WISE Workshop/Conference Series


What is the WISE@Wayne conference series all about?

The Labor Studies Center at Wayne State University has created the WISE (Workers in Solidarity & Education) conference series that is committed to the teaching and learning of workers through innovative and advanced labor education programs. Our WISE educational events focus on empowering workers by strengthening highly sought after skills including leadership, communication and strategic planning.  WISE@Wayne conferences will also provide the space for workers from various industries, occupations, experiences and backgrounds to connect through common struggles and identify effective strategies that build solidarity and power in their workplaces, unions and communities. 


"Together We Rise"
Thursday, October 4-Saturday, October 6, 2018 
at Detroit's Greektown Casino-Hotel

Link to Conference Brochure

Registration Page

Conference Agenda

Advanced Workshops

  1. One of a Few, Representing Many:  Collective Bargaining Immersion 
    (Course Code:  CBIM)
    Experience the collective bargaining process from A to Z with interactive exercises and scenarios.  You will learn the legal foundation, ground rules and decision-making process involved in the bargaining process.  Practice table tactics, writing contract language and strategies to avoid impasse.
  2. The Young, the New and the Restless:  Empowerment Through Knowledge
    (Course Code: RREYW)
    Are you new to a union workplace?  Do you want to understand how unions operate and how to better position yourself for engagement and recognition within your organization?  Well, this course is for you!  Participants will gain valuable knowledge and insight into the internal workings of most labor organizations, including an introduction to organizing, representation, collective bargaining and political action.  Participants will also discuss the importance of activism and why worker engagement is most valued and beneficial to workplace power.
  3. Strategic Grievance Handling:  Building Workplace Power By Involving Workers in the Process
    (Course Code:  SGH2)
    Learn to be strategic when representing your union, building workplace power and advocating for workers.  Strategic grievance handling is an advanced approach to labor relations that explores how problems can be used to build worker involvement.  Attend this workshop to better understand how to position yourself throughout all steps of the grievance procedure and how grievances can make a greater collective impact at the workplace.
  4. Sharing Our Experiences:  Build Solidarity and a Community of Workers Through Union Communication
    (Course Code: SOE2)
    How do unions use its meetings, publications, flyers, web pages and social media to communicate with union members and build solidarity?  In this course, you will practice how to develop good, value added content that brings people together to solve problems, create opportunities for engagement and focuses on building worker solidarity.
  5. Planting Seeds:  Creating Opportunities and Developing Leaders of Color 
    (Course Code: PSCO)
    This course will challenge and inspire the next generation of labor leaders.  You will gain powerful strategies to help you advance to the next level of leadership while building your network of fellow leaders and mentors.  This course will help you evaluate your leadership styles and strengths and then offer leadership development tools and strategies so you can learn how to go from entry level to organizational decision-maker.
  6. Getting Down to Union Business: Using Parliamentary Procedure to Run Effective Meetings 
    (Course Code: GDTB)
    This hands-on course is designed for people who are new to parliamentary procedure or those who want a refresher on the fundamental concepts of effective meeting procedures.  You will practice a set of well-proven rules and concepts designed to move business along in meetings. 
  7. Building Bridges:  Advancing Social Justice Unionism Through Labor History and Civil Rights Education
    (Course Code:  ASJ)
    How can all workers build power together?  Learn to build your capacity to advance workplace and community justice while examining labor history and civil rights education.  In this workshop, you will examine historic events of our past while addressing issues workers are faced with today.  During this session, participates will learn how to engage in honest and complex cross-cultural dialogue, while using history, to rededicate themselves to an inclusive fight for racial, social and economic justice.  

Conference Fees 
$575 (this includes $75 meal payment).  UAW-Ford, UAW-Chrysler, UAW-GM and USW tuition assistance pays $500 and the student is responsible for the $75 meal payment fee.

Scholarships Available 
The WSU Labor Studies Center is excited to offer partial scholarships that are applied to the WISE conference fee.  The scholarship application is located on the online registration page or you may request a scholarship application by contacting the Labor Studies Center's office at 313-577-2191 or email laborstudies.wayne.edu.

Payments in the form of check, money order or tuition assistance voucher should be received by the Labor Studies Center no later than 9/14/18.  Due to high demand and limited capacity, the Labor Studies Center encourages you to register and pay for the WISE conference ASAP.  You will not be confirmed until full payment is received.

Checks and money orders should be made payable to: Wayne State University. 
Labor Studies Center, Wayne State University 
         656 W. Kirby, 3178 FAB  
         Detroit, MI  48202 
         Fax: 313-577-7726 or Email:  laborstudies@wayne.edu

Location and Lodging
The Workers in Solidarity & Education (WISE) conference will be held at the Detroit Greektown Casino-Hotel, a unionized property. For lodging, a block of rooms has been reserved on a first come, first serve basis at the discounted rate of $149.  Contact the hotel directly to make your room reservations by 9/9/18.  Greektown Casino-Hotel, 555 East Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI.  1-877-424-5554

October 2018 Sponsors

sponsor logo

Labor Studies Center Awards at WISE Conference

Don't forget to submit your nominee for the 2018 Labor Studies Center Awards!

Link to Nominate

1. WSU Labor Warrior:  The Warrior Award is presented to an individual who has exhibited unwavering strength in the struggle for labor rights. Nominees must be a Labor School alumni.

2. WSU Labor Educator:  This Award recognizes efforts, achievements and exceptional service in the field of labor education. This award honors and celebrates labor educators with the imagination to innovate the labor movement through labor education.

3. WSU Labor Visionary:  Labor Visionaries work to build collaborations between workplaces, communities and labor organizations to improve the lives of working families. This award honors outstanding leaders in our midst. You need not be an elected officer to be a visionary leader, but this awardee must epitomize excellence in labor and/or community leadership.


"The Building Bridges Conference: Connecting our Struggles and Identifying Strategies to Build Strength and Solidarity"
February 15-17, 2018 

Picture Gallery



Students at WISE Conference













































February 2018 Conference Sponsors