The Institute sponsors seminars, discussions and publications that focus on free trade unions as the expression of the fundamental right of freedom of association--a right guaranteed in all major international human rights conventions and essential to the health and well being of democracy as well as the stability and equitable growth of the economy.
These rights have been eroded in every region of the world, partly as a result of economic changes flowing from globalization, most prominently the emergence over the past four decades of globalized finance capital that has weakened business ties to local and national economies. This development has greatly diminished the leverage that workers and their organizations have with relation to employers. One of the results has been a massive redistribution of wealth to the top tiers of society, and the deep weakening of independent, free labor movements. The Institute's programs explore this phenomenon in research, publications and sponsored events, from three-person panel discussions to international conferences.
This conference is part of our efforts to focus light on new thinking in the labor movement and and new initiatives in labor organizing, viewing them critically in the light of ongoing union imperatives of cultivating member activism and involvement, fostering democratic self-governance and building the collective power of working people.
The Supreme Court: From Guardian of Rights to Extremist Majority with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and AFT President Randi Weingarten
National Union Presidents Mark Dimondstein, Christopher Shelton and Randi Weingarten discussed their common good victories in the courts, in the legislature and at the bargaining table.
Book discussion on sectoral bargaining with David Madland, Larry Cohen, Lynn Rhinehart and César F. Rosado Marzán.
Discussion of "Mutualism: Building the Next Economy from the Ground UP" with author Sara Horowitz and Randi Weingarten
Strike for the Common Good Book Discussion with editor Rebecca Givans and Joe McCartin, Georgetown University. Monday, January 25, 2021, 5:00 pm ET.
In The Teacher Insurgency, Leo Casey addresses how the unexpected wave of recent teacher strikes has had a dramatic impact on American public education, teacher unions, and the larger labor movement.
Union activists and leaders, labor scholars and elected officials discussed the strategic lessons of the ‘Teacher Insurgency,’ the post-Janus work of public sector unions, the potential of sectoral bargaining, organizing among millennials and federal government legislative and policy initiatives on behalf of labor organizing.
Discussant: Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teacher and the Albert Shanker Institute
A wave of teacher strikes in the 1960s and 1970s roiled urban communities. Jon Shelton illuminates how this tumultuous era helped shatter the liberal-labor coalition and opened the door to the neoliberal challenge at the heart of urban education today.
Our panelists will examine a number of different figures and moments in the history of the AFT from a variety of different perspectives.
Our guest author is Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, author of "Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy" and a member of the Albert Shanker Institute Board of Directors.
I was saddened to read of the death of Bob Edwards, who for 24 years hosted NPR’s Morning Edition with a mix of gravitas and wit. For people of a certain age, he was, said NPR’s Susan Stamberg, “the voice we woke up to.” The obituaries noted that when, in 2004, he was fired at age 57, just shy of his 25th anniversary at NPR, listeners erupted in outage.
I got to know Edwards very casually when we overlapped as board members of the Albert Shanker Institute, and he shared his views on the role of labor in a democratic society. NPR listeners loved Bob Edwards for his fundamental decency and respect for people of all backgrounds. Those values were at one with his belief in the importance of a strong American labor movement.
On this Labor Day, 2023, the Shanker Institute reposts AFL-CIO President and Shanker Board Member Liz Shuler's "Inaugural State of the Unions Address" as prepared for delivery on August 29, 2023.
Good morning, everyone!
To our union family and friends here in the House of Labor, and everyone watching along: Thank you for being part of this new Labor Day tradition.
Every year, we’re going to come together and talk about where working people stand in this country.
The story we’re going to share with you today, at this inaugural State of the Unions, is our story as working people. It’s the story of a number — 88% — which I’ll come back to in a few minutes.
But first I want to reflect on what we just heard from our speakers here today.
Every day, I travel this country and I talk to workers — workers in unions, of course, but also working people who aren’t yet part of a union. And this is what I hear from them:
I don’t feel good about my future.
I need to make more money. I need a stable job. I wish I could afford a home. I wish I had some power over my work and my life right now.
There is a reason that song, Rich Men North of Richmond, is the number one song in the country right now. For a long time, working people in this country have felt powerless. They’ve been powerless.
But here is the truth we’re going to talk about today:
Working people are reclaiming our power.
Working people are taking on the companies that have exploited us for a long time now.
The State of the Unions is on the rise.
The Shanker Institute turns 25 years old this month!
The Shanker Institute was formed in 1998 to honor the life and legacy of AFT President Al Shanker. The organization’s by-laws commit it to four fundamental principles—vibrant democracy, quality public education, a voice for working people in decisions affecting their jobs and their lives, and free and open debate about all of these issues.
From the beginning the Institute has brought together influential leaders and thinkers from business, labor, government, and education from across the political spectrum. ASI continues to sponsor research, promotes discussions, and seek new and workable approaches to the issues that shape the future of democracy, education, and unionism.
