Agenda for Louisville Statement on Media Workers Rights

Agenda for Louisville Statement on Media Workers Rights: The Louisville Statement & Media Workers Unite Founding Convention

Agenda for Louisville Statement on Media Workers Rights

Tentative Schedule

October 8th – 11th, 2015

Louisville Kentucky

Note: The following schedule is subject to change as interest in the conference has skyrocketed in the last week and more speakers may be added. Check for the most recent updates.

To make donation to the convention please go here…

Thursday October 8th

Carl Braden Memorial Center

3208 W Broadway

Louisville, KY 40211

What is a Union?

9:00 – 9:30

John Paul Wright –  Folk Labor Reporter. Co-Chair, Railroad Workers United

A short introduction to the rank and file democratic union reform movement. The talk will focus on what type of unions we hope to form in the media industry and what we can learn from unions outside of the media industry.

What is a Braden Southern Organizer?

9:30 – 11:00

Moderator: Mike Elk – Member, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, POLITICO, In These Times.


Ira Grupper – Friend and Co-Worker of Carl and Anne Braden

John Paul Wright – Co-Chair, Railroad Workers United / Media Workers Unite

Howard Owens – Civil Rights Veteran, Carl Braden Memorial Center

Friends of Anne and Carl Braden will discuss the legacy of their work and how they inspired having the founding Louisville Statement and Media Workers Unite conference at the Carl Braden Memorial Center.

Movie: Pete Seeger and Carl Braden – Wasn’t That A Time?

11:00 – 12:00

Michael & Philip Burton’s 1961 film “Wasn’t That A Time” tells the story of the devastating impact of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) targeting of individuals they deemed “subversive” during the 1950s Cold War. The film focuses on Pete Seeger, Anne & Carl Braden and how HUAC impacted their lives.

Lunch Break

12:00 – 1:00

The Louisville Teach-In Movement

1:00 – 2:00

Kate LaffertyPatrick Danner and Mick Parsons are adjunct activists, Wobs in good standing, and the organizers of The Louisville Teach-In as part of the National Adjunct Walkout Day. Mick writes for LEO Weekly and teaches at the University of Louisville. Kate teaches at Jefferson Community Technical College and is studying PhD in Humanities program at UofL.

Patrick Danner is a PhD student at UofL, a teacher and an adjunct activist.

Strike City: Louisville’s Militant Rank-and-File History and the Current State Of Labor

2:00 – 3:15

Richard B. Becker is a Louisville-based labor activist and organizer. He has written for Insider Louisville and the LEO Weekly.

Alex L. Bradshaw is a Louisville activist and freelance writer focusing on issues of social and economic justice. He has written for the FORsooth, Z Magazine, and the LEO Weekly.

An Insider’s View: Why the Media Fails to Cover Labor? 

3:30  – 5:00

Moderator: Mike Elk, Labor Reporter, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. POLITICO. In These Times

Rank and File Workers from Kentucky 

William F. Paxton served as the Republican Mayor of Paducah, Kentucky when the ugly labor struggle and series of lockouts at Honeywell’s uranium enrichment plant  happened right across the river in Metropolis, Illinois In addition to being Mayor, Paxton Media Group owns the major television station and newspaper in Paducah, Kentucky across the river from Honeywell’s enrichment uranium facility in Metropolis, Illinois and failed to cover the story. Mike Elk will lead a discussion on why local labor stories are so rarely covered in the corporate media.

Friday October 9th, 2015

Nelligan Hall

2010 Portland Ave

Louisville, KY 40203

The Louisville Statement as a Global Media Struggle

9:00 – 11:00

Moderator: Ira Grupper, Veteran Louisville Labor Reporter & SNCC Organizer

Yair Tarchisty, Chairman of the Israeli Journalist’s Union

Nicholas McCallum, Yahoo News Australia Reporter, Australian Media and Entertainment, & Arts Alliance

Tannara Yelland. Staff Writer, Vice Canada. Canadian Media Guild.

European Federation of Journalists Representative via Skype

Most of the major corporations that American workers are attempting to unionize such as Buzzfeed, POLITICO, Huffington Post, the Guardian, and Yahoo are also global corporations.  International Media Workers discuss the struggles of media unions in their home countries and how media workers globally can help one another.

The Battle Against ALEC & County Level “Right-to-Work” in Kentucky

11:00  – 12:00

Moderator: Bill Londrigan, President, Kentucky AFL-CIO.

Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan gives a state of the labor movement in the Commonwealth including the fight that is being waged against ALEC backed bills that has lead to 12 counties in Kentucky voting themselves as “Right to Work”. Bill will examine how Louisville is at the cross current of so many different social movements in America and what the country has to learn from Louisville.

Keynote Lunch Address

12:00 – 1:00

Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer, Communication Workers of America, fired as a reporter union organizing at the Contra-Costa Times.

In June, 43 year old Sara Steffens beat the incumbent Secretary-Treasurer of the 600,000 member Communications Workers of America to become of one of the youngest female elected international labor leaders in the country. Steffens will speak about her experience as a reporter fired for union organizing at the Contra Costa Times and preview the fight ahead for digital media unionization.

The Evolution of The Bradens

1:00 – 2:30

Moderator: J.P Wright. Folk Labor Musician. Co-Chair, Railroad Workers United

Carla F. Wallace. Founder, Louisville Fairness Campaign / SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

Ira Grupper. Activist, Teacher, & Labor Reporter.

