Former Rep. Andy Levin and New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie will visit the University of Michigan-Flint for a moderated discussion on democracy, labor and the future of work. The event will take place, 5-6:30 p.m., Nov. 30, in the University Center KIVA and is free and open to the public.
Jacob Lederman, associate professor of sociology, will serve as a co-moderator for the discussion along with Kim Saks, assistant professor of political science. Lederman said that tapping Levin was a natural choice given his longtime involvement in labor issues.
"He is a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, which has a lot of influence in Washington D.C., but he's also a resident of Michigan and can help us understand the current moment and the labor situation we're seeing in Michigan right now," Lederman said. "The most recent UAW strike may have come to a close, but the factors that led to the strike – the rise of electric vehicles and the union implications of their production – are still very much developing. Levin can provide insight into how that will impact work, unions and the labor market more generally."
Lederman also said that Bouie's expertise will help the panel explore the intersection of politics and labor.
"Bouie has done a lot of work focusing on the rise of authoritarian politics and its historical precedents here in the U.S. He has also written about the role of race in labor and labor organizing historically and more broadly about the current state of politics in the U.S."
This event is part of UM-Flint's "Borders and Crossings" program, which offers a series of First-Year Experience courses designed to help UM-Flint students gain the broad-based critical thinking skills necessary to understand an increasingly complex global society. The courses combine close faculty mentorship with funded travel opportunities and experiences to help illustrate the interconnectedness of diverse groups and global forces. This experiential program is funded by a $600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Along with "Borders and Crossings," the discussion is co-sponsored by UM-Flint's Institute for Society and Technology. Created this semester, the IST aims to examine the social causes and consequences of technological change. The institute's mission is twofold: to support scholarly research into the social consequences of technological innovation; and to bring together students, faculty and community members concerned with technology's impact on society.
"We thought this was a good fit for the Institute to co-sponsor because one of the topics that the IST hopes to explore is the future of the labor market in our region – what kinds of work will be incentivized by new technologies and what kinds of jobs may disappear," said Lederman, who is also the IST director.
Doors open to the panel discussion at 4:45 p.m. and light refreshments will be served. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP online.
Logan McGrady is the marketing & digital communication manager for the Office of Marketing and Communication.