The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies
Organizing Our Futures:
A Public Forum on Labor, Knowledge and the Economy
Ensuring workers benefit from the emerging knowledge-based economy.



Intro |  When & Where |  Program |  Participants & Supporters |  Background Information
Organizing our Futures: Labor, Knowledge and the Economy

  • Chris Benner, Department of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University 
  • Charles Bofferding, Executive Director, Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)
  • Howard Jay Chizeck, UW College of Engineering
  • Marcus Courtney, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, Communications Workers of America, Local 37083
  • Anthony P. D'Costa, UW Tacoma Comparative International Development, UW Seattle International and the South Asian Studies Programs, Jackson School of International Studies
  • Joan Fitzgerald, Northeastern University, Professor and Director, Law, Policy and Society
  • Joe Gasperov, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Maine Clerks’ Local 63
  • Jim Gleb, Retail Director, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21
  • Larry Gold, American Federation of Teachers
  • Tom Gruver, Group Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation
  • Erika Gubrium, American Association of University Professors
  • Owen Herrnstadt, International Association of Machinists
  • Dan Jacoby, Chair, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington
  • Deborah Knutson, Economic Development Council of Snohomish County
  • Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Center for University Studies and Programs, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences UW Bothell
  • David Kusnet, Economic Policy Institute
  • Robert Kuttner, Founding Editor of The American Prospect
  • Sarah Laslett, Director, Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington
  • John McMasters, The Boeing Company
  • Gina Neff, UW Communications Department
  • David Rolf, President, Service Employees International Union Local 775
  • Rick Sawyer, Secretary Treasurer, UNITE HERE! Local 8
  • Sandra Schroeder, American Federation of Teachers
  • Mark A. Smith, UW Political Science Department
  • Stan Sorscher, SPEEA
  • Anjana Susarla, UW College of Business
  • Gene Vrana, Director of Educational Services, ILWU
  • JoeWenzl, Coast Committeeman, ILWU
  • Valerie Wilk, National Education Association
  • Ruth Windhover, Washington Education Association
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 174
  • International Longshore and Warehouse Union
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (IFPTE Local 2001)
  • University Bookstore
  • Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, Communications Workers of America, Local 37083


Chris Benner is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Labor Studies at The Pennsylvania State University, and a research associate at the Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the Sociology of Work Program at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and the Industrial, Organizational and Labor Studies Program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. He is the author of Work in the New Economy (2002) and co-author of Staircases or Treadmills: Labor Market Intermediaries and Economic Opportunity in a Changing Economy (2007). Benner’s research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns. His applied policy work focuses on workforce development policy, the structure, dynamics and evaluation of workforce intermediaries, and strategies for promoting regional equity. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a research associate at Working Partnerships USA, a dynamic non-profit advocacy organization in Silicon Valley working to rebuild links between economic policy and community well-being. Benner’s work has also included providing technical assistance to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), analyzing regional development strategies for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), evaluating workforce development programs for the Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and serving on technical advisory boards for the Urban Habitat Program (San Francisco), the Center for Policy Initiatives (San Diego) and the California Economic Strategy Panel. He received his doctorate in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Howard Jay Chizeck received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in 1974 and 1976, respectively, and the Sc.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982. From 1981 until 1998 he was a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio, serving as Chair of the Department of Systems, Control and Industrial Engineering from 1995 - 1998. He was the Chair of the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Washington from August 1998 through September 2003. Professor Chizeck's research interests include control engineering theory and the application of control engineering to biomedical problems and biologically-inspired engineered systems. Professor Chizeck was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 1999 "for contributions to the use of control system theory in biomedical engineering.” He is a member of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Technical Committee on Applications of Control to Biomedical Engineering. Professor Chizeck has worked with industry in the assessment and implementation of new technologies, biomedical instrumentation and medical device product development and testing, and the synthesis and evaluation of automation and control systems. He has been involved with nine technology-based start-up companies (two in San Diego, five in Cleveland and two in Seattle).

