Register for the 2021 PNLHA Conference Now!


A Pacific Northwest Tradition for Over 50 Years

The 2021 PNLHA Labor History Conference is here! Here is a link to the final conference program that you will need to attend the sessions.This program contains Zoom links to all conference sessions, session descriptions, and speaker bios. This program also contains links to the PNLHA general membership and business meetings.

Friday, June 25

5:00 PM (Pacific Time)                   Welcome and Introduction               
Tom Lux, PNLHA President               
Jo Blake, King County C.L.U.W. President

5:15 – 6:00 PM  (PT)                      
Elise Bryant: We Did Not Come This Far To Turn Back Now

6:00 – 7:00 PM  (PT)                      
Video and Songs
Solidarity Notes Labour Choir 

7:00 PM and on (PT)                    
Zoom Social

Saturday, June 26
9:30 AM (PT)                    
 Welcome and Introduction               
Tom Lux, PNLHA President               
April Sims, Secretary-Treasurer, WSLC

9:40 – 10:30 AM (PT)                      
Bill Fletcher Jr. The Rattle from the Rightwing Populist Snake:Trump, Jan. 6, and the Implications for Organized Labor 

10:30 – 11:15 AM (PT)                  
Panel Discussion: Essential Voices of Frontline Workers
Jane Hopkins, SEIU 1199NW; Martha Elana Sonato, PCUN; UFCW Local 555; UNITE-HERE Local 8; Hospital Employees Union, BC; Conor Casey (mod.)
11:15 – 11:30 AM (PT)                   

PNLHA Annual Awards              
Labor History Person of the Year               
Labor History Maker of the Year

11:30 – Noon (PT)                           

Noon – 1:00 PM (PT)                    
Workshops/Panels/Videos1) Working in the Woods: Archives, Labour, and Forestry in British Columbia
Henry John, Dave Lang, Claire Williams

2) Love & Solidarity: James Lawson and Nonviolence in the Search for Workers’ Rights
Michael Honey
3) Educating Young Workers to Build Activism
Ephraim Weisstein
4) A Century of Radical Labor History in the Pacific Northwest
Kim England, Aaron Goings, James Gregory

1:00 – 1:15 PM (PT)                        BREAK

1:15 – 2:15 PM (PT)                        
1) Racialized Bodies: South Asian Labour and the Activities of the BC Organization to Fight Racism
Anushay Malik, Bailey Garden
2) Striking Switchmen: Railroad Worker Unrest and Unionism in the United States and Canada, 1888 – 1917
Kevin Kipers
3) March of the Innocents
4) Red, Green and International
Rosalinda Guillen, Michael Schulze-Oechtering, Cindy Domingo

2:15 – 2:30 PM (PT)                        BREAK

2:30 – 4:00 PM (PT)                      
PNLHA Annual General Membership and Business Meeting

Register for the PNLHA 2021 Conference here!

Download Conference Program here!

 This conference is free to participants and open to all. 

Register now for the 2021
PNLHA Labor History Conference

Colorado Labor History Group Sponsors Online Discussion


The Colorado Labor Education Collaborative is sponsoring an online talk on “Building Worker Power in the Covid-19 Era.” Join in Thursday, May 6, 2021, 6:30 p.m. MDT.

The CLEC is the newest affiliate to the North American Labor History Network of which the PNLHA is a founder.

New Video History of Bend Labor


Central Oregonizing: An Audio-Visual Labor History Of Central Oregon

May 1st is International Workers’ Day—a worldwide holiday born right here in the U.S. in Chicago labor’s 1886 campaign for the eight-hour workday.

Spouse of Bend Bulletin striker pickets

We can celebrate by learning some of Central Oregon’s labor history.

Michael Funke, host of KPOV’s Radical Songbook, narrates a half-hour presentation—“Central Oregonizing”— that covers more than 100 years of local labor history below.

“This is not a complete history by any means,” says Funke. “It is a work in progress developed over several months of research and conversations with local and national union activists and historians.”

