Class Description: In U.S. workplaces, our laws provide very little guidance about conditions on the job. It’s left to employers and workers to reach an agreement about wages, hours, benefits, and other terms of employment. Acting alone, individual workers have limited power to improve or defend working conditions. By joining together as a union, workers identify their shared priorities and gain the strength and legal rights to make meaningful improvements for themselves, their families, and their communities. This workshop will provide an overview of the process for forming a union, common challenges workers face, and the difference workers can make by organizing. Join us for an interactive and engaging discussion!
Special thanks: This class is made possible by the generous support of the Dubuque Federation of Labor and the University of Iowa Labor center.
About the Teacher: Robin Clark-Bennett is a labor educator at the University of Iowa Labor Center.
Robin began her work with the labor movement as a summer intern with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) in New York City in 1992 and 1993. Since 1994, she has worked as an organizer, regional organizing coordinator, and staff representative in several unions including the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU; later the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees, UNITE), the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Robin served as lead instructor and curriculum developer for a 2010-2012 U.S. Department of Justice funded regional public education project on the workplace nondiscrimination rights of immigrant workers, and has continued to coordinate several successful Labor Center partnerships and public conferences to provide community-based workers’ rights education as an outgrowth of this project.
Robin holds a BA from Yale University where she studied history, with an emphasis on U.S. labor history in the twentieth century. She is a member of AFT Local 716, a founding board member of the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, a member of the United Association for Labor Education, and past co-chair of the UALE Immigration and Globalization Working Group. She is fluent in Spanish.