Session 1: Saturday, June 2nd: 10:00 - 11:50am
This panel examines the use of the history of labor and community organizing of poor and working-class black people to address issues of racial and economic inequality. Race, labor, worker exploitation, and unemployment were all intertwined and deeply impacted by the restructuring of the postwar global economy and the rise of neoliberalism. In such, this panel will discuss how black people responded successfully and unsuccessfully through grassroots organizing for labor and social justice activities. Dr. Godfrey Vincent of Tuskegee University will present the importance of The Conference of Sharp Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO) and organizing of Oil Fields workers in Trinidad and Tobago in the Era of George Weekes. Mr. Roger Toussaint, a former president of the New York Transit Workers Union, will present how the TWU Local 100 faced off against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki. Dr. John Tilghman of Tuskegee University will discuss how Robert Cheeks, president of the Baltimore Welfare Rights Organization openly challenged downtown development and isolation of poor and working-class black residents from residency and employment in the Inner Harbor. John R. Tilghman: Robert Cheeks vs. The Inner Harbor: The Rise of Neoliberalism in Baltimore Roger Toussaint – The Case of the 2005 New York Transit Workers Union (TWO) Strike Godfrey Vincent- A New Form Of Worker Organization: The Conference of Sharp Stewards and Branch Officers (COSSABO)
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From 2001-2009, he served as the President of TWU Local 100, representing 38,000 workers in New York’s subways and buses, mostly at New York City Transit, but also numerous private companies related to transportation in the greater NY area. During his tenure there, faced off against Mayor Bloomberg and Gov Pataki, he led the historic Dec 2005 NYC Transit strike. Roger Toussaint served as International Vice President & the Director of Strategic Planning for the Transport Workers Union of America until 2012. Roger was also an officer at the International Transport Federation of the International Confederation of Trade Unions. He served on the Executive Council of the Coalition of Black Trade Unions (CBTU), as a Trustee for the New York City Employee Retirement System and several other retirement and health funds. Haven lived most of his life in New York, Roger currently resides and works out of the Atlanta Georgia area consulting with and training labor and other social justice activists and leaders
Full Name of Speaker:
At Tuskegee University, Dr. Godfrey Vincent is a Associate Professof History in the Department of History and Political Science, as well as the Co-Coordinator of the Integrative Public Policy and Development. Dr. Vincient is the co-Editor of Contended Perspectives of Neoliberalism and has published in Journal of Labor and Society. Vincent is completing his manuscript called "Rebels at the Gate: The Oil Field WOrkers Trade Union in the Era of George Weekes.