Tribute to Daniel Haufler, DC LERA Board Member

Today we buried a friend and brother, our fellow LERA member Daniel Haufler. He passed away on 27 February 2023 while serving at the German Embassy in Washington, DC. As Labor Counselor, Daniel was part of the LERA family. His remains were brought to Berlin, his home of many years, where he was laid to rest today.

“Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.” Those words by one of his favorite singers, Bob Dylan, seem to be a fitting motive for Daniel’s life. A native of the German city of Mainz, Daniel was eager to explore places in near and far. Just in time for the falling of the Berlin Wall, he moved to Berlin in 1989 to study literature and history. His studies later led him to Munich as well as across the Atlantic, to Duke University.

An avid reader and a true intellectual, Daniel followed his calling and became a journalist. He is remembered as a talented and passionate opinion editor, working for many years at the German newspapers taz and Berliner Zeitung. A “collector of opinions”, a former colleague called him. A good listener, intellectually curious, unobtrusive with his own views, everyone agreed.

In 2017, he took on a position as Managing Editor at the German trade union confederation DGB where he was in charge of the debate journal Gegenblende, publishing op-eds on current political and social issues and launching a podcast.

When, in 2021, the opportunity arose to move to Washington, DC to work as Labor Counselor at the German Embassy, he happily accepted, returning to the US, a country he had come to love during his days at Duke University.

The many friends who came to his side during the last days of his brief terminal illness were a testament to Daniel’s exceptional kindheartedness and his ability to maintain long and meaningful friendships – over decades and across long distances.

Anja Wehler-Schoeck

Berlin, Germany

DC LERA votes to adopt Early Career, Nonprofit, and In Transition membership categories

At its February 22, 2023 board meeting, DC LERA voted to adopt three new reduced price membership categories. These include:

  • Early Career Member – $20. This includes recent graduates, apprentices, and those who have switched to a new career.
  • Nonprofit / Not for Profit Member – $20. This includes nonprofit employees and people who work for not for profit organizations like trade unions or on Capitol Hill (for example).
  • In Transition Member – $20. This includes jobseekers who are unemployed or underemployed.

In adopting these new membership categories, the Board of Governors hopes to make membership in DC LERA accessible to a broader section of the Washington, DC area community working in or interested in pursuing workplace-related fields.

Click here to join DC LERA!

Erin Johansson of Jobs with Justice joins DC LERA Board

At its February 22, 2023 board meeting, DC LERA approved the nomination of Erin Johansson to serve as a member of the DC LERA Board of Governors.

Erin brings a wealth of experience to her role. In addition to managing the research program of Jobs with Justice Education Fund, she coordinates the Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN), which brings together scholars and practitioners to build workplace and economic power for working people. She has written numerous publications for Jobs With Justice and American Rights at Work, on topics ranging from labor law, contingent work, the National Labor Relations Board, Walmart, and the broader value of unions to communities. Erin served on the board of national LERA and serves on the editorial board of the Labor and Employment Relations Association’s publication, Perspectives on Work.

We are delighted to have Erin join the Board and look forward to working with her.

DC LERA makes successful transition from Virtual to Live events in 2022

The Washington, DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (DC LERA) benefits from the participation of a very rich community of practitioners, policymakers, academics, and labor attaches from a number of embassies (including France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan) in Washington DC.

In 2022, DC LERA continued to host and co-host several events featuring members of this community – all while making the not-so-easy transition from virtual to live and hybrid events. We organized sessions on the future of work, global labor rights, the gig economy in Europe, labor issues at the USPS, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the legacy of slavery and construction and deconstruction of racism in the US, Europe and South Africa, the history of 925 and equal pay for women in the US, the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, the concept of “dirty work,” and an update on the NLRB.

Our speakers were leading thinkers and practitioners on all of these topics, including Karen Nussbaum of Working America, Lane Windham of the Kalmanovitz Initiative at Georgetown University, Ernie DuBester of the FLRA, Thea Lee of US DOL, Sunnie Rucker-Chang of Ohio State University, Mark Clark of the Kogod School of Business at American University, Randolph McLaughlin of Pace University in New York, Anton Hajjar of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, Rebecca Dixon of the National Employment Law Project, Mark Pearce of the Georgetown Law School Worker Rights Institute, Richard Bock of the NLRB, and Melissa Fisher of the NYU Institute of Public Knowlege.

In addition, we hosted several international experts on workplace issues, including Annamaria Westregård of Lund University, Kgomotso Mufamadi of the University of Johannesburg, Mijke Houwerzijl of Tilburg University Law School, and Roman Kormann of the German Trade Union Federation.

As we transitioned from purely virtual to live, hybrid and some virtual events, we met at the ILO, the Kogod School of Business at American University, and Georgetown Law Center in order to reach out to our publics – especially students. Our partners included the Worker Rights Institute at Georgetown Law School, the American Constitution Society DC Lawyers Chapter, the Workplace Prof Blog, and the African Labour Law Society.

It is the hope of 2022 DC LERA President, Dr. David Jacobs, that we inspired some students to think about the field of labor and workplace relations for their careers – and that our events and activities gave participants and attendees a bit of hope as the pandemic continued to shape our lives.

In 2023, we plan on continuing the DC LERA tradition of bringing professionals and students of all stripes to the table to discuss topical and timely workplace matters.

DC LERA hits the ground running with great in-person event on Nonprofit Union Organizing

DC LERA started 2023 off with a great event organized and moderated by incoming Membership Secretary Ben Kreider, All Workers are Workers: Union Organizing at Nonprofits. The event was held at the Economic Policy Institute. Many thanks to outgoing DC LERA President David Jacobs for organizing all the logistics.

Our guest speakers were Katie Parker and Justin Schweitzer, both of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), International Federal of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70. Both Katie and Justin gave eloquent presentations discussing both the need for and the complexities of organizing workers in nonprofit organizations – not to mention negotiating collective bargaining agreements. An active and engaged audience posed several questions.

Thanks everyone for turning out! Stay tuned for more DC LERA events this year, and please reach out

2023 DC LERA Officers confirmed at January 26 event on Nonprofit Unions

The Washington, DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (DC LERA) confirmed the 2023 DC LERA Officers at its in-person event on January 26, 2023.

Serving in 2023 are:

  • Tequila Brooks, President (2023)
  • Steve Silvia, Treasurer
  • Valentina Ahumada, Recording Secretary
  • Ben Kreider, Membership Secretary

Many thanks to outgoing President David Jacobs, who was at the helm as DC LERA navigated the transition from the Virtual environment back to the Live and Hybrid world. Thanks also to outgoing Recording Secretary Mindy Reiser for her excellent service on the Executive Committee and her ongoing service as a DC LERA Board Member.

Congratulations to the new DC LERA officers! Looking forward to a great 2023. Please reach out to become more active!

In Memorium: Rudy Oswald

The Washington DC chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (DC LERA) remembers the legacy of Rudy Oswald who passed away September 28, 2022. Rudy was an active member of DC LERA and its parent organization LERA.  He served as DC LERA President in 1972 just prior to becoming the Chief Economist for the AFL-CIO in 1976.  Rudy led the AFL-CIO’s economics and research efforts for 20 years, influencing multiple generations of union researchers. He led national LERA as president in 1980. Rudy earned his Master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin and a PhD in Economics from Georgetown University.  He actively participated in DC LERA events even through the pandemic when we moved to all virtual meetings.  DC LERA remembers Rudy’s soft spoken but sharp analysis and will miss his presence.