Fri. October 11 -- 9am: ``Medicare For All & Its Competitors: A Debate``


As the health care sector continues to grow at an unprecedented rate – in part to meet the needs of an aging Baby Boomer population – organized labor and other working-class movements are mobilizing to protect and expand various health care programs. As support for “Medicare-for-All” has increased among voters, Democratic lawmakers have introduced a wide variety of health care reform proposals, ranging from single-payer plans, to other compromise plans that would preserve employer-sponsored coverage and employee premiums, but not necessarily guarantee universal coverage to all Americans. Many unions have refused to endorse a single-payer plan due to concerns that it might diminish organized labor’s appeal to workers as vehicle to gain health coverage. Read More

What then, should be organized labor’s position on Medicare-for-All? How do the costs of the current system affect workers and communities? What health care proposals best respond to the needs of working families, hard-hit communities, and small businesses? Who are the major players and what are the power dynamics at work in health care reform? What are health care corporate interests doing to shape, block, and/or delay reforms?

Fri. November 15 -- 9am: ``Going Big: Reversing Trump's Agenda & Modernizing Labor Rights``


Although union density is near an all-time low, labor activism has surged in many sectors. From adjunct faculty to video game developers, digital media workers, platform app drivers, and public school teachers, labor movement activism is growing in a number of key sectors. This is happening as many full-time jobs with benefits are disappearing, consumer/student debt is skyrocketing, the “gig economy” is expanding, and economic insecurity is increasing for American workers and families. Housing and child care costs – which heavily impact workers’ income, wealth, and health – have also become more burdensome for many families. Under President Trump, a number of worker rights and protections have been weakened or denied, including: Read More

• No movement toward federal minimum wage increase

• Weak overtime protections for salaried workers

• Allowing employers to self-report wage violations and escape penalties

• Siding with employers against rights of gay and transgender workers

• (Mis)classifying Uber drivers and others as independent contractors, denying them basic rights

• Continuing ‘Right-to-Work’ efforts kickstarted by Supreme Court’s Janus decision

• Restricting workers’ right to organize at franchised businesses like McDonald’s

• De-funding and weakening OSHA

What should be Democrats’ top policy priorities to strengthen all workers’ rights? What are the most significant gaps and weaknesses in protections for worker organizing and economic rights today? ‘Right-to-work’ laws? Legal constraints against strikes and other worker actions? Minimum wage? The growing numbers of workers who fall outside the protections of the NLRA? Lack of livable safety net benefits for displaced and underemployed workers? Lack of protections for flex/gig workers? What new policies would best promote stronger worker protections and greater economic justice?

Tue. December 3 -- 6pm: ``Democrats & Immigration: Humanitarian Crisis & Worker Protections``


What should be the top immigration policy priorities of a new Democratic administration, assuming an election win in 2020? What are the labor market, social, and political impacts of merit-based vs. more humanitarian immigration streams? What are the various impacts of these two streams on the labor movement and working-class communities? What are the various political and economic interests influencing the growth of the deportation and detention industry? In what different ways are U.S. communities and jobs dependent on this industry? What are the key political distinctions among pro-immigration forces? Should the mass decriminalization of migrants and refugees be at the top of an immigration reform agenda? As war and climate change promise to accelerate this world-wide migratory trend, what policy framework should organized labor and social justice movements support?