Michigan State University Fall Workshop Series

Another online education opportunity has been brought to our attention! This one from Michigan State University’s Labor Education Program (LEP). Their Fall Workshop Series this year focuses on diversity and inclusion in the labor movement, which has been under a spotlight lately. It’s always been vital to have a diversified and inclusive workplace, but unfortunately even the labor movement, which has traditionally been more welcoming of others, has fallen short. This series will show you ways in which to improve and make the entire workforce better, and each workshop is only 90 minutes so it’s not a huge time commitment.

These are not free workshops, but they are inexpensive. You can either pick and choose which one(s) to attend at $25.00 each, or you can get a discount and take all five at a total cost of $100.00. All workshops will take place via Zoom.

The first workshop “will include an introduction to the Diversity and Inclusion in the Labor Movement series, followed by a discussion of African Americans in the labor movement including some history, information on current issues, and possible future directions.”  Steven C. Pitts comes to the program from UC Berkeley, where he focuses on issues of job quality and Black workers. Clayola Brown is the National President of APRI, and brings a long history of union organization (she helped her mother bring the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) to the Manhattan Shirt Factory in Charleston when she was only 15!).

Second is Women and the Labor Movement, which “will focus on the history of women in the labor movement, current issues, and the future direction of women in the movement.” Michelle Kaminski has been with the LEP for quite some time, with a focus on”labor law, collective bargaining, steward training, communication skills, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the union role in team concept workplaces, and basic economic history.” Angie Miller from the Mid-Michigan Area Labor Council comes from CWA Local 4108, and also has a long history organizing and fighting for workers’ rights.

The third workshop focuses on the history of Latinx workers and where we go from here. Delia Fernandez is an assistant professor in the History Department at MSU, and “is a historian of Latina/o history whose work focuses on how Latina/os use panethnic identity to garner more political, social, and economic rights in the twentieth century.” There will be another speaker for this workshop from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, but that person has not yet been named.

Fourth is LGTBQ Rights, a subject with which the IATSE has been very proactive. It will focus on a history of the evolution of legal rights for LGBTQ workers, and a discussion of current issues. Stacy Hickox is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at MSU, and “practiced law in the area of disability law at Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service prior to coming to SHRLR. Ms. Hickox also taught for several years at MSU’s law school, including courses in employment law, civil rights, and disability law.” Cynthia L. Thorton currently serves as President of Pride at Work Michigan, “a nonprofit organization that represents LGBTQ union members and their allies that works to organize mutual community support between the organized labor movement and the LGBTQ members within it.”

Finally is Fighting Discrimination and Promoting Inclusion. This is something needed not just in the workplace but in our everyday lives. Stacy Hickox and Michelle Kaminski we learned about above. Rick Shafer serves as Dean of Students at MSU “with 20+ years of experience supporting safe and healthy learning environments on 4 different university campuses… with expertise in restorative justice, social justice, mediation, student conduct administration, sexual assault/sexual harassment adjudication, academic and personal integrity, wellness, emotional intelligence, self-efficacy and leadership.”

If you can at all afford it, I highly recommend any and all of these workshops. The MSU LEP has an excellent reputation, and every time I’ve taken one of their courses or simply attended a talk, I’ve learned something valuable and helpful for both work and regular life. For more information and to register, please visit Michigan State University’s Conferences, Workshops, & Special Events.

Here we go again… Be safe. Be well. STAY HOME OR MASK UP. And as always… WASH YOUR HANDS!