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Harry Bridges Legacy

The Harry Bridges Endowed Chair and Center for Labor Studies were created to be jointly housed in the departments of Political Science and History at the University of Washington. The Chair and Center honor the legacy of one of the preeminent labor leaders in the U.S., the late Harry Bridges, outstanding founder and leader of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for over 40 years. As a tribute to Harry Bridges' memory, over one thousand contributors, spearheaded by current and retired members of the ILWU, raised the funds necessary to endow a faculty chair in his name in 1992.

Harry Bridges' unique combination of pragmatic organizing ability, democratic unionism, commitment to racial desegregation, and outspoken engagement with issues of social justice continues to serve as the touchstone of the Center's mission.

Supporting research, teaching, and community outreach, The Center focuses on labor's contribution to society. The Center promotes the study of labor in all of its facets - locally, nationally, and worldwide. Our mission is to develop labor studies, broadly conceived to include working men and women everywhere, as a central concern in higher education.

The Center coordinates the efforts of faculty members throughout the University of Washington to develop and expand labor-related components of the University's curriculum. We also provide encouragement and assistance to young scholars studying work and workers.

The Center also provides a meeting place where people from the academic world, the labor movement, and the community can exchange ideas and insights. We sponsor activities in the community in order to bring issues of concern to the widest possible audience.

In September 2001, in honor of Harry Bridges' 100th birthday, the Center for Labor Studies was formally rededicated as the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. We continue to build upon Harry Bridges' legacy in our work.

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Bridges Center Staff

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Bridges Center Standing Committee

The Standing Committee is comprised of faculty from the History and Political Science Departments. This group supervises the functions of the Bridges Center and helps to plan a program of activities in consultation with the Harry Bridges Chair and Bridges Center Coordinator. The Standing Committee also oversees the role of the Center within the University and community, and awards grants and prizes.

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Bridges Chair Emeriti

Former holders of the Bridges Chair remain actively involved in the Center, taking leadership roles in developing programming for the Center, and serving as ex officio members of the Standing Committee.

  • David Olson - Political Science, 1992-1994
  • Charles Bergquist - History, 1994-1996
  • Margaret Levi - Political Science, 1996-2000
  • Michael Honey - Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Tacoma, 2000-2004
  • Dan Jacoby - Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell, 2004-2008
  • James Gregory - History, 2008-2012
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Bridges Center Faculty Associates

These University of Washington scholars are nominated by members of the Standing Committee, and invited to join the Bridges Center as faculty associates because they do outstanding work in an area related to Labor Studies. They come from all three of the UW campuses, and many different disciplines, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of Labor Studies.

Previous definitions of Labor Studies as concerned primarily or exclusively with organized labor have been overtaken by the political and economic realities of our times. Given the low membership in unions and the constant attacks on organized labor, focusing exclusively on this area would ignore the reality for the vast majority of workers in the United States and abroad. Instead, we view Labor Studies to be a broad area of inquiry that considers many aspects of working peoples' lives -- economics, discrimination and identity issues, immigrant experience, gender and family structure, participation in political processes, health and safety -- to name only a few. The focus is on those who labor and the conditions under which they live and work. Our faculty associates do work that is appropriately situated within that broader vision.

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Bridges Center University Associates

In addition to a network of Faculty Associates, the Bridges Center maintains a network of university staff members who regularly engage in labor studies on campus. Through attending Center events, organizing programs, or involvement in campus unions, these staff members help maintain a focus on the experiences of working people at the University of Washington.

University Associates, like Faculty Associates, are nominated by members of the Standing Committee, and represent a broad range of the work done outside the classroom at the University of Washington.

  • Susanne Recordon - Graduate Program Assistant, Political Science
  • Nancy Simcox - Manager, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health
  • Ed Vazquez - Lead Custodian, Building Services & Member, WFSE 1488
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Bridges Center Visiting Committee

The Visiting Committee members are drawn from organized labor and related public organizations. They provide important support and counsel to the Harry Bridges Chair and the staff of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.

  • Richard Austin - President, Pacific Coast Pensioner's Association of the ILWU
  • Larry Brown - International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 751
  • Steve Conway - Washington State Senator, 29th District
  • Robert Duggan - Attorney, Co-Chair of the Harry Bridges Endowment Committee
  • David Freiboth - Executive Secretary-Treasurer, M.L. King County Labor Council
  • Richard Gurtiza - Regional Director, Inlandboatmen's Union
  • Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney - Washington State Representative, 46th District
  • Jon Halgren - International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 98
  • Ted Hansen - International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 52
  • Karen Hart - President, SEIU Local 925
  • Bob Hasegawa - Washington State Representative, 11th District
  • Holly Hulscher - Vice President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 23
  • Jeff Johnson - President, Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Verlene Jones - President, A. Philip Randolph Institute - Seattle Chapter
  • JoAnne Jugum - Seattle Public School Teacher
  • Ian Kennedy - International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 52
  • Jeanne Kohl-Welles - Washington State Representative, 36th District
  • Thomas Lux - International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 751
  • Ronald Magden - Historian Emeritus, Tacoma Community College
  • Dean McGrath - President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 23
  • Terri Mast - Secretary Treasurer, Inlandboatmen's Union
  • Robert McEllrath - International President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union
  • Ross Rieder - President, Pacific Northwest Labor History Association
  • Bob Rogers - International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 19
  • Lila Smith - Inspector, International Transport Workers Federation
  • Conrad Spell - Former President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 23
  • Herald Ugles - Washington Area Arbitrator, ILWU/PMA
  • Emily Van Bronkhorst - Vice President, Service Employees International Union, Local 1199NW
  • Eugene Vrana - Former Director of Education, International Longshore and Warehouse Union
  • Joseph Wenzl - International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 52
  • Cam Williams - President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 19
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