Bargaining for the Common Good - Racial Justice Conference

March 29-31, 2017
Tommy Douglas Conference Center, Silver Spring, MD

The Bargaining for the Common Good (BCG) – Racial Justice conference was co-sponsored by the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE), Kalmanovitz Institute for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, and Rutgers SMLR’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO) .  The event brought together over 120 participants from national and local labor unions, worker centers, racial and social justice organizations, and other partners from across the country.  The organizations represented included: AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT, NEA, SEIU, Jobs with Justice, BYP100, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Orange County CTA, Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals (PASNAP), Portland Association of Teachers, POWER-LA, Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), UCS/Cornell Worker Institute, University of California San Diego, and Youth United for Change, among many others.

The program was developed with extensive collaboration among the steering committee over several months, which included representatives from diverse organizations.  Based on feedback from prior BCG gatherings, the conference focused on three main goals:

  • Develop an understanding of Bargaining for the Common Good strategy and how it provides opportunities to expand bargaining campaigns to fight for racial justice.
  • Bring together unions, racial justice organizations, worker centers, community groups to connect with each other through a common analysis of the moment.
  • Plan and implement innovative strategies that broaden worker bargaining to include racial justice demands.

The gathering included a keynote address by Mary Cathryn Ricker, Executive Vice President, AFT; a case study of the race and equity institute led by the Seattle Teachers Association; and a panel on Race in the Labor Movement which featured: Matthew Luskin (Chicago Teachers Union), Darlene Lombos (Community Labor United), Carlos Jimenez (DC Labor Federation), and Kyra Greene (Center for Policy Initiatives).  There was also time devoted to power mapping, local strategy planning, and developing bargaining demands.