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Netroots Nation: Your Ideas for the Labor Caucus, and other Labor Events

Netroots Nation 2010Thursday marks the start of the annual Netroots Nation gathering for online progressives, this year in Las Vegas, NV.

While there’s a number of labor-centric events happening at the conference, the highlight for labor activists has always been the Labor Caucus. This is the central gathering for everyone who’s interested in organized labor, working people, and related issues. While I’ve had the pleasure of hosting the caucus for the last two years with the AFL-CIO’s Tula Connell, I’m pleased to note that SEIU’s Matt Browner-Hamlin will be taking the reins with Tula. This year’s caucus is one of the last NN10 events, taking place on Saturday, July 24 from 4-5:15pm (PDT).

Last year’s Labor Caucus had more than 60 attendees, and should only grow this year. Tula and Matt are looking for your input on what the caucus should discuss this year. You can leave your ideas in the comments, and I’ll send them along to Tula and Matt. Here’s what I hope to see discussed:

  • Labor’s foes – like the Chamber of Commerce and Rick Berman – whom other progressive allies also fight, and how to better share knowledge and strategies
  • The role of labor as an independent movement versus that of a supporting actor for the Democratic Party
  • Best practices for labor organizations and supporters in organizing online
  • What can be done to advance the priorities of working people with an increasingly weak Congress and disinterested President.

Of course, the Labor Caucus isn’t everything for supporters of labor at Netroots Nation. The AFL-CIO has several events, including union beer tasting:

We will cover labor events while at Netroots Nation, including the “21st Century Economy” panel with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka; Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.); and others. If you’re at Netroots Nation, the panel is Saturday, July 24, 11:45 a.m. PDT.

We also will blog the panel, “Young Workers: Taking Charge of Our Future,” moderated by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, which takes place Friday, July 23, at 3 p.m. PDT.

There’s one labor experience at Netroots Nation we won’t be able to do justice to in online coverage—the AFL-CIO and Working America union beer tasting booth in the exhibit hall.

UFCW is also sponsoring a panel on Immigration Reform:

Immigration Reform’s Strange Bedfellows: The Surprising Consensus that Reform will Improve American Jobs and Bolster Our Economy

THURSDAY, JULY 22ND 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM

Panelists will discuss how meaningful immigration reform will be beneficial to our economy and society, due to overwhelming evidence that the current policy of enforcement-only action does not work and costs our country billions of dollars. This cycle creates a system of virtual slavery for many undocumented workers in the U.S. and drives down wages and benefits for all workers, immigrant and native-born, in many industries. Panelists will discuss various aspects of reform and how enforcement-only tactics are ineffective and hurt our economy, as well as ways in which the netroots can build coalitions around the issue.

And the Writers Guild organized a panel on freelancer unions:

Freelancers of the World, Unite! Unions for Permatemps and Freelance Workers

THURSDAY, JULY 22ND 4:30 PM – 5:45 PM

Permalance, freelance, precarious labor. More and more professionals are working outside of traditional employment models. A lot of the time it sucks, but it doesn’t have to. Freelance workers can join unions, and in some industries they have been doing so for decades. You’ll leave this panel with a deeper understanding of the freelance economy. We’ll also discuss organizing your workplace and look at various public policy changes that could help freelancers.

If I’m missing any panels, let me know, and I’ll update this post. See you in Vegas!

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Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.