Marcus Courtney is President and Organizer of WashTech/CWA based out of Seattle WA. Marcus worked in Seattle’s high-technology industry for four years from 1994-1998. In 1997, Marcus began organizing tech workers and helped found WashTech in the spring of 1998, which affiliated with the Communications Workers of America in the fall of 1998. In January 2000 Seattle Magazine named Marcus as one of the nine leaders to watch in the new millennium. In the spring of 2001, Shift magazine named WashTech and Marcus as an innovator of the internet. Under Marcus’s leadership, WashTech has been recognized by major news organizations as a leading union fighting the offshoring of U.S. high-tech jobs. Marcus has also been featured on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight Exporting America series. Marcus was elected president of WashTech in September 2001 and in 2005 lead the effort in organizing 1,000 Cingular Wireless workers into WashTech.

Anthony D’Costa is a Professor of Comparative International Development and the South Asian Studies Program at the University of Washington. He specializes on the political economy of Indian and Asian industrial development. In addition to numerous academic and policy papers on the steel, auto, and software industries, he authored The Global Restructuring of the Steel Industry: Innovations, Institutions and Industrial Change (1999), India in the Global Software Industry (2003), The Long March to Capitalism: Embourgeoisment, Internationalization, and Industrial Transformation in India (2005), and The New Economy in Development: ICT Challenges and Opportunities (2006) He edits the “Technology, Globalization and Development” book series. He has been fellows of Fulbright-Hays, American Institute of Indian Studies, Social Science Research Council (Korea Program), the Korea Foundation, and Abe Program of the Japan Foundation. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Chicago and New Delhi, and editorial board of Asian Business and Management journal.

Joan Fitzgerald is professor and Director of the Law, Policy, and Society program at Northeastern University. She has taught public policy and urban planning at the graduate level for 16 years. Fitzgerald has written for a wide number of publications, including Economic Development Quarterly, Evaluation and Program Planning, Journal of Black Political Economy, and The American Prospect. She has also written policy papers for the Brookings Institution, the Education Commission of the States, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her recent book, Moving up in the New Economy (2006, Cornell University Press), examines the proliferation of low-wage jobs in strong economic times and a look at the effectiveness career ladder programs in facilitating career advancement for workers. A book published in 2002, Implementing Economic Development in Cities and Suburbs (Sage), explores how social justice and environmental sustainability can be incorporated into urban and suburban economic development strategies.

Joe Gasperov is a fourth generation ILWU member and has worked on the waterfront for nearly twenty-two years. He started as a casual in 1984. In 1988 he registered as a Marine Clerk Local 63. Positions hehas held in Local 63 from 1988 to present are: President (current position), Vice President, Secretary/Business Agent, Executive Board, Caucus Delegate, Dispatcher, and Labor Relations Representative. Along with being president, Joe is currently serving on the Coast Technology Committee which is responsible for dealing with the introduction of new technology at all terminals on the west coast. Joe has his Batchelor of Arts in Political Science from Cal. State University, Dominguez Hills.

Larry Gold has been Director of the Higher Education Department of the American Federation of Teachers since 1992. The Higher Education Department provides support services to the AFT locals that represent over 100,000 faculty and professionals. It also develops and implements AFT positions on higher education issues such as tenure, technology, part-time faculty and federal legislation.

Prior to joining the AFT, Mr. Gold was president of his own Washington-based consulting firm, Public Policy Advocates. The firm provided lobbying and policy analysis services in education, health, and social policy.

From 1981 to 1988, Mr. Gold was director of the Washington office of the City University of New York, where, among other things, he organized the National Pell Grant Coalition and the Coalition for Aid to Part-Time Students. From 1977-81, during the Carter Administration, Mr. Gold served in a variety of policy posts in the U.S. Department of Education, ending his tenure as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Mr. Gold attended New York University, and was a doctoral candidate in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland.

Thomas Gruver is a group product manager in the Business Division at Microsoft Corp., currently responsible for the Microsoft® Center for Information Work. The center is a prototyping facility and exhibit that demonstrates Microsoft’s vision for what productivity technology might look like in five to seven years, including products from Microsoft Research and other divisions.

Before working on the CIW, Gruver was responsible for the U.S. end-user strategy and marketing for the Microsoft Office productivity suite and related products. He also has held positions in corporate marketing and on the Microsoft SQL Server™ product team.