KPOV listeners are encouraged to watch the presentation and send comments, questions, and suggestions for more avenues of research to Michael at

Farmworker’s union leader Dolores Heurta visits Bend

Online Forum focuses on Canada-U.S. labor history


The PNLHA assisted with a virtual forum March 23 focused on the historical differences in approaches to political engagement between Canada and the United States. Alvin Finkel of the Alberta Labour History Institute spoke from the Canadian perspective and flight attendants president Sara Nelson offered her views on the American side. Nelson also reported on her visit to the Amazon organizing drive in Alabama.

Click here to view the program. Use password: du1?HR39

Sara Nelson reported on the Amazon organizing drive in Alabama

KBOO, KSKQ, KMUZ and KPOV Feature Working Oregon


Working Oregon has been featured on Portland’s KBOO Labor Radio Show, the Brain Labor Report at KSKQ Community Radio in Ashland, KMUZ’s labor show in Salem, and KPOV’s Radical Songbook in Bend. KBOO host Lane Poncy, KSKQ host Wes Brain, KMUZ host Bob Rossi and KPOV host Michael Funke interviewed author Ron Verzuh about the 90-page booklet’s many entries on the history of Oregon working people. The links to the show are posted below.

A limited number of booklets are still available. Request a copy:




2021 PNLHA Conference Call for Papers


You are invited to be part of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association annual conference: June 25 – 26, 2021

Our annual conference will be on-line this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and, by necessity, will be streamlined and shorter.
We invite proposals for academic research, panels, individual presentations, interactive workshops, drama, music, and other forms of presentation. Workshops that we are not able to fit into the conference may be selected for webinars leading up to the conference.
Our goal is to have our program reflect the multi-generational, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, gender-diverse history of the working class and how we will together create a better future for working families.
The PNLHA brings a history of struggle for labor and human rights to the forefront of our consciousness. For over fifty years, we have explored regional, national, and international issues, and used music, drama, and re-enactments, talks and papers to highlight labor history.  

We welcome presentations and workshops based on the theme All Labor Has Dignity: Workers’ Creativity & Resilience, or other topics of interest.

Proposals due by January 31, 2020
Please send a short summary of your proposal and a brief biography of all presenters to Conor Casey, at email Or to Tom Lux at email Or by mail to PNLHA, 17502 47th Ave. NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155.  

Oregon Labor History Quarterly Fall 2020


The Fall 2020 edition of the Oregon Labor History Quarterly contains an announcement about a new PNLHA chronology booklet, a look back at unions and the Spanish Flu of 1918, the first Labor Day remembered, and news from other labor history societies. The edition also includes book reviews, a free Zoom conference, “Covid Chronicles” in British Columbia, a remembrance of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in Britain, a feature on police unions, and another on the history of postal unions now battling to save the postal service.

Oregon Labor History Quarterly Summer 2020


The Summer 2020 edition of the Oregon Labor History Quarterly includes information on proposed bylaw changes and where to vote, where to see a new musical on racism and the fight for social justice, and where to hear one of our favorite labor troubadours. Also noted is a film on the women’s emergency brigade during the 1936-1937 autoworkers sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan. Other items: labor radio on Covid-19, workers’ action during the pandemic, a celebration of the eight-hour movement, and more labor history resources.

Oregon Labor History Quarterly Winter 2019-2020


The Winter 2019-20 edition of the Oregon Labor History Quarterly contains conference announcements, calls for papers, awards, new studies, novels, films, and lectures. And it’s all about labor history. This edition also features a roundup of Oregon radio labor programs and a look at other labor history associations in the United States. Send feedback to

2020 PNLHA Conference Call for Papers


Call for Presentations, Workshops, and Displays

Newcomers: The impacts of 250 years of immigration on indigenous economies, the labour movement and work

52nd Annual Conference of the Pacific Northwest Labour History Association

with the BC Labour Heritage Centre and the Labour Studies Program at SFU

Friday night May 8 – Sunday noon May 10, 2020

Simon Fraser University – Downtown Harbour Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia

Indigenous peoples in the lands now known as the Pacific Northwest enjoyed strong and diverse relations of trade and exchange before contact with Europeans. Despite the vital role of Indigenous workers in early resource industries, ongoing colonization and commercialization eventually resulted in the systematic exclusion of First Nations from fishing, logging, trapping and other economic activity on their lands.

