Teachers’ Unions, Education, and Social Justice: From the Local to the Global

Teachers' Unions, Education & Social JusticeSaturday, January 23, 2010 | 8:45 AM – 5:30 PM
Oakes College, Room 105, UC Santa Cruz
Free and Open to the Public


Throughout the world, teachers’ unions have emerged among the most well-organized and politically active of social movements. In the U.S. alone, teachers are the most highly unionized group in the country, with over four million members. As massive cuts in government spending ripple through our schools and universities–especially devastating poor communities and communities of color–teachers’ unions are increasingly confronting the neoliberal agenda, global in scope, that contests the very notion of free, quality public education for all. Meanwhile, attacks on tenure mount and teachers are increasingly scapegoated themselves for the decline in public education. This conference brings together scholars, educators, teacher union leaders, and UCSC alumni, from K-12 through the universities, to explore the role of teachers’ unions in meeting these challenges and struggling at the forefront of social justice–from British Columbia and Honduras to our own back yard at UCSC, in Santa Cruz, and in California.

8:45-9:00 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of Humanities, UCSC
Dana Frank, Professor of History and Director, Center for Labor Studies, UCSC
9:00-10:00 AM Keynote Speaker: Lois Weiner, Professor of Elementary and Secondary Education, New Jersey City University, “Understanding the Global Assault on Teaching, Teachers, and Their Unions”
10:00-11:30 AM Panel: Teachers on the Forefront of Social Justice Worldwide, From Fighting Privatization to a Resisting a Military Coup
Moderator: Guillermo Delgado, Lecturer, Latin American and Latino Studies, UCSC
Speakers: Jinny Sims, former President, British Columbia Teachers Federation, “The Road to Privatization: Connecting the Dots”
A Representative from the Honduran Teachers’ Unions, “Teachers in the Forefront Fighting the Military Coup in Honduras”
11:45-1:15 PM Panel: Teachers and Social Justice in the U.S.
Moderator: Lora Bartlett, Assistant Professor of Education, UCSC
Speakers: Sara Smith, Ph.D. Candidate in History, UCSC, “Gay and Lesbian Rank-and-File Teachers and the Campaign Against the Briggs Initiative”
Pauline Lipman, Professor of Policy Studies, College of Education, University of Illinois, Chicago, “The Potential of the `New Social Movement Teacher Unionism'”
1:15-2:15 PM Lunch
2:15-3:45 PM Panel: Teachers’ Unions in California Higher Education Today
Moderator: Shelly Errington, Professor of Anthropology, UCSC, and President, Santa Cruz Faculty Association
Speakers: Maria del Carmen Morris, Lecturer in Languages, UCSC, “The Struggle of the AFT Lecturers’ Union in the University of California”
Lillian Taiz, Professor of History, California State University, Los Angeles, and President, California Faculty Association, “Building Union Power: Contract Fights, Budget Battles, and the Future of the University”
4:00-5:30 PM Panel: UCSC Alumni Movers and Shakers
Speakers: Seth Bramble, Executive Director, Sacramento Teachers’ Union
George Martinez, former President, Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers
David Goldberg, Treasurer, United Teachers of Los Angeles
5:30 PM Closing Remarks, Dana Frank

This event is sponsored the U.C. Santa Cruz Center for Labor Studies with funding from the Miguel Contreras Fund for Labor Studies of the University of California, and co-sponsored by the UCSC Division of Humanities and the Vice Chancellor for Research.

Free and open to the public. For further information, including disabled access, contact Shann Ritchie at the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research, sritchie@ucsc.edu, (831) 459-5655. Parking will be available Oakes College. Maps: maps.ucsc.edu. Staffing provided by the UCSC Institute for Humanities Research.