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Get Politically and Socially Active for Empowerment

WBN Conference 2016

Presented by Mac-Z Zurawski, LiUNA Local 1001 Chicago, Media
and Policy Liaison for Ald. George Cardenas-12th ward Chicago

And an Adjunct Professor-Chicago State University Political
Science, Criminal Justice and International Studies.,
Twitter @maczzurawski, Tumblr,
FB Mac-Z Zurawski

Political and social action expands and transforms the
public opinion on the Labor Movement.  We
can begin to transform the view of politicians, friends, family and neighbors by
supporting and speaking our beliefs through activism.  Activism isn’t just walking a picket line it
includes: social media, letters to the editor and op-eds, joining the AFL-CIO
action network, book clubs, connecting to your local through meetings and
participation at events, attending local government meetings, writing a letter
to support unions to politicians, starting petitions on, speaking up
at the local school councils, creating a Women’s Committee at your local,
creating volunteer opportunities for union sisters to be seen publicly working
for the public good, working on political campaigns and much more.  The greatest challenge in becoming active is
defining your goal and the best place to successfully execute it.  

Step 1: Expand your knowledge of the
Labor Movement.  

The New York Times’ Steve Greenwood is the last union
reporter for a major news outlet.  Get
updated by checking out the NYT once a week.
If you are a book reader please see the list on the other side.  Plug Labor Movement into any internet search
engine and begin reading.  If you are a
visual learner go to YouTube for free videos on the LM.  Sign up for update and newsletters from the
Labor Press.  Start searching your
history to create your future.  Please
read and review this great article on unions from the AFL-CIO:
Learning is the first step.

Who is Mother Jones?
Diann Woodard? Dolores Huerta?

Resources include but are not limited to:

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.
Extensive history of unions and rebellion.

Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Elliott
J. Gorn. One of our foremothers.

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I chose this because it is the beginning of
the RTW controversy.

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.  I chose this for the economic backlash of neo
liberal economics we are currently fighting.

The Other Women’s Movement By Dorothy Sue Cobble. Extensive
history on women in unions.

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren and Robert

Household Workers
Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement
Hardcover by Premilla

Step 2: Define your goal of action

What is your goal for
becoming politically active?  The goal
should be dwindled down to an exact reason that you will be active: is it a
change to local political support for unions, to promote more women in unions,
a contract change, etc.  

Group Break 1: Define your action goal

Participants will break into groups of 10.  The purpose of the 10 minute roundtable
discussion is to create a goal for your actions.  What is the specific reason you want to get
involved more politically or socially?
Would you like your church to promote unions or are you a Hispanic woman
in an all white male dominated field that wants greater representation?  Are you more socially active than
politically?  Where you are active will
define your road to success in your goal.
The more specific the goal, the more likely to succeed.  

Group will convene in 15 minutes.  Each participant should write down their goal
and be ready to share.

Step 3: Where are you? Who are you?

The location of your lifestyle will have the greatest impact
on your activity.  Rural women may not
have a strong local government or easy access to politicians or social
groups.  Rural women may use Social Media
to create their goal.  This allows them
to discuss their goal across the globe.
It also allows them to receive resource information.   Metropolitan women may have easy access to
local politicians and social groups.
Which group can best help you attain your goal?  Never forget universities and colleges across
America are active in the Labor Movement.
The Labor Movement is intertwined with many movements including civil
rights movements such as Black Lives Matters, the Women’s Movement, Jobs with
Justice.  These outlets are open to
collaboration with the Labor Movement goals.
Can you connect with them?  What
are your strengths-are you a writer, a good organizer, have many friends at the
job, have a large social network?  

Group Break 2:  Where can
this goal be reached? and how can this goal be reached?

Go to
to find your elected officials.  Website
has extensive information on all major political issues.

Participants will break into groups of 10.  The purpose of the 10 minute roundtable discussion
is to create a place for your goal to be active.  

Where you are most active is where you can begin to work on
your goal.  All Politics Are Local.  Who politically represents you in your town,
city or state?  Which path is the easiest
and most effective for reaching the group, person or organization that can help
you reach your goal?  Are you active in
your local union and can they help?  Is
signing up with social media easier for you to get active?  Is going to a protest in the city
easier?  Define where you will begin with
your goal.  Do you have access to local
media to write op-eds or letters to the editor promoting unions.  

Step 4: Elevator Speech

The majority of people meeting on the street, in a grocery
store or at church have about 30 seconds to really chat.  These 30 seconds are about the amount of time
people usually get when they speak with politicians, present at social groups
and in general meeting.  You must create
a 30 second speech on why unions are important while including your goal.  You only have 30 seconds which is about
100-200 words.  Create an elevator speech
on your goal.

Tools of the Trade

Social Media-Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and FaceBook.  

Discussion-What’s more important the virtual or real
world?  how does social media affect you
and effect your community/union?  Why is
social media important to the Labor Movement? Who are you following, friending,
liking?  Does it matter?  How far does social media go in the real

Group Break 3: Individually sign up for social
media-Twitter, FaceBook, Google+.  If you
are already signed up create a Twitter storm and FB storm now.  #WOMENBUILDNATIONS

Step 5: Take
the Pledge

Sign the pledge to
be active in your union and the wider Labor Movement.  

pledge to be active for 5 hours a month in learning and participating in the
Labor Movement.  My goal is


I will contact the
following people, organizations or places by May 5th, 2016 to begin
implementing my goal. .



I will spend at
least 10 minutes everyday on social media specifically related to the Labor
Movement cause. Name the Social Media outlet_____________________________.

Place your initials
next to each pledge below.

I will search and
read at least one article per week on the Labor Movement-try the NYT, the
Journal of Labor Studies, or general Google search.___________

I will read at least
one book (for visual learners or audio learners please replace with a
documentary or audio book) every three months on Women in the Labor Movement.

I will vote in every
election. ___________________________

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