Immigration enabled these processes, but was also highly stratified. This conference will examine the methods and impacts of those measures, and how successive waves of migrants have been received through a lens of labour history, racism & exclusion, reconciliation and new forms of organizing.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • First Nation economies – then and now
  • Why they came – opportunities and broken promises
  • Exclusion and attraction – political determinations around immigration and refugees
  • The role of organized labour in giving welcome or advocating exclusion, and advancing equity
  • Continued racism and discrimination – Farm workers, domestic workers, temporary foreign workers
  • Reconciliation and de-colonization
  • The connection between attacks on unions and precarious work
  • Music, theatre, poetry, film, memorabilia and visual arts

We invite proposals for panels, individual presentations, academic research, workshops and other forms of presentation.  Interactive sessions are preferred, and the reading of papers is discouraged.

Please send a short (1 -2 page) proposal to Joey Hartman at

  • Summary of your workshop or presentation
  • Anticipated duration (typically 30, 60 or 90 minutes)
  • Presenter(s) name(s) and contact information, plus a short bio and vitae of presenter(s)
  • Audio / Visual requirements

DEADLINE:  December 2, 2019. We will respond by January 10, 2020.

For more information:  1-778-870-0703

Oregon Labor History Quarterly Fall 2019


The Fall 2019 edition of the Oregon Labor History Quarterly has been expanded to include more labor history background on current labor news issues. It also features a special section of excerpts and summaries from some of the presentations at the Portland conference in May. See the full newsletter below.

Working Oregon – A Labor History Chronology


Did you know that the great pro-labor writer John Reed, author of Ten Days That Shook the World, was born in Portland, OR, in 1887, that Dr. Marie Equi was selected to spread some of Joe Hill’s ashes, or that the Portland newspaper strike was the longest in Oregon history, lasting from 1959 to 1965.

Working Oregon recalls these and hundreds of other events in Oregon’s working past, providing a roadmap to the lives and struggles of the Beaver State’s workers and their union.

As an ongoing project of the Oregon PNLHA, we welcome your input. Publication date and purchasing information will be posted at and by contacting Oregon trustee Ron Verzuh at 

Conference 2019 Report: More than 200 attend in Portland


labor history-4345-X3

The Oregon PNLHA is pleased to report that the 51st annual conference, held May 3-5 in Portland, was a resounding success.

In commemoration of 1919 as a key year in labor history for both the United States and Canada, conference organizers chose the theme “General Strike 1919-2019: Radicalism, Repression, and Solidarity.” It recognized the Seattle and Winnipeg General Strikes and other significant labor movement events that occurred that year.

Of the more than 225 participants, 138 were from unions, 30 had university or college affiliations, 11 were students, and 12 were with non-profit, advocacy or non-school or non-union groups. Evaluations show that they appreciated the breadth and quality of the program as well as the diversity and size of participation.

About 80 people attended our Friday evening program and reception and were entertained with two artistic reprisals of general strikes of 1919. Former Oregon vice-president Ron Verzuh introduced and showed a video custom-produced for this conference by the director of a new musical on the Winnipeg General Strike called “Stand!” which included the movie trailer.

This was followed by a unique and enlightening re-interpretation of select songs from the rock opera, “Seattle, 1919” (which tells a story of the Seattle general strike). Rob Rosenthal, half of the duo that composed “Seattle, 1919,” introduced each selection and Earle Peach (Vancouver, BC musician) and Janet Stecher and Susan Lewis (Rebel Voices, Seattle) performed their rousing new arrangements of the songs. A spontaneous discussion followed, creating a great sense of camaraderie and inquiry for the next day and a half.

