LRAN 2021 Conference: “What Did Workers Teach Us in 2020?”

LRAN 2021 Conference Request for Proposals

LRAN 2021 Conference: “What Did Workers Teach Us in 2020?” The 2021 Labor Research & Action Network Conference will be held virtually this year June 16th – 18th.

If 2020 has shown us anything, it is that workers’ fight for dignity and respect on and off the job is as important, and resilient, as ever. In so many ways, the last year brought to the fore the widespread and deep inequality, systemic racism, and anti-worker policies that have plagued the U.S. for decades. Meanwhile, the movement has long been preparing for this moment of opportunity for meaningful change in the wake of 2020’s upheaval. There will be no going “back to normal” in 2021 and at this year’s LRAN conference, we hope to encourage discussion, sharing, and strategizing that embraces a more just future by honoring what workers have taught us in this past tumultuous and often tragic year.

LRAN invites participants from universities, unions, worker centers, policy organizations, and others involved in the work of labor justice to submit proposals for one-hour sessions that address one of the following tracks:

  • Alternative Organizing Methods – How worker organizations have responded to restrictions around in-person meetings and created new ways to connect and bargain.
  • Lessons Learned from the recent uprisings for racial justice – Translating momentum from the streets to our workplaces and organizations (unions, worker centers) to support real change.
  • Crisis Capitalism, Crisis Unionism – What examples of essential Worker power have we seen, or can we encourage in the face of pandemic profiteers?
  • Election 2020 – Examples include: how we continue to fight anti-worker and anti-BIPOC/immigrant/LGBTQ ideology under a new administration; the union vote.
  • Mutual Aid and Community-centered Organizing – Labor connections to broader movement goals and alliances. Examples such as efforts to enforce moratoriums on evictions and rent hikes, distributing food and supplies, and meeting other critical needs for vulnerable workers and neighbors.
  • Redefining Worker Safety – Taking advantage of renewed interest in the often unseen and under-enforced regulatory realm of health and safety.

LRAN conferences have always included a broad range of workshops proposed and organized by attendees from labor, NGOs, and academia. Past workshops have included the topics of privatization, racial and gender justice, worker power in the logistics supply chain, strikes and power, the gig economy, coalition building, the public sector, and more. Proposals that include a range of participants from different fields or perspectives (i.e., academics and union activists and organizers), and that clearly detail a focus on research-to-action case studies or new research skills will be prioritized. Past workshop formats have included: panel presentations, trainings, paper presentations, video showings/discussion, and moderated roundtable discussions.

Submissions are due by Friday, March 12, 2021. Please utilize the linked Google Form to send your submissions.

*This year, while we will hold the conference virtually, LRAN will be working to organize optional (and safe!) satellite gatherings in select cities if possible, to facilitate a bit of conviviality and networking. If you are interested in helping organize or attending a safe LRAN event in your city this summer, please reach out to Jason Tomlinson ( with an email and let us know.

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