James C. Foster
James Foster worked as a machinist at the Gisholt Machine Company (making the Gisholt Turret Lathe) during the early 1960s and was a member of the United Steelworkers of America Local #1408. He worked the night shift and during the day, attended the University of Wisconsin, from which he graduated in 1967. From Wisconsin, he went to Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in History while doing a Labor Relations minor in Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations College.
From Cornell, he went to the University of Alaska (1971), where he began the Labor Relations Program in conjunction with the Fairbanks Joint Trades Council. He directed the program and taught both History and Labor Law.
From Alaska, he moved to Arizona State University (1974), where he taught History. In March 1975, he met Grace Carroll and Darwin Aycock of the Arizona State AFL-CIO and they created the Arizona Labor History Council to teach labor history in Arizona schools. In 1977, he won grants of about $20,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities to put on a national labor history symposium in Phoenix. That program made Phoenix television and included a very moving piece by Grace Carroll on being a woman labor leader in the Arizona AFL-CIO. Following Darwin Aycock’s request, he created the Arizona State University Labor Studies Program in 1977 and almost got fired because of it. However, he persevered and won a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment in 1980 to teach labor history to teachers. Darwin Aycock was part of his first class of 175 students and recommended him to Gracie and the Rocky Mountain Labor School (1980), where he began teaching Labor History in 1980. In the following year, he moved to the University of Wisconsin where he created a statewide credit-bearing Labor Studies Program that offered classes at both the Parkside and the Madison campus. He also began writing a national labor history newspaper column called Lest We Forget. The column won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the International Labor Communication Association (AFL-CIO) contest in 1984.
In 1984, he also became a fulltime administrator and served as a Dean at Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and Penn State University. In 1995, he became the Academic Vice President of Walsh University and, subsequently, Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mount Marty College in South Dakota. In 2010, he retired and joined the Registry of University Presidents and served as a Registry Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences at Alvermia University, Clarion University, and American International College. He currently is seriously retired but is always available for labor history presentations. He is also an associate member of the American Federation of Teachers.
B.S. (cum laude) University of Wisconsin 1967 (History w/Economics Minor)
Ph.D. Cornell University 1972 (History w/Industrial and Labor Relations Minor)
1982-America Labor in the Southwest: the First 100 years (ed.)``Tucson, University of Arizona Press 236 pp.
1975-The Union Politic: the CIOs Political Action Committee Columbia, University of Missouri Press 247 pp.
Current-The Underground Life: Miners, Mines and the Western Federation (13 of 14 Chapters completed).
Bob Kuchera has been a member of Wyoming Public Employees Association since 1973. WPEA affiliated with services Employees International Union in 1990 - the Largest Health Provider Union and one of the largest Public Employees Unions in the world. He's been a Delegate to Assembly, a Chapter President and on the Board of Directors during his 30+ years in the labor movement. SEIU Local 1990 is Wyoming's Largest AFL-CIO member. Currently Bob is a Social Services Consultant with the Wyoming Department of Family Services. For the three years prior to this position, he was the Lead Organizer for WPEA. Other positions he held during his public employment are, Social Worker, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, District Manager and Region Manager. From 1991 to 2000 Bob served as the Deputy Director for the Wyoming Department of Family Services. With a degree in Psychology from the University of Wyoming and having graduated from the "Management Institute" of the University of Alabama, Bob specializes in research of Leadership Principle and Management Practice with specific interest in Labor and Management Relations. Bob has been trained at the Covey Leadership center. He has taught special class sessions with the Business Courses at Laramie County Community College and he has facilitated numerous seminars and workshops including: "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey "Anger Management" & "Ethic of Excellence" by Price Prichett "Customer Satisfaction" & "Conflict Resolution, Dominance/Dependency Theory and Stewardship" & "The Leaders Handbook" by Peter Scholtes & "Effective Communication" Awards Bib has received include the "Distinguished Graduate" from the U.S.Army Ordnance Center and School; "Outstanding Administrator" for the Division of Public Assistance and Social Services; and the national "Commissioner's Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect" from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Bob Brock grew up in a union family in Butte, Montana. Inspired by the history of Butte's powerful unions and by the story of his own family's union heritage, he attended the University of Montana in Missoula where he worked through school as a night custodian on the union crew at the university.