John Paul Wright will lead a discussion and Q&A on how people draw inspiration from the Bradens. We will discuss their work as CIO organizers, reporters, media workers,and civil rights activists and how we can draw on their example for our current work.

Media Unions & The Fight for Diversity

2:30 P.M. – 4 P.M.

Moderator: Joe Torres. Senior External Affairs Director, Free Press & New York Times Best-Selling Co-Author with Juan Gonzalez, “News for All People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media”.

Sanjay Rawal. Director, Award Winning Documentary Filmmaker of “Food Chains” produced by Eva Longoria.

Carla F. Wallace. Founder, Louisville Fairness Campaign

Newsroom diversity still lags far behind the national average. This discussion focuses on the financial and cultural barriers that prevent so many voices of color from being heard in the media. The panel will also look at what unions can do to make sure that voices of colors are heard in the newsroom.

Collectively Bargain For Better Journalism For All

4:00 – 6:00

ModeratorMike Elk. Labor Reporter, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. POLITICO, In These Times.

Sara Steffens. Secretary-Treasurer, CWA.

Yair Tarchisty. Chairman of the Israeli Journalist Union

Tim Martell. Executive Director, Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees. Dow Jones.

Adam Clark Estes. Reporter, Gawker Media. Writer’s Guild of America East.

As the media industry contracts, more and more reporters are becoming scared to stand up to their editors. Panelists will share their experience about how unions can protect editorial independence. The panel will look at the challenges that collective bargaining will face in the digital media industry both in the US and abroad.

Dinner Break

6:00 – 7:00

Joe Hill 100 Show:

7:00 – 9:00

MC – Mick Parsons, Freelance Reporter, The Lou. Secretary, Kentucky IWW.


Bonnie “Prince” Billy

Sue Massek

John Gage

J.P. Wright

Donna Wright

Walter Thomas Beck

The Joe Hill Players

The Louisville stop of the National tour commemorating centennial of the execution of Fellow Worker Joe Hill at the hands of the capitalist class.

Saturday October 10th, 2015

Nelligan Hall

2010 Portland Ave

Louisville, KY 40203


9:00 – 10:00

Connecting Digital Media Unionizing to White Collar Unionization

10:00 – 12:00

Moderator: Larry Williams, Jr. Co-Founder,

Sam Knight. Co-Founder, The District Sentinel News Cooperative (via skype)

Jenn Peat. Organizing Director Eastern Region, SAG-AFTRA

Tannara Yelland. Staff Writer, Vice Canada. Canadian Media Guild.

Louis Davis. Co-Founder,

The trend of unions in digital media has inspired conversations about how digital media unionization could inspire white collar organizing.  With the rise of news apps and online technology, it is becoming increasingly easier to reach white collar workers. How can we as a movement utilize digital media tools to reach out to these white collar workers.

Lunch Break

12:00 – 1:00

Charters Schools & The Digital Economy

1:00 – 2:00

Moderator: Jamie Horwitz, former producer of PBS show  “Focus on Education”.

Teachers from the Alliance Educators United of the United Teachers of Los Angeles will talk about how their experiences as white collar workers organizing and how that connects to the broader struggle.

Overtime & Its Effect on Our Health

2:30 – 4:00

Moderator: Colette Shade, Freelancer, Pacific Standard. former New York Daily News web editor

Max Lockwood, Freelance Sports Journalist. Health Coach, World Bank

Lou Greico, Administrative Officer, Detroit Newspaper Guild, longtime reporter Dayton Daily News

Email and the internet have quickly eroded the barriers that used to limit excessive overtime. Journalists, as well as other workers, are increasingly expected to work 50-60 hours a week. The panel will focus on the effect that excessive overtime has on our health. The Group discussion will focus on how we can take advantage of Obama’s new overtime rule to build campaigns to limit overtime.

Building Regional Media Worker Centers

4:00  – 5:30

Moderator: Norwood Orrick, Verizon Telephone Worker. IBEW Local 824 Tampa, Florida.

Mike Elk. Labor Reporter, Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. POLITICO. In These Times.

What can both reporters and union members gain by meeting on a regular basis and developing media worker centers. Norwood Orrick and Mike Elk will share stories of how labor-media monthly meet ups in Tampa and Washington, D.C. have helped reporters and union members understand one another better. We will seek to brainstorm about how we can lay the groundwork for media workers centers across the country.

Dinner Break

5:30 – 7:00

Screening Of Award Winning Documentary “Food Chains”

7:00 – 8:30

Moderator: Mike Elk. Labor Reporter. Washington-Newspaper Guild, POLITICO, In These Times.

Mike Elk served as a technical advisor on this Eva Longoria award winning documentary directed by Sanjay Rawal that looks at the failure of the US media to tell the story of farmworkers in the United States.

Sunday October 11th, 2015

10:00 – 12:00

“Feel the Bern” Workout

Cave Hill Cemetery

Freelance sports journalist and health coach Max Lockwood has developed a workout alternative for people with too much class conscious to pay for soulcycle. It’s a free workout routine called  “Feel the Bern”, where we are going to just going walking in a public park for free.

Solidarity Sunday

1:00 – the beer runs out

Come BBQ & Picnic at a Local Union Hall in Louisville. Location to be Announced.

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