Society’s youngest members have received some pretty big mentions recently—and for good reason. The United States isn’t heading into a childcare crisis any longer; it is fully in it. The already struggling industry was hit especially hard by the pandemic and has impacted families across the nation. The childcare crisis is so pervasive that President Biden prioritized childcare and prekindergarten stating, “if you want America to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to preschool” in his State of the Union address.
In the audience, several U.S. Representatives brought individuals directly impacted by the childcare crisis as their guests of honor. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts brought Eugénie Ouedraogo, a mom and nursing student who depends on access to affordable early care and education. Senator Patty Murray of Washington brought Angélica María González, a mother who experienced firsthand the lack or quality care for her children and a Moms Rising advocate. Senator Murray took her statement of support beyond who was sitting with her to what she was wearing. Senator Murray organized Democrats in the House and Senate to wear pins in the shape of tiny crayons to signal support for childcare funding, as President Biden proposed at the beginning of his administration. In an analysis of the State of the State addresses given by governors, First Five Years Fund found that the childcare crisis was an important issue on both sides of the aisle, with 40 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats talking about it. However, of the governors who specifically mentioned early childhood education as a priority for their states, only one in four governors referenced the childcare workforce and the struggle to find, recruit and retain workers. While these are exciting developments (especially in contrast to Donald Trump’s one 16-word sentence in his State of the Union in 2019) why is so little of the conversation centered around the early care workforce? The priority seems to be getting parents with young children back to work with affordable childcare.
It is with great sadness that the Albert Shanker Institute acknowledges the passing of former longtime Shanker Institute board member, Thomas R. Donahue, 94. Donahue was President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO and spent his life as a champion of organized labor and democracy at home and abroad.
Upon hearing the news, American Federation of Teachers and Albert Shanker Institute President Randi Weingarten shared, “Thomas Donahue understood and fought for decades the waves of unrestrained corporate power that undermined workers and their unions. His voice is missed. Condolences to his wife, Rachelle, and his family” on Twitter.
Collective Bargaining and Digitalization: A Global Survey of Union Use of Collective Bargaining to Increase Worker Control over Digitalization
A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute. In the eighth of these essays, guest authors Eckhard Voss and Daniel Bertossa discuss the future of collective bargaining in the face of increasing digitalization.
In “Collective Bargaining and Digitalization: A Global Survey of Union Use of Collective Bargaining to Increase Worker Control over Digitalization,” WMP consultant Eckhard Voss and PSI expert Daniel Bertossa discuss what the future of collective bargaining looks like in the face of increasing levels of digitalization. Through an in-depth evaluation of seven key areas affected by digitalization, the authors discuss the deficits in collective bargaining, before approaching the herculean task of confronting them.
A.I.’s Impact on Jobs, Skills and the Future of Work: the UNESCO Perspective on Key Policy Issues and the Ethical Debate
A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the first of these essays.1>
In “A.I.’s Impact on Jobs, Skills and the Future of Work: the UNESCO Perspective on Key Policy Issues and the Ethical Debate,” Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General at UNESCO, discusses how artificial intelligence does not necessarily need to be a boogeyman. If AI is developed with people in mind, then the inclusive possibilities of AI are infinite. Ramos discusses these possibilities, and the path to get there, while focusing on the key issues of gender and discrimination.
A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. Each week for the next nine weeks the Shanker Blog will feature one of these essays. This is the introduction to the series by NEJPP's founding editor, Padraig O'Malley.
This keynote Speech was delivered by guest author Norman Hill, President Emeritus, A. Philip Randolph Institute at the 2022 APRI Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD (edited). Normal Hill was also the staff director for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
As I approach 90 years young, it is especially gratifying to do so here in Baltimore. You know me as president emeritus of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, which I was privileged to help organize and lead for 37 years, from 1967 to 2004. I traveled the country to 200 APRI chapters we founded to mobilize Black trade unionists, to organize voter registration and participation campaigns, to build the essential coalition of labor and the Civil Rights movement, and to pursue the struggle for racial and economic justice.
Happy Labor Day!
The famous adage to call for solidarity, “an injury to one is an injury to all,” is most often used by labor unions in times of struggle, like a dangerous or unfair practice by the boss or during strike. These times of struggle have been occurring across the country. My own home state of Minnesota saw the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals strike last spring for improvements to better meet the needs of students and strengthen their professions and the Minnesota Nurses Association Is on the verge of a strike 15,000 MNA members strong for better patient care. These unions, and those the AFL-CIO identify on their national strike map, have seen injuries on the job, from physical injuries that may come from unsafe staffing in a hospital to damage large class sizes, teacher shortages, and disrespectful pay for paraprofessionals do to teaching and learning. Unions, like these, see that “an injury to one is an injury to all” wraps up both patient and nurse, or educator, student, and family—the kind of common good bargaining the Shanker Institute continues to support.
The emergence of the global knowledge economy has revolutionized the nature of work in America – for the worse. Unionized, well-paying private sector jobs that were once a ladder to the middle class have been decimated.
A discussion featuring Han Dongfang, Founder and Executive Director of China Labour Bulletin.