He graduated in 2005 with degrees in history and political science and after organizing in Chicago and Cincinnati, he returned home as organizer for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 206, in Helena, MT.
In 2006 he was put on staff by the IBEW International Office as Lead Organizer for Montana and the Rocky Mountain west. As lead organizer he ran more than 30 successful private sector organizing campaigns in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Washington. In 2011, at the age of 29, IBEW International President Ed Hill appointed Bob International Representative assigned to the Membership Development Department.
He currently oversees all non-construction organizing for the IBEW from Guam to Colorado and has been directly involved with the organizing of thousands of new IBEW members in all the Western States. Bob has also helped develop young member programs in the IBEW and continues to expand the scope of organizing strategy with new and innovative approaches that focus on community engagement and young workers. Outside of the labor movement, Bob likes to hunt, fish, play guitar, write poetry, volunteer, and consult political campaigns. He travels 200 plus days a year, but still proudly lives in Butte with his rescue dog Santo.
Ellen M. Kelman
Born in 1954 at Glen Cove, New York, Ms. Kelman attended Radcliffe College and graduated in 1976, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She then attended, concurrently, the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Law School, receiving Master of Public Policy and Juris Doctor degrees in 1980, both cum laude.
She is admitted to practice in Colorado and before the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Ms. Kelman published a lengthy article on American labor law history in the St. John's Law Review in 1980 (which is now routinely attributed online to her brother, a law professor) and an article on welfare policy in Dissent in 1977.
In recent years, her practice has focused on employee benefits as well as more traditional aspects of labor law, and she has addressed various groups concerning issues arising under the National Labor Relations Act, ERISA, and equal employment opportunity laws, while assisting her union clients in dealing with increasingly aggressive bargaining by employers concerning pension, health and disability benefits.
Ms. Kelman has three (remarkably delightful) children, a large dog, a collection of quilts that she has designed and sewed, two published novels, and an abiding faith that (mostly) this, too, will pass.
Leslie Simmons is a Field Representative for The Animation Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 839, a 4,500+ union representing creative professionals working in the animation industry in Los Angeles. She has spent the last decade working for labor unions in communications and field work, including as the Communications and Field Services Director for the public-sector union CAPE - the California Association of Professional Employees (MEBA, AFLCIO) and as the National Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing for the entertainment and media union SAG-AFTRA.
Leslie has also worked as a consultant on several union campaigns for various local unions, including Change to Win/Teamsters Justice for Port Truck Divers; California Faculty Association; IAFF Local 1014 and Teamsters Local 848. She is also a former board member of the International Labor Communications Association.
A Native Angeleno, Leslie spent 15 years as a reporter for various print and online publications.
Leslie hold a bachelor's degree in journalism from Long Island University and a master's degree in communication and leadership form Gonzaga University.
James (Jim) Devine retired from the US Department of Labor, a s a Special Assistant to the Director of the Division of Enforcement and International Audits for the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS). He spent 28 years in the federal service enforcing the Labor Management Act of 1959 (LMRDA). the federal statute that sets forth the requirement for labor union with respect to officer elections, trusteeships, fiduciary standard, and financial reporting requirements and record keeping.
Prior to becoming a Special Assistant, Jim served as the OLMS Chief of the Division of International union Audit in Washington, DC. He was also the District Director in Dallas, TX and served as a Senior Investigator in the Division of Enforcement in Washington, DC.
Jim started his career as a an investigator with OLMS in the Washington District Office. He was a member of the Nation Union of Labor Investigators and is a former instructor for new employees in the Compliance Audit Program (CAP). Additionally, he has conducted workshops at many union conferences and conventions. Prior to joining OLMS, Jim was a Probation and Parole Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia for 10 year.
Jim hold a Masters Degree in Criminology and Corrections from Sam Houston State University. Jim and his wife, Joan, just relocation to Phoenix.
