
the labor movement in a globalized world.
"Global Companies-Global Unions-Global Research-Global Campaigns," which
takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Times Square, is being
co-sponsored by Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR).
"This is a big event -- the first of its kind, with 500 academics and
labor leaders from all over the world," said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director
of the Labor Education Research program at the ILR School and a chief
organizer of the conference, which has attracted so much attention it is
"Given the globalization of companies, finance and labor markets, the
labor movement recognizes that union organizing and bargaining campaigns
and strategic research must become global as well," said Bronfenbrenner,
stressing that the plenary speakers are prominent labor leaders.
Among the labor movement's heavy hitters at the opening plenary session on
Feb. 9 are Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO; Harris Raynor,
international vice president, UNITE HERE; Berta Luján, Mexico City
comptroller with the Partido de la Revolución Democrática and former
national coordinator of Authentic Labor Front, Mexico; Cedric Gina, second
vice president of National Union of Metal Workers, South Africa; and Guy
Ryder, secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Harry
Katz, dean of the ILR School, is also a panelist, and Bronfenbrenner is
chairing the discussion.
The Feb. 11 closing plenary session features Ron Oswald, general
secretary, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant,
Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations; Neide Fonseca,
president, Inter-American Trade Union Institute to Promote Racial Equality
and the secretary of social policy for the National Confederation of Bank
Workers, Brazil; Chang Hsu-Chung, president of the Chunghwa Telecom
Workers Union, Taiwan; and Hassan Yussuff secretary-treasurer of the
Canadian Labour Congress. The session will be chaired by Kenneth Zinn,
director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Research.
The conference also includes more than 200 workshops on such topics as
"Transnational Union Strategy, Environmental Movements and Corporate
Responsibility" and "Working Off the Clock: Testimony From Former Wal-Mart
Employees in the U.S." One workshop participant is José Bové, who opposes
the industrialization of food production and its impact on small farmers.
Bové was jailed for dismantling a McDonald's restaurant in France several
years ago and faces another prison term for destroying genetically
modified corn in Brazil. He and others also are taking part in a
pre-conference conversation Feb. 9 starting at 9:30 a.m. that is free and
open to the public (the conference is not). Plenary sessions are open to
Unions around the world continue to operate in an ever-more complex and
rapidly changing corporate environment. Given the globalization of firms,
finance, and labor markets, the labor movement recognizes that union
organizing and bargaining campaigns and strategic research must become
global as well.
It is to address these challenges that we invite you to an international
conference of scholars and trade unionists in New York City in February of
2006. Specifically, the conference would allow us to:
1. Share and learn from recent union initiatives in strategic corporate
research and strategic global organizing and bargaining campaigns in order
to more effectively take on multinational companies through global
2. Expand our collective knowledge and understanding of the changing
nature of corporate ownership structures, practices, and strategies for
the world's largest multinationals.
3. Lay the groundwork for building a sustainable global network of unions
and academics to continue to work together to effectively engage
multinational corporations worldwide.
The conference will feature interactive workshops, paper presentations,
and panel discussions involving both academics and trade unionists. The
workshops and panel presentations will discuss and analyze experiences of
global campaigns and the type of corporate research needed to support
those campaigns. In addition to the in-depth analyses, the workshops will
help develop the global networks of union campaigns directors and
strategic researchers. Trade unionists responsible for conducting global
campaigns and researching employers, as well as academics who study labor
strategies in the changing global economy, should attend this conference.
A call for papers and presentations has been sent out to unions, labor
federations, labor related NGOs, and academics from around the globe to
solicit both written papers and reports and oral presentations from a mix
of union and academic presenters. A collection of selected papers from the
conference will be published by Cornell University Press in a volume that
will be edited by Dr. Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University.
Strategic Corporate Research
Effective corporate research is critical to the ability of unions to
organize and bargain in the changing global economy. The conference will
feature in-depth strategic research on a limited number of key
multinational corporations from diverse sectors and industries. These
company reports, along with shorter summaries on the access points for
information on multinational corporations for each of the countries
represented at the conference, will be posted on the research section of
the website prior to the conference and be available to all those who have
registered for the conference.
A team of researchers from universities sponsoring the conference, with
input from unions on the planning committee, are preparing in-depth
reports on a number of multinational companies. To date the list of
companies include Wal-Mart, Kraft Foods, Siemens, Exxon Mobil, Suez S.A.,
Alcoa, SSA Marine, Bouygues, Starwood, and Sanofi Aventis.
Researchers will present and discuss the most effective methods for
understanding and mapping the structure and flow of corporate power at the
target companies. During the conference the target companies will be used
both to model strategic corporate research methods and to help build and
strengthen lasting cross-border networks among unions, scholars, and NGOs
working with these target multinationals.
I shall remain an impossible person so long as those who are now
possible remain possible."— Mikhail Bakunin, letter to Alexander
More information about the Debate-list