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Forum / Reading Events

July 1 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF
Labor's Civil War in California
Cal Winslow, PhD, author of Labor’s Civil War in California: The NUHW Healthcare Workers’ Rebellion (PM Press, 2010) and an active supporter of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), and Steve Early, labor activist and journalist, author of Embedded with Organized Labor will discuss the impending vote by 45,000 Kaiser workers to switch unions--a key turning point for the new independent National Union of Healthcare Workers.  What does this mean for the many Kaiser workers, patients, communities, health care advocacy groups, and others with a stake in the outcome?  The authors' books will be available for purchase and signing.

July 2 (Friday) 7:00 PM (Free)Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF
For All The People:  Uncovering The Hidden History of Cooperatives, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America
John Curl, author of this little-known saga of working peoples’ struggles for work place democracy, the commons, and prophetic social justice movements arrayed against the forces of capital and state power, which provides a guide to visionary changes in the ways we live, think, and work in a troubled 21st century.  John Curl is a working class historian, author of a memoir of the radical Sixties, eight volumes of poetry, translator of ancient poetry from indigenous languages, and in May was the USA representative at the World Poetry Festival in Caracas, Venezuela.
Slide show on this event.

July 3 (Saturday) 7:00 PM (Free)Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF
Alto Arizona: Rank and File Voices Walking in Solidarity With Immigrant Workers
Hosted byJames Tracy, poet, writer, housing activist.  On May 29th, 2010 many hundreds of rank-and file workers caravanned from San Francisco to Phoenix Arizona to join protests against the State’s attacks on the human rights of immigrants, evoking comparisons to the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Come hear a report back from Arizona, updates on future actions and share your ideas for organizing against scapegoating of immigrants.Reports from: Steve Woo (Asian Pacific Islander Delegation) Dorothy Royal (Community Housing Partnership/SEIU 10210) Ramses Teon-Nichols (SEIU 1021) Jah'Mocca Moet-Iman Samone  (Transgender Intersex Justice Project) and Alicia Soon (Young Workers United)

July 5 (Monday) 7:00 PM (Free) Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF
A Look at the Overlooked, on the Day after Independence Day

Alison Owings (, author of Hey, Waitress! The USA from the Other Side of the Tray and the forthcoming Indian Voices / Listening to Native America, will read excerpts from women talking about waitressing, especially the dependence/independence the work entails, and will read an excerpt from a Seneca elder about his nation's extraordinary efforts to be independent -- of the United States government. LaborFest discounted copies of Hey, Waitress! will be available for purchase.

July 6 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM (Free) Bird and Beckett  Bookstore -653 Chenery St., SF
Reading and Writing Workshop by LaborFest Writing Group
The LaborFest Writers’ Group works on exceptional projects of creative writing, poetry and fiction, non-fiction, and memoir on the themes of labor and working class life. The projects range from history to philosophy to fantasy. The group will present short readings from their own work. Then, a writing exercise will be given on the theme, Put the Struggle Back in Labor. Readers: Keith David Cooley, Margaret Cooley, Susan Ford, Adele Kearney, Phyllis Holliday, Jerry Path, Alice Rogoff.  

July 7 (Wednesday) 7:00 - 8:30 PM(Free) Alameda Multicultural Community Center - 501 Lincoln Ave. Alameda
Alameda Multicultural Community Center Longfellow Education Center. Bldg. A, Room 6, 501 Lincoln Ave. at 5th Ave. Alameda
Workshop: Labor and Native Sacred Sites
The San Francisco Bay Area has many Native Sacred Sites ringing the bay, in our cities and in the rural areas.  In the Bay Area, there are hundreds of sacred Shellmounds, most ancient burial grounds. They are held sacred by the original people of the area, the Muwekma Ohlone, who are still here, and other Native Americans. Development has destroyed, desecrated and compromised many of our Sacred Sites and more are being threatened on a regular basis. What are the challenges when development is proposed and/or approved to take place on a Sacred Site?  How can Native cemeteries be respected and, at the same time, labor be supported?  How can we work together?
This workshop will provide an historical overview of the Muwekma Ohlone, a description of Sacred Sites of the area, and information about state and federal law governing Sacred Sites.
Corrina Gould (Chochenyo Ohlone), Shellmound Walk co-Founder, Indian People Organizing for Change, Johnella Sanchez (Shoshone Bannock), Shellmound Walk co-Founder, Perry Matlock (Anishinabe, Bad River), Shellmound Walk organizer, Local 510 Sign Display Union.
For more info: 510-521-9405

July 7 (Wednesday) 7:00 PM(Free) Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th St
A Poetics of Resistance: The Revolutionary Public Relations of the Zapatista Insurgency

By Jeff Conant reading and discussing his new book
Conant offer an engaging study for organizers to understand how the Zapatistas' strategy works, developing their messages of bottom-up revolution.

