MA Labor Educators "Squaretable" meets to discuss popular education and the Occupy Movement

Participants came from the 4 UMass Labor centers, from several unions (SEIU 615, SEIU 1199, UNITE/HERE, MTA) and from 2 labor-related community based organizations: United for a Fair Economy and WILD.

In the morning, special guest Negda Martinez, a popular educator from Nicaragua, shared her experience teaching peasants in her country. Jeannette Huezo, from UFE, then told us of her work doing popular education with rural cooperatives in El Salvador before she came to this country. Despite the obvious differences between working with the rural poor in Central America and with largely urban working people in the US, we all found useful lessons from the Central American experiences that we can try to apply here.

The afternoon session was devoted to a discussion of how we as labor educators can best relate to the Occupy Movement. Some of the ideas we discussed were the possibilities of offering workshops at the Occupy Boston site itself; educating our union members about the Occupy movement; and using the excitement about the Occupy movement to generate interest in workshops about the issues that Occupy has brought to the fore, such as income inequality.

The Labor Educators Squaretable -- so-called to distinguish it from the Mass. Workers Education Roundtable-- is an open group of labor educators who meet 3-4 times a year to discuss issues of mutual concern and to sharpen our skills in our field. We use our meetings to pilot new curricula, share materials and methods, and discuss how to respond to current events.

If you are interested in joining the Labor Educators Squaretable, contact one of the UMA Labor Extension Coordinators (Go to "Contact us" in the main menu) and we will put you on the email list.

Related Photos

Negda Martinez recounts her experiences as a popular educator in Nicaragua
There's simultaneous translation for English-speaking labor educators