Ideas at Work is the AFL-CIO’s ongoing series of panels, film screenings and other events that capture the activism happening in the workplace and around the country. These events are free and open to the public.
Panel Discussion on the International Right to Strike
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Nov. 7, 2019 – A Conversation with Steven Greenhouse: Beaten Down, Worked Up
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and journalist Steven Greenhouse discussed his latest book, America's labor history and how today's labor movement shapes the future of work.
Nov. 6, 2019 – Workers’ Right to Organize: A Discussion of the Need for Stronger Labor Laws
A viewing of the new documentary “American Factory” and panel discussion about the film, the challenges workers face while trying to organize and the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (S. 1306).
Sept. 25, 2019 – Can We Defeat Dog Whistle Politics?
A discussion with Ian Haney López on the evolution of dog whistle politics and his latest book, Merge Left.
July 23, 2019 – A Conversation with Co-Author Mary Gray on Ghost Work
A discussion with anthropologist Mary L. Gray on her latest book, Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass, a collaboration with computer scientist Siddharth Suri.
June 27, 2019 – Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Women in the Trades
A panel discussion on the tremendous work being done to recruit, train and promote women to leadership roles in the building trades.
June 11, 2019 – A Conversation with Author Robert L. Tsai
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and American University Professor of Law Robert L. Tsai discussed Tsai's bestselling book, the pursuit of equality throughout American history and practical models to address the injustices and inequalities still prevalent today.
March 27, 2019 – Film Screening and Discussion: Trafficked in America
A film screening and a panel discussion on migration and trafficking with writer and producer Andrés Cediel, Neha Misra from the Solidarity Center and Martina Vandenberg, president of the Human Trafficking Legal Center.
Sept. 20, 2018 – German and U.S. Unions: Shaping the Future of Work
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and German Trade Union Confederation President Reiner Hoffmann discussed the role of unions in shaping the work of the future.
Sept. 18, 2018 – Shifting the Power: Building Pro-Worker Policies From the Ground Up
A panel of union member elected officials will talk about why we need union members to hold public office, and how they have approached issues differently because they are union members. This Ideas at Work event begins at 12 p.m.
Sept. 13, 2018 – A Conversation with Earl Dotter
A discussion with photojournalist Earl Dotter on his latest book, Life's Work: a 50 Year Photographic Chronicle of Working in the U.S.A., along with an exhibition of selected work.
July 10, 2018 – Collective Action on the Rise: How the Labor Movement Can Sustain the Momentum of Change
A panel of workers and organizers discussed recent organizing victories and ongoing campaigns, and shared on-the-ground insights about what’s working and what comes next.
June 26, 2018 – What the Eyes Don't See
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, physician, activist and Flint, Michigan, water crisis whistleblower, discussed her new book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City with Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.).
June 18, 2018 – Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?
Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, discussed his book Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? and argued that limiting workers’ rights, liberating bankers, allowing corporations to evade taxation and preventing nations from assuring economic security, allows raw capitalism to damage the very foundation of a healthy democracy.
June 5, 2018 – Film Screening and Panel Discussion: Bayard & Me
Bayard Rustin, civil rights leader and organizer of the March on Washington adopted his younger boyfriend Walter Naegle in 1980 to obtain the legal protections of marriage. In this intimate film by Matt Wolf, Walter reflects on his relationship with Bayard, intergenerational gay adoption and its connection to the civil rights movement.
More Conferences and Events
On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe jobs. It is a day where working people come together to call for action on hazards that cause unnecessary injury, illness and death. We will stand united against the ongoing attacks on workers' rights and protections and demand that elected officials put workers' well-being above corporate interests.
Every four years, the AFL-CIO holds a convention to democratically elect officers. Elected delegates representing working people from across the country and from every job category come together to choose their leaders and express their policy preferences. Our convention adopts resolutions that guide the labor movement and improve the lives of working people. Openness, transparency and democracy are key components of how we work.
The AFL-CIO 2017 Convention was held Oct. 22–25, 2017, in St. Louis.