July 9 (Friday) 7:00 PM (Free) Kaleidoscope Gallery - 3104 24th St., SF
Working Class Voices Speak Out In The New Depression

Join poets and writers when they read and speak on the struggle of working people to survive in this desperate world. Millions of workers have lost their jobs and have no future in this brutal world. Hear their voices.
Revolutionary Poets Brigade including former SF Laureate poet Jack Hirschman along with Maketa Groves, Alejandro Murguia, Marc Kockinosj,  Jessica Loos, Francisco Orrego, Dottie Payne, Neeli Cherkovski, Kristine Brown and others.
For more information:

July 10 (Saturday) 11:00 AM (Free) Niebyl Proctor Library - 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
The Economic Crisis and A Program To Defend Working People
By International Discussion Group
With Raj Sahi, George Wright AFT Local 1493 and others
The last thirty years there has been a decline in the real wages of US workers.            
Today, workers are working more for less and their health and safety is under assault. Labor economists will discuss why there is an economic crisis in the system, who is paying for this turmoil in Capitalism and what the solutions are for working people in this growing depression and decline of the living conditions for labor.

July 11 (Sunday) 5:00 PM (Free ) City Lights Bookstore  - 261 Columbus at Broadway, SF
California Working Class Divas
City Lights Poetry Reading

With Julia Stein - Nancy Keane - Geri Digiorno - Michelle Baynes, MC Alice Rogoff
These four poets have extraordinarily contributed to writing, organizing literary events, and to working class culture. Julia Stein is an anti-sweatshop activist and with her group Common Threads won a libel/slander suit against Guess Jeans for a poetry reading she organized. She teaches at Santa Monica College. Her latest book, Walker Woman, has many poems about fighting cutbacks in a South-Central Los Angeles junior college. Nancy Keane started and has facilitated the 3300 Club poetry reading series in San Francisco’s Mission District. Her books include Symmetrical Reflections (3300 Press), and And Then There Were Nine (volume two), being released 2010. Geri Digiorno is the founder and director of the Petaluma Poetry Walk, going into its fifteenth year. She was Poet Laureate of Sonoma County 2006-2007. Her books include White Lipstick (Red Hen Press) and Rosetta Mary (dPress). She also teaches poetry at homeless shelters and at a shelter for battered women.
Michelle Baynes had her first book published in 2008 (New Way Media) called Homeless in Petaluma based on the thirteen years she worked with the homeless. Her favorite job was street outreach. She is currently working on another book, Off the Street, with poetry, stories, artwork, and pictures by the homeless, as well as a new book of her own work.

July 13 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM(Free ) Farley’s - 1315 18th St., near Texas, SF
Labor Storytelling in The New Depression
Expendable people: Catching up with the needs of humanity. The LaborFest Writers’ Group featuring Keith David Cooley, Susan Ford, Nellie Wong, Phyllis Holliday, Jerry Path, Alice Rogoff  along with musicians featuring Margaret Cooley, Mary Huber and Eric Shackelford plus guests present a dialogue of spoken word and music exploring today’s work force. Open mic to follow with your labor stories, poetry, music and songs.
For more information: Susan Ford  415-407-4297

July 13 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM (Free ) 522 Valencia - Near 16th St., SF
Labor and Privatization in San Francisco
A Panel Discussion

A panel with Gray Brechin UCB, Jane Glasby SEIU 1021, Mary Ann Ring UCSF, Peter Warfield Library Users Association and others. Rose Aguilar, Host Your Call Radio KALW will moderate.
The fiscal and economic crisis is now being used as a pretext to privatize public resources and the public commons. It will also look at the effort of the privateers to pit public workers at those who use public services in the drive to privatize.
This forum will discuss the drive for privatization and outsourcing of public resources of the Federal government, state and local government agencies from UCSF and San Francisco State to City services and the San Francisco Community Access station.