Gruver has been at Microsoft since 1995, with more than 17 years of experience in the technology industry. He has worked in both software and hardware, and in all levels of manufacturing, distribution and the channel.

A 1988 University of Washington graduate, Gruver has made his home in the Seattle area for the past 20 years.

Owen E. Herrnstadt came to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL- CIO, in 1987, serving as the Associate General Counsel for the IAM until June 1993 when he became the IAM’s Counsel for Legislative Affairs. In the Fall of 1996, he was named the Director for the IAM’s Department for International Affairs. Since that time the IAM changed the Department’s name to Trade and Globalization. In his position as Director of the Trade and Globalization Department, Mr. Herrnstadt is responsible for all international and trade matters affecting the IAM.

Mr. Herrnstadt has traveled extensively and has given speeches and lectures on a broad array of topics involving international labor and trade issues. Among other things, he has chaired the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Export-Import Bank. He also served as chair of the workers group at a tripartite session on labor flexibility at the International Labor Organization in Geneva and has participated as a technical adviser during the ILO’s annual meetings. Mr. Herrnstadt has made presentations on numerous topics including corporate social responsibility, European Works Councils, working time, challenges of the global economy, and U.S. labor law.

Deborah Knutson joined the Economic Development Council of Snohomish County as President in November 1998 with overall responsibility for economic development and economic policy development, business attraction and retention.

Before joining the Snohomish County EDC, Knutson served as Vice President of the Economic Development Council of King County with primary responsibility for promoting and assisting domestic and international high technology business investment in King County.

From 1987-1993, Knutson worked at the Washington State Department of Trade and Economic Development as a Senior Manger responsible for domestic and international business recruitment resort development and rural economic development.

Knutson spent two years as the Coastal Affairs Advisor to the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, serving as the primary government negotiator for development projects.

Knutson received a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Economics from the University of Washington and attend the University of Oslo for postgraduate study.

David Kusnet is a former presidential speechwriter, adviser to labor organizations, and commentator on national politics, workplace issues, and public rhetoric.

Kusnet was chief speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton from 1992 through 1994. He was a speechwriter for Democratic presidential nominees Walter Mondale in 1984 and Michael Dukakis in 1988. He is the author of a book about the rhetoric of the Democratic Party, Speaking American (Thunder’s Mouth, 1992).

From 1974 through 1984, Kusnet was on the staff of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He collaborated with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on the book, America Needs a Raise (Houghton-Mifflin, 1996). He is a visiting fellow at the Economic Policy Institute.

Kusnet is writing a book about workplace conflicts in today’s America, Love the Work, Hate the Job, for the publisher John A. Wiley and Sons. The book will tell the story of four workplace conflicts in Washington State in the year 2000: the Boeing engineers’ strike, the efforts by temporary workers at Microsoft, the lockout at Kaiser Aluminum, and the organizing campaign at Northwest Hospital. In 2000, Kusnet researched and wrote a study of professional and technical workers and their organizations, focusing on SPEEA at Boeing and WashTech at Microsoft, for the Albert Shanker Institute.

Kusnet’s articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Newsday, New Republic, American Prospect, Washington Monthly, Dissent, Nation, Commonweal, and other newspapers and magazines.

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect, a public policy magazine that he co-founded in 1989 with Paul Starr and Robert Reich, and a distinguished senior fellow at Demos.

Bob is the author of six books: Everything for Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets (1997); The End of Laissez-Faire (1991); The Life of the Party (1987); The Economic Illusion (1984); Revolt of the Haves (1980); and Family Re-union (2002), co-authored with his late wife, psychologist and editor Sharland Trotter. His new book, The Squandering of America, will be published by Knopf in 2007.

He wrote a column for Business Week from 1985 to 2005. He continues to write a weekly syndicated op-ed column for The Boston Globe specializing in economic topics. He is former national policy correspondent of the New England Journal of Medicine.

His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Dissent, Harvard Business Review, and the Political Science Quarterly. His occasional commentaries are heard on National Public Radio. He has also appeared frequently on TV’s Firing Line, Crossfire, Nightline and the PBS News Hour.

