Kalmanovitz Initiative Fellow Stephen Lerner to Speak at Advancing Worker Rights Conference

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Advancing Worker Rights

Kalmanovitz Initiative fellow Stephen Lerner will speak at the Advancing Worker Rights conference hosted by the Worker Institute at Cornell University on April 17 and 18, 2015.

The conference marks the 80th anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act, the 70th anniversary of the Industrial and Labor Relations School, and the 150th anniversary of Cornell University.

Advancing Worker Rights will assemble leading labor activists, policy makers, labor lawyers, and academics to address pressing contemporary issues, including prospects for reform, especially to enhance collective and individual rights of workers covered by or excluded from the NLRA. Stephen will speak on the opening panel entitled “From Here to Where?” with Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice; Lynn Rhinehart, general counsel of the AFL-CIO; and Rick Hurd, professor at Cornell’s ILR school.

Stephen Lerner is a labor and community organizer and architect of the groundbreaking Justice for Janitors campaign. Over the past three decades he has organized hundreds of thousands of janitors, farm workers, garment workers, and other low-wage workers into unions, resulting in increased wages, first-time health benefits, paid sick days, and other improvements on the job.

A leading critic of Wall Street bankers and the increased financialization of the U.S. economy, Stephen argues the growing power and influence of the finance industry has led to record income inequality and served as the primary driving force behind the creation of overwhelming debt obligations seen at the state and local level. He advocates for the use of non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic to challenge the influence of Wall Street and corporations.

Stephen is a frequent contributor on national television and radio programs and has published numerous articles charting a path for a 21st century labor movement focused on growth and meeting the challenges of a global economy.