July 15 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free ) Berkeley City College Auditorium -2050 Center Street, Berkeley
75th Anniversary of Social Security
In a panel discussion with Q & A following speakers will address the history of Social Security and the role of the first woman cabinet member, Frances Perkins, in pushing for it; the threat to privatize and dismantle Social Security; and the struggle to repeal the GPO/WEP provisions.
Harvey Smith, WPA historian
Jodi Reid, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Retired Americans
This event is co-sponsored by the Berkeley City College Social Science Department.

July 17 (Saturday) 1:00 PM (Free) ILWU Local 34 - 801 2nd St. National Educational Conference on
Biotech, Health and Safety, Labor And The Public
The first national conference on the issue of biotechnology, Nanotechnology, health and safety and the public will take place in San Francisco.
The growing dangers of the development of the biotech industry without proper oversight and regulation is a threat to workers in the industry and the public at large. This conference will outline some of the systemic problems in the protection of workers and the communities with no regulations and standards. It will also outline policies and procedures to protect biotech workers and the public as well as how these can be taken forward.
(Parking is available)

Initial Speakers:
Becky McClain - injured molecular biologist and injured Pfizer biotech worker
Dr. Larry Rose, CA-OSHA Retired Doctor from CA-OSHA Program
Sandy Trend, Mother of Injured Agraquest biotech worker David Bell
Daniel Berman, Author of “Death On The Job”
Sponsored by California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day (CCWMD) (415) 867-0628
Endorsed by Council for Responsible Genetics

July 18 (Sunday) 1:00 PM (Free) ILWU Local 10 Henry Schmidt Room  - 400 North Point St., SF
10th Anniversary Charleston Five Struggle
With ILA 1422 Leader
Screening of Free The Charleston Five
In 2000, ILA 1422 in Charleston, South Carolina was faced with a major attack. This Black majority local was a target by the state government in part because of their activism including seeking to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol.  The Nordana shipping line sought to go non-union and the state attorney general organized to bust up the local to stop picketing by mobilizing over 600 police, horses, armored vehicles and helicopters. The police arrested and charged five members who came to be known as the Charleston Five. The struggle was won with international solidarity action and organized support around the country. This event will commemorate the important lessons for today and will also include a ILWU Local 30 miner from the Rio Tinto mine in Boron, California. The miners were locked out by global Rio Tinto for several months.
Following the report on the Charleston ILA 1444 struggle, there will be a celebration of the victory of the first-ever successful U.S. labor protest against the Israeli repression of Palestinians. The dock demonstration demanded justice in the deadly IDF attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, an end to the blockade of Gaza and and dismantlng the apartheid wall in the West Bank. A short video of the picket will also be shown.
Sponsored by ILWU Local 10

July 18 (Sunday) 3:00 PM(Free) Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St. near 20th St., SF
"Stop calling it a 'Nation of Immigrants!"
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz will read her essay, "Stop calling it a 'Nation of Immigrants!" and discuss the erroneous perception of the Mexican border as a question of immigration, rather than settler colonialism dating to its establishment through a US war against Mexico, seizing half its territory.

July 19 (Monday) 7:00 PM (Free) 522 Valencia St. - Near 16th, SF
Forum - The European Struggle To Defend Public Education and Against Social Cuts
The event above was replaced by the following event due to family illness
Report On European International Labor Solidarity From Belgium
Due to a family illness Karl Fischbacker and Imi Voglmayr will not be able to attend. However Isabell Wagemans from Belgium who worked with will make a presentation on international labor solidarity work in Belgium supporting Latin-American, Palestinian and Southern African labor unions and NGOs. Wagemans has organized exchanges with Belgian and Latin-American labor unions and developed work shops on globalization.

Originally meant as a project to protect and build peace and stability, today the European Union and the countries in it, use privatization, deregulations and cuts in public spending as instruments to fight the crisis, as true neoliberal partisans. Also in its foreign policy, the EU tries to push its services and products in developing markets, forcing other countries to give up regulations. European labor unions are fighting back. Some interesting cases are the automotive industry experience in Europe (Volkswagen, Opel)) or the (former) textile industry. In Belgium, labor unions and NGO's are currently tying efforts in a nationwide 2 year campaign "Workers are not tools" - part of the ITUC campaign 'Decent Work, Decent Life'.

