HELU: Higher Education Labor United

This is just a paste-in of an announcement of the Higher Ed Labor United summit coming up at the end of this month. Prep for this summit is going on very fast with a group of young activists from all over the country. It’s pretty exciting. Please click through on this and sign up, and pass the link along to others. –Helena

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Winter Summit, February 23-27, 2022

Higher Education Labor United (HELU), a coalition of higher ed unions and allied organizations, will hold a Winter Summit February 23–27 to build support for a collaborative Vision Platform and to help coordinate efforts to advance a national agenda for transforming U.S. colleges and universities. Attendees will include faculty, staff, and student workers who are members of AAUP, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, NEA, SEIU, UAW, the Teamsters, and UE as well as many independent locals.

The summit will focus on three core tasks: coordinating the surge of higher education worker organizing across the country, developing federal policy proposals to reverse the trends that have damaged higher education over the last several decades, and engaging in the political process by educating politicians and candidates on these issues and working to support those who will advance a program of democratizing higher education.


As we move from short-term advocacy around federal legislation to long-term planning for a transformative, anti-racist, and social justice forward higher education labor movement, we plan to bring together higher education labor organizers from around the United States for HELU’s second summit.

Join us as we launch our new program areas (Coordinated National Organizing, National Political Engagement, and Policy Development and Advocacy) and organize to build our movement. 

We welcome all members of the higher education labor community to join us.

Register for the Winter Summit


The Winter Summit will take place February 23, 24, 26 & 27, 2022. Some sessions will be open to all attendees, while others will be open to voting delegates only.

Agenda coming soon.

Financial Support

In order to support the graduate, adjunct, staff, and marginalized organizers doing significant work to make the summit happen, we are asking registering unions to contribute to the Winter Summit based on their size and capacity, and attendees not affiliated with a contributing union or organization to support the summit in any amount they can.

Contributions are being overseen by Jobs With Justice.

Individual Contribution

Union Contribution

Introducing HELU’s Program Areas

After many weeks of careful analysis and deliberation, the HELU steering committee has proposed that HELU take more permanent form by centering our work on three main areas:

  • Coordinated National Organizing: We need to align and support the unionization campaigns, bargaining fights, work actions, and strikes for economic and social justice that are sweeping our sector. It’s up to us as workers to connect our individual struggles into a collective movement.
  • National Political Engagement: In our efforts to push the federal government to adopt pro-worker policies for higher education, we learned that we need to build up a bench of supporters in D.C. and the state capitols who understand us, speak our language, and are ultimately accountable to higher education workers.
  • Policy Development and Advocacy: Our movement has what it takes to reimagine higher education policy. Now we need to develop the goals, legislative language, and regulatory reforms that our movement can advance nationally and in our own communities. We must address all campus inequities through our policies and demands: pay disparities, racial and gender hierarchies, discrimination and harassment, as well as many others.

© 2022 Higher Education Labor United


Published by helenaworthen

Labor educator, retired from University of Illinois, taught at TDT University in Ho Chi Minh City in the Faculty of Trade Unions and Labor Relations. Co-author with Joe Berry of Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the contingent faculty movement in higher education, forthcoming (August 2021) from Pluto Press.

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