The first plenary, “1919–General Strikes & Global Solidarities,” focused on the historic events of 1919. Jim Gregory (University of Washington), Rob Rosenthal (professor emeritus, sociology, Wesleyan University) and Rob Mickleburgh (Canadian journalist and author) discussed the Seattle and Winnipeg General Strikes in historical perspective.

Georgetown University’s Lane Windham added her own perspective on another important 1919 landmark – the founding of the International Labor Organization. The plenary was very well attended and the panelists engendered a great deal of interest from the overflow audience.

The second plenary, titled “The New Labor Movement-Historical Roots & Contemporary Struggles,” featured a keynote presentation by Lane Windham, whose recent book, Knockin’ on Labor’s Door, focuses on some of the hitherto discounted labor activism of the 1970s, placing it in the larger context of 20thcentury U.S. labor history.

Contemporary Portland area labor organizers Margaret Butler and Luis Brennan connected the dots to local labor struggles like the Powell’s book campaign and the ongoing Burgerville workers’ struggle.

More than 17 workshops and panels were held Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning (Program link here).  Some of those that were particularly highly rated in the program evaluations included Sista in the Brotherhood, Labor and International Trade, The Protest Song as Art, Red for Ed, The Care Revolution, Demanding Dignity: Work from Farm to Table, Work the Indian Way(s). and several others.

The conference planning committee strove to connect historical topics with contemporary labor struggles and to address issues of diversity in labor organizing.  As always, younger workers attended our conference to share views on the history of our movement.

Our Saturday Awards Banquet was the best-attended event of the conference. Co-winners of this year’s PNLHA Person of the Year Award were former SEIU 503 and 49 leader Alice Dale, and local labor educator and activist Norm Diamond.  Both gave stirring accounts of their development as leaders and their connections to the heritage of PNW labor activism.

Our Making History Worker Award this year went to the Portland Burgerville Workers’ Union, a chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World.  Two of their membersEsther Mann and Emmett Schlenzwere on hand to accept the award and inspire the audience with their contemporary vision of Wobbly unionism.

Following the awards presentations, activist singer-songwriter David Rovics fired up the crowd with a rousing set of original and diverse social justice, political, and labor songs, many highlighting the Pacific Northwest.

Thirty-six participants completed the evaluation question. Of those, 24 said the opening night was excellent or very good. The plenaries earned an excellent rating from 23 and 11 found them very good. Eighteen participants said the Saturday awards banquet was excellent and 10 said it was very good.  Overall, 19 participants rated the conference excellent, 10 very good, and four good.

This conference realized a modest financial surplus that will be used for future Oregon PNLHA projects and activities. The following sponsors and donors made it all possible:

AFM Local 99, AFSCME Local 328, AFT Oregon, Bakers Local 114, Portland State University’s Conflict Resolution Program, PSU History Department, IAM Local 1005, IAM Local 63, IAM Woodworkers District W24, IBEW Local 48, KBOO Radio, University of Oregon’s Labor Education and Research Center, Members and Friends of Labor, Northwest Labor Press, Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Oregon AFL-CIO, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon School Employees’ Association, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, PNLHA British Columbia, Rebel Voices, SEIU Local 503, Teamsters Local 162, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, United Steelworkers District 12 and several individual donors.

Next year’s PNLHA conference will be held in Vancouver, B.C. Consult for details and a Call for Presentations. For more photographs of the Portland conference:

Summer 2021 Oregon Labor History Quarterly

This edition covers the Amazon drive, the new labor secretary, a national first in new bargaining units, an update on Working Oregon, plus book previews, a labor economics quiz, and much more. Send feedback and suggestions to Ron Verzuh at

Oregon Labor History Quarterly Spring 2021

The Spring 2021 edition of the Oregon Labor History Quarterly highlights Black History Month, International Women’s Day, new musicals, musicians, plays, books, and a report on Working Oregon, the labor history chronology now in circulation. Also highlighted are forthcoming virtual forums and conferences, commemorative events, A labor history quiz, and more. A special supplement is devoted to the oral history work being done by PNLHA members.