July 19 (Monday) 7:00 PM (Free)Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF 
The Sandinista Revolution and San Francisco
Alejandro Murguia, co-founder of the Mission Cultural Center in 1977, is a poet and writer who committed the ultimate act of solidarity in joining and fighting in the international guerrilla of the Southern Front of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.  He wrote the story in his novel, Southern Front, which he will read from, as well as some of his poetry, and talk about politics and culture, the legacy of the Sandinista revolution, which marks its 21st anniversary on this day.
Watch slide show of this event.

July 20 (Tuesday) 6:30 PM (Free) ILWU Local 10 Henry Schmidt Room  - 400 North Point St., SF
Screening of Bloody Thursday on the 1934 San Francisco General Strike

The 1934 San Francisco longshore strike which launched a general strike as a result of the murder of two workers Nicolas Bordoise a striking seaman and Howard Sperry a strike supporter in San Francisco and 4 other workers up and down the West Coast. This forum will screen the film and follow it up with a discussion on the lessons of this strike for today.

July 20 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM (Free) Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF
Anarchism and Its Aspirations
Cindy Milstein ( will discuss her new book, Anarchism and Its Aspirations. Anarchism has played an important role in U.S. labor movements and has experienced new life in the past two decades. Cindy is an activist and educator from Vermont who now lives in San Francisco. She serves on the board of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, co-organizes the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference, and is a collective member at Black Sheep Books. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies, including Realizing the Impossible, Confronting Capitalism, and Globalize LiberationX.

July 21 (Wednesday) 6:00 PM (Free) San Francisco Main Public Library - 100 Larkin St., SF
Please note - The time has changed from 7:00 to 6:00 PM
Angel Island: The Shanghai Connection
Book Reading
Judy Yung, author of Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America, explains the significant connection between Angel Island and Shanghai, from the Russian Revolution through World War II. Presented by San Francisco Public Library and the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

July 22 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) 522 Valencia - near 16th St., SF
30th Anniversary of 1980 Hotel Strike
With Video by Mary Ellen and panel of participants of 1980 hotel strile.
The 1980 San Francisco hotel workers strike was the most important hotel workers strike since the 1946 strike. This year when 9,000 San Francisco hotel workers are battling for a contract, the lessons of the 1980 strike are important for the struggle today.
Sponsored by Labor Video Project (415) 282-1908
Union City SF HERE Local 2 Organizing, Strikes and Struggles 1978-1980 Click here to watch this video
UNION CITY The San Francisco Hotel Strike of 1980
Click here to watch this video

HERE Local 2 and ARF Supporters at Commemoration of 30th Anniversary of SF Hotel Strike

July 22 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) Berkeley City College Auditorium  - 2050 Center Street, Berkeley
Another World Was Possible:
New Deal Expansion of Public Education During the Great Depression, and Its Contraction Now
In a PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Gray Brechin will chart the history of the New Deal’s support for public education, including the construction of schools and libraries for K-University institutions throughout the U.S.  This Depression-era support for education will be contrasted with the current attacks on public education.
This event is co-sponsored by the Berkeley City College Social
Science Department.

July 22 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free)Modern Times Bookstore - 888 Valencia St near 20th, SF
Down with Stereotypes! Conversations with Waitresses and Native Americans
Alison Owings (, author of Hey, Waitress! The USA from the Other Side of the Tray and the forthcoming Indian Voices / Listening to Native Americans, will read excerpts from both works. This evening will feature the tale of Beulah Compton, a waitress union leader in Seattle in the 1940's and 1950's, and Tom Phillips (Kiowa), a powwow emcee who also works as a drug counselor at the Friendship House American Indian Healing Center -- just blocks away from Modern Times. 
Slide show

July 23 (Friday) 7:00 PM (Free) 522 Valencia near 16th St., SF
The Founding of The UAW And The Lessons of The 1930’s Strike Wave For Today
Screening of the 1939 GM Tool and Die Strike (28 min. 1939) 
With Bernie Choden  and others
In 1935 the UAW was founded and the following year, massive worker occupations and striker were taking place in the auto industry. The film shows how the UAW organized to win their struggle at General Motors including flying picket squads, strike kitchens and an army organized to win. This was in the midst of the depression and the lessons of how these struggles were organized and overcame the most powerful titans in the world is critical today.