Bob Kuttner has taught at Brandeis University’s Heller School; Boston University; the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University's Institute of Politics. He has been a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Radcliffe Public Policy Fellow. His editorial column was the winner of the John Hancock Award for excellence in business and financial journalism. He also received the Jack London Award for labor journalism. He was the 1996 winner of the Paul Hoffman Award for Human Development of the United Nations, for his life’s work on the relationship of economic efficiency to social equality.

Bob is one of five co-founders of the Economic Policy Institute, and currently serves on its Board. Previously, he served as economics editor of The New Republic; chief investigator for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; a national staff writer at The Washington Post in the Watergate era; and executive director of President Carter's National Commission on Neighborhoods. Early in his career, he worked at Pacifica Radio in Washington and New York, for the Village Voice, and for KQED-TV in San Francisco. His first job was as assistant to I.F. Stone.

Bob Kuttner was educated at Oberlin College, the University of California at Berkeley and the London School of Economics. He has an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore College.

He is married to Joan Fitzgerald, who directs the doctoral program on law, policy and society at Northeastern University. He is the father of two grown children, Gabriel, an actor, and Jessica, a clinical social worker who works with at-risk teens.

John McMasters joined Boeing Commercial Airplanes in 1976 as a research aerodynamicist. He is currently a program manager for the Ed Wells Partnership, a joint program between Boeing and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace charged with enhancing the excellence of the SPEEA represented Boeing technical workforce. He also has served since 1990 as an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

His professional and avocational interests run together over a broad range of topics including: low-speed/high lift aerodynamics, airplane design, the biomechanics of flight, paleontology, and engineering education. He has authored over 100 publications and technical papers, and has lectured to a broad range of university, government and professional society audiences, in all these topic areas. He holds a configuration patent for an airplane designed under a NASA contract circa 1993-5, and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal in 1965 for work on an air-to-air guided missile he conceived and helped develop through initial flight testing while on active duty in the USAF. His design for a solar-powered sailplane was placed on permanent display in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in 2004. An Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, he has twice served as an AIAA Distinguished Lecturer - from 1992-94 and again for 2002-07, and is a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer for 2005-07.

Prior to joining Boeing, Dr. McMasters held faculty positions at Arizona State University and Purdue, and worked as a designer of tents and other light-weight expedition equipment. His strong interest in engineering education has continued and in addition to teaching airplane design courses at Boeing and the University of Washington, he has been a member since 1994 of what has become the Boeing Company Offices-level University Relations Process Council. In this connection he has been instrumental in establishing and conducting the Boeing-Welliver Faculty Summer Fellowship, Boeing Fellow on Campus, and Boeing Outstanding Educator Programs. He was also one of the original architects of the Boeing initiated Industry-University-Government Roundtable for Enhancing Engineering Education (IUGREEE). In addition, he is a member of the External Advisory Board of the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal for Engineering Education.

Dr. McMasters hold B.S. (1961) and M.S. (1962) degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Ph.D. (1975) from Purdue University, all in Aeronautical Engineering.

Sandra Schroeder was elected president of AFT Washington and appointed to the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education Program and Policy Council in 2001. The national AFT represents approximately 150,000 faculty and educational professionals; the Washington AFT represents approximately 6,000 faculty. In 2004, Schroeder was elected as an international vice-president on the American Federation of Teachers Executive Council. In 2006, she was appointed as a vice-president of the Washington State Labor Council. She also serves as a board member of the Economic Opportunity Institute and has been a member of the Governor’s Competitiveness Council and Higher Education Collaborative Advisory Group as well as the Higher Education Coordinating Board Advisory Committee. She is a tenured member of the English faculty at Seattle Central Community College.

Ruth Windhover holds a Ph.D. in Literature from Michigan State University and a law degree from Seattle University. Currently a faculty member and president of the faculty union local at Highline Community College, she has been an associate professor at the University of Idaho and a legal intern for the Washington Education Association. She is the Higher Education Chair for the WEA.

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Last updated: June 14, 2006.