The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association will hold its Year 2000
conference on May 19, 20 and 21 in Tacoma Washington.
We call for proposals around the theme:
From Artisanship to the Information Age: Lessons in Labor's struggle.
Who wins and who loses when changes in the nature of work produce
new kinds of jobs? While creating immense profits, mechanization and
cybernation have often meant deskilling, loss of jobs, and the destruction
How have changes in technology and the means of communication affected
How have workers and their communities struggled to obtain a fair share
of the wealth they produce?
How can we apply what we know of that history to struggles for economic
These are among the questions to be addressed at the year 2000
PNLHA conference. Here are some suggested areas of focus, covered through
a single presentation or through a panel.
1. ORGANIZING IN THE INFORMATION ECONOMY
Where is the new organizing going on among doctors, faculty, graduate
students, media, health care, academic, and service workers, and
production workers in places like Intel and Microsoft?
What is the history of such organizing, and what are the major issues
2. TECHNOLOGIES OF RESISTANCE AND CONTROL
That technology can undermine workers control on the shop floor is widely
recognized: Remote surveillance by management, expert systems and mass
production displace of craft, skill and professional knowledge. Still,
new technologies offer different opportunities for labor to resist and to
make their voices heard.
How has labor used technology to its advantage?
3. RACE, POVERTY AND GENDER IN THE INFORMATION AGE
The transition from industry to the information age has been accompanied
by the loss of millions of jobs, the shredding of unions, and increasing
economic inequality, with disastrous impacts on less educated workers,
many women, and communities of color.
How have people of color and women been marginalized by recent economic
changes. How can they obtain economic justice?
4) COMMUNITIES OF SKILL, PAST AND PRESENT
Workers identities and their communities are often lodged in what they
do. Yet with each workplace innovation skill is redefined.
How has skill united or divided workers? As we approach move towards
becoming an information economy, what can we learn from the past?
5) ORGANIZING BY TRADE OR INDUSTRY--WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Labor unions may be organized by craft, profession, occupation,
workplace or industry. Each type of organization creates its own
imperatives. A key assumption of the information age is that knowledge
is more important than ever.
If so, how does this affect the choice of an organizing unit, and does
the past give us any help in understanding this issue?
6) SCHOOLS, LABOR AND KNOWLEDGE WORK.
Education is increasingly the dividing line between economic haves and
have nots. Organized labor is concerned with schools as agents of
citizenship, trainers, and cultural awareness.
When and how has labor effectively worked with educators to advance its
We invite you to submit proposals for papers or entire panels on these or
related topics. PNLHA is a local society comprised of trade unionists,
local historians, and academics. Proposals should include a one page
synopsis and a brief bio of the presenter(s). Papers and talks are not
restricted to regional inquires. Send inquiries to Daniel Jacoby (see below)
Please send proposals by Dec. 1, 1999.
University of Washington,Bothell,
22011 26th AVE SE, Bothell, WA 98021.
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