July 25 (Sunday) 9:30 - 5:00 PM (Free)Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts - 2868 Mission St., SF
LaborFest BookFair
3rd Annual LaborFest BookFair & Poetry Reading
(Click here for the schedule)

July 26 (Monday) 6:00 PM (Free) Plumbers’ Hall - 1621 Market St. at Franklin St., SF
Labor Jeopardy Contest
With Edward Hernandez Professor CSU-CFA Stanislaus.
Who founded the American Federation of Labor? What year was the National Labor Relations Act passed? Come join us in the second LaborFest Jeopardy contest. Using a jeopardy format, labor organizations from throughout the Bay Area will compete for prizes and pride while answering questions covering all areas of labor history and practice. Come cheer on your favorite team and learn something new in this fun and friendly contest.
Stanislaus playwright and CSUS-CFA Professor Edward Hernandez will be the master of ceremonies.
Labor Jeopardy study guide - web
Study guide in PDF (51 pages)
Special event before the Jeopardy:
SF Mime Troupe will also be performing some songs
The San Francisco Mime Troupe who are members of Actor Equity will be performing some of their songs from their new musical POSIBILIDAD, or Death of the Worker approximately at 6:30 PM.
“Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker,” the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s timely modern “tale of two factories, telenovelas and tango,” currently touring Bay Area parks, brings the effects of globalization on the world’s work force into sharp, satirical focus. The Mime Troupe – a worker-run Collective - does not perform silent pantomime, but instead parodies, or “mimics” society through story and song. “Posibilidad” cast members Michael Gene Sullivan, Velina Brown, Lisa Hori-Garcia, and Brian Rivera, joined by Musical Director Pat Moran, will perform a few songs from the show.
Synopsis of Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker
Anywhere, USA: another U.S. factory is closing its doors, and on the final day of work, one tired employee sits down on the job. “Oh no, a worker sit-in, an occupation!” thinks the hapless Boss. Actually, the tired employee’s just gone into labor – no pun intended – but before anyone can stop to think twice, the work force IS occupying the factory. Will these accidental organizers make the most of their plight? Can they successfully save their jobs without being tainted by – shudder – politics? And what can they learn from Mexican telenovelas and the workers of Argentina? Stay tuned to see what is . . . possible!
This will be followed by the annual SF contest "Labor Jeopardy" arranged by CFA professor Edward Martinez.

July 27 (Tuesday) 7:00 PM (Free) Redstone Building - 2926 16th St., SF
The History And Legacy of Local 4 Painter’s Leader Dow Wilson
With Retired Painters Local 4 BA Roland Sheppard, Painter Doug Bias and others.
Dow Wilson was a militant democratic union leader of the Painter Union Local 4 that played an important role in organizing and integrating the trades. He led his union in a stoppage on the Golden Gate Bridge until the Bridge District hired Black painters and ended the discrimination. He also fought the contractors and for democracy in his local. He was assassinated by painting contractors but his accomplishments remain. He is also memorialized in a mural at the Redstone Building. This panel will look at his role and the struggle today.

Herman Benson's article on Dow Wilson & the painters union
A Tribute To Dow Wilson-Part1(mp3)
A Tribute To Dow Wilson-Part2(mp3)

July 29 (Thursday) 5:30 - 7:00 PM (Free) IFPTE Local 21 Hall - 1182 Market, Room 318, SF
Panel: Bay Area Economic Stimulus Programs:
Accomplishments and Issues from a Labor Perspective
It’s 75 years since the W.P.A programs, but only a year and half since enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The intent of this act is to preserve and create jobs, invest in infrastructure, promote energy efficiency and to assist the unemployed.  How has it worked?  Featuring panelists Paul Bowers, Corps of Engineers, IFPTE Local 49, Cal Broomhead, Energy and Climate Programs Manager, San Francisco Department of the Environment, IFPTE Local 21, and Karl Kramer, San Francisco Living Wage Coalition.

July 29 (Thursday) 7:00 PM (Free) Richmond Main Public Library  - 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond
Privatization From The Richmond Charter Schools to The
Vivendi/Veolia Water Treatment Plant

With Charles Smith AFSCME 444, Mary Flanagan UTR, Diane Brown, president elect of United Teachers of Richmond UTR
Richmond is ground central in the drive to privatize public services from the Richmond sewage treatment system to the growing number of charter schools threatening public education. This educational forum will look at the impact of privatization of public services in Richmond and what the unions are doing to fight it.