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2008.03.11 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

Brennan Institute Labor Conference Set for April 5 at UNO

Omaha - The William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will host the ninth annual Labor Community Conference Saturday, April 5. “Promoting the General Welfare” is the event's title and overarching theme.

The daylong conference runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at UNO’s Milo Bail Student Center, third floor.

Norman Hill will speak at the conference’s opening session. Hill, a longtime civil rights activist and past president and executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, will address the role of unions and collective behavior as related to the Declaration of Independence and the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Details of the conference’s three core workshops are as follows.

“How new ways of organizing work undermines the concepts of solidarity and community,” by Charley Richardson, director of Labor Education Program at the University at Massachusetts at Lowell

The U.S. labor movement is built upon a number of important American values and principles. Among them are the notions of solidarity and community, which are natural products of the common experience and regular interaction among employees as they work together. As a result of new technologies and ways that work is being reorganized, workplace interaction is being diminished - workers today are literally “working alone.” This workshop examines trends like automation, monitoring, work intensification and outsourcing that are increasingly isolating workers at work, and it will look at the impacts on solidarity and community as well as possible responses.

“How behavior-based safety programs do nothing to reduce or mitigate workplace hazards and shift the blame for injuries onto employees,” by Nancy Lessin, Massachusetts AFL-CIO health and safety expert

America is the richest country on the face of the earth, and yet more Americans are working longer hours for less money than just 30 years ago. As a result, many workers are toiling with reduced alertness, and employee health and safety suffers. Increasing insurance costs have driven employers to look for ways to reduce accidents and illnesses in the workplace. An employer strategy growing in popularity is “behavior-based safety.” Learn how this strategy does nothing to reduce or mitigate workplace hazards and shifts the blame for injuries and illnesses squarely onto the shoulders of employees.

“How our local, state and federal tax system works and doesn’t work to benefit the average tax payer,” by Matt Gardner, tax and economic policy specialist for Citizens for Tax Justice

Government exists at all levels to protect us and promote the general welfare of the populace. It’s our tax dollars that pay for government. How much is your fair share? How much is Warren Buffett's fair share? How has the tax on work and the tax on dividends changed over the last 50 years? What's the difference between progressive and regressive taxation? What's the real cost of tax incentives to get business to relocate or expand? What's so fair about the so-called Fair Tax? Learn more about the underlying principles behind taxation at the local, state and national levels.

The day’s closing session will feature Robin Williams, associate director for Civil Rights and Community Action for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Williams will address how to put the information learned at the conference to work in the community and the workplace.

Tickets cost $20 for students and $30 for the general public through March 28. After March 28, tickets cost $30 for students; $40 for the public. On-site registration the day of the conference begins at 8 a.m. The conference fee includes lunch. There are five CEUs available for social workers who attend the entire conference.

Twenty $20 student scholarships are available on a first come, first serve basis. Simply identify yourself as a student when registering to take advantage of this opportunity

To register for the conference, or for more information, call (402) 595-2344. Visit http://www.unomaha.edu/~wbils/lbrconf.html for more information about the conference.

* *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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