This year the topic of the programs and panels was organizing, especially in new and emerging sectors. National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler gave the keynote address. PA AFL-CIO President Bloomingdale gave the opening remarks, while Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder and Data Director Mike Johnson held a training on the update to Pennsylvania’s election laws under Act 77. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO applauds President Eiding for another successful and engaging opportunity.
Panel discussions included ‘Organizers on Organizing’ and ‘Worker Activists and New Organizing’. Organizers from UAW, PASNAP, IUPAT DC 21, and Sheet Metal Local 19 talked about resources and challenges facing organizing campaigns. Whether it’s using private group messenger apps or empowering workers to overcome fear, organizing campaigns today are adapting technology in the face of resistance and intimidation.
Philadelphia is also home to some exciting developments in the workers’ rights movement. As new sectors of work emerge, new styles of mobilizing and organizing workers are taking root. Last year, Philadelphia made history with the enactment of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights; their fight for dignity and respect was an inspiring address to the conference attendees. From graduate students to game and web developers, from media companies to public defenders, the panel of worker activists organizing their workplaces brought a new perspective to the group of conference-goers.
National AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler championed organizing young workers and non-traditional workplaces in her keynote address; in her time at the AFL-CIO she has emphasized organizing at every turn. She also explained the incredible impact of the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. “The PRO act will level the playing field for workers. We are up against forces that want to deny workers’ rights in favor of corporate greed.”