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Panel Discussion: Unions and Labor Organizing

February 24, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Linked Through Labor: Community Conversations About Work


This year we are presenting three moderated panels featuring experts on labor and workers’ rights issues of the past and present. Come take part in discussions with labor scholars, activists, and organizers on topics relating to the experience of workers that will enlighten and encourage participants to make connections between history and today. Why do workers organize? What challenges have workers faced historically and in the present day, and how can our communities can support workers?

After the discussion, Sarah FitzGerald will provide an optional curator’s walk-through of our current exhibit “Building a New California: The Lives and Labor of Chinese Immigrants from 1850 to 1930.” This exhibit tour aims to highlight the roles Chinese immigrants played in the development of the Southern California region. By exposing participants to the exhibit that focuses on Chinese labor and sharing stories of laborers past and present, we invite visitors into unexpected dialogues, provocative conversations, and new connections.

The two other panel discussions in the series focus on Immigrant Labor and Workplace Conditions and Safety.


Trevor Griffey, PhD is a lecturer in U.S. History and Labor Studies at UCLA, UC Irvine, and CSU Dominguez Hills, and briefly worked as an organizer for the California Faculty Association at CSU Long Beach. He is co-editor of Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry (Cornell Press, 2010) and co-founder of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.


Manuel Villanueva is the Workplace Justice Organizer of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles (ROC-LA). He leads comprehensive organizing campaigns to help workers win respect and dignity at their restaurants, including training and education for worker leaders, media work in English and Spanish, direct actions, and legal strategy. He has community organizing experience as a peer educator for Bienestar, developing leaders in the Latino LGBTQ community in Long Beach, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and as a member organizer for ROC-LA prior to joining the staff team. He also has over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

Jayne Howell (Ph.D. 1993, State University of New York at Stony Brook) is Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of Latin American Studies. She has conducted research on education, informal and formal employment, cityward migration and urbanization, gender role change, tourism, social movements, and Isthmus Zapotec women in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Her teaching specialties include ethnographic methods, gender, cultures of Mexico and Central America, and student career opportunities. She was awarded the 2006 Carlos and Guillermo Vigil Prize by the journal Studies in Latin American Popular Culture for her article “Constructions and Commodifications of Isthmus Zapotec Women.” She was co-editor of Practicing Anthropology and a board member of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She served as secretary and treasurer for the Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology (SUNTA) of the American Anthropological Association, and is SUNTA President from 2016-2018.

Katie Weidling currently works as an Education Coordinator for AFSCME International Union. Her main responsibilities include developing curriculum, using the popular education model, that push local union members to be better organizers, communicators and advocates. She facilitates trainings in the 5 Southwest states, using teaching techniques that engage workers and help empower them to lead their fellow workers in the fight for fairness in the work place. Prior becoming an Educator, Katie spend the better part of the last decade in the field organizing workers into collective action and collective bargaining. Katie has a Sociology degree from Colorado State University, and has continued her education through AFSCME Organizing and Training School; Advanced Campaign and Tactics School; AFL-CIO Popular Education and Teaching Techniques; Anti-Racism and Inclusion through the Summer Institute of Union Women (SIUW); Beyond Bias: An introduction to Implicit Bias through a collaboration of AFSCME and Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACES). When Katie isn’t training workers, you will find her hiking, biking, running, swimming, camping, traveling and enjoying a local beer. She resides in Long Beach with her true love, a dog named Stella.


Nancy Zuniga from Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) will be providing Spanish language interpretation for all three panels.



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February 24, 2018
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Rancho Los Cerritos
4600 Virginia Road
Long Beach, CA 90807 United States
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(562) 206-2040