After receiving his undergraduate and paralegal degrees in New York, Dennis began his professional career in the late 1970s. Working as a paralegal, he drafted pension plans and related documents to help pension providers conform to the newly enacted Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (E.R.I.S.A.).
When he became bored in the world of legal writing, Dennis decided to pursue his passion to join the labor movement. As a working labor journalist, he has written hundreds of articles covering labor and social justice issues in the United States and abroad. Dennis has worked extensively with trade unionists and social justice activists in the U.S., Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Spain and Ireland.
As a union writer, Dennis was recruited to lead one of the largest Locals of the National Writers Union (NWU). He was later elected to and served two terms as the National Vice President of the NWU. In that position, he was responsible for bargaining contracts with The Nation Magazine, In These Times and an assortment of other publishing entities.
Recruited to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in June of 2002, Dennis worked as Health Care Director, Staff Director and Executive Director for SEIU Local 105 in Denver, Colorado. Joining the international staff of SEIU in January of 2009, Dennis has been training and leading collective bargaining efforts at SEIU for the last sixteen (16) years. He has extensive bargaining experience leading first contract fights and many other contract campaigns. Dennis has also participated in the largest private sector bargaining in the country during several contract campaigns covering 95,000 union members at Kaiser Permanente.
Although officially retired from SEIU in December of 2017, Dennis works under contract on a variety of collective bargaining campaigns. He also conducts training programs on representation issues, member organizing, worksite communication structures and every other aspect of building strong Local Unions.
Naomi Perera has been practicing in the area of labor law with the Kelman Buescher Firm since graduating from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in May 2006. She was made shareholder in 2013. Ms. Perera received her BA from St. John's College in 2002. She is admitted to practice in Colorado and before the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
She represents and advises a wide variety of both public and private sector unions across the Rocky Mountain west, with a focus on representation of public safety workers. In recent years, her practice has focused on collective bargaining in both the public and private sector assisting her union clients in dealing with increasingly aggressive bargaining by employers concerning pension, health and disability benefits. She also deals frequently with the more traditional aspects of labor law including work with the NLRB and advising clients on organizing campaigns and the NLRB petition process.
She is a current board member and former board chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association and has been a speaker at the annual ABA Developing Labor Law Conference.
Ms. Perera has two children (both girls, ages 4 and 6), a wonderful garden, and a battered hope that arc of the moral universe will at some point again bend towards justice.
Alexia Kulwiec is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Labor Education. Alexia has practiced labor and employment law for over twenty years, and now teaches in this area, including Collective Bargaining, Workers’ Compensation, FMLA, and Employment Discrimination. In her capacity with the University, she works to contribute to national labor law and policy, as well as studying labor standards in U.S. agriculture and food systems. Alexia currently works on labor and employment law as it affects agricultural workers.
She holds a J.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
A native Cornhusker, J Burger is current staff at the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) in the Chicago office since 2012. J served as a business agent with IBT Local 743 in Chicago and worked for 3 years with an AFSCME clerical local in Minnesota as an internal organizer. From a Union family, J continues to participate in Labor Solidarity events and activities in Chicago.
Richard de Vries
Graduate of University of Illinois at Chicago, 1976, with a Bachelor of Science. Richard has taught with the Chicago Carpenters Apprenctice & Training Program off and on for nearly 16 years. In 1994 he joined the staff of Teamsters Local 705 in Chicago. He has led bargaining of carious Teamster contracts in addidtion to the regular servicing of membership. On a number of ocvasions he has directed successful strikes for his local.
Richard regularyly does training in variety of subjects ranging from contract bargaining, servicing, strike conduct, and grievance and arbitration handling. He has been a regular contributor to several of Robert Schwarts books on labor relations.
Richard is Spanish English bilingual and has lived and worked in various parts of Latin America inculuding Nicaragua, Bolivia, Mexico, ect.
Over a number of years he has taught Contract Costing as a companion class to Contract Bargaining II. This has led to his supporting of participants from GCRMLS developing costing proposals for their home locals.