How the Runaway Inequality Educational Project Got Started

This is from the email Les started sending people who signed up for more information about becoming a trainer or joining the campaign. We’ve moved it here so anyone who is interested might find it.

“As an economics educator, I was asked by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in the Spring of 2015 to conduct five half-day sessions for Verizon workers on the need for movement building. None of us were sure what that actually meant but I said I’d give it a go. At the time, I had a rough draft of the book, the chapters of which had been articles run on Alternet.org and Huffington Post.

The class hit a nerve, not because I’m a charismatic teacher or because the book is a best-seller. Rather the workers involved were hungry for the facts about runaway inequality, its causes, and how it impacts nearly every problem they care about — from worker rights to our mammoth prison population.

The group was so enthusiastic that they wanted to become trainers. They also wanted books to be distributed to their co-workers. CWA was so moved that they proceeded to fund a program to train 60 workers trainers who would conduct 8-hour classes for 1,000 workers who would be paid for a day off from their jobs.  CWA also purchased 14,000 books.  Training for Trainers programs were then held in New York and Texas. Another is scheduled for the end of April in Nevada.

Citizen Action New York witnessed the program and decided it also wanted to conduct such training for community groups in New York state.  Forty trainers were trained in their network.

Next, unions and community groups in New Jersey asked to join the effort. Twenty-five trainers were trained on February 3-4 and another 25 were trained on March 3-4 with the support of the New Jersey Education Association and the NJ Work Environment Council.

We also held a pilot course linking runaway inequality to climate change. That will soon also become a train-the-trainer program starting in the West. Here’s a description of that effort:

http://runawayinequality.org/unions-environmentalists-a-movement/

More and more people are now reaching out to us. So the next step is to foster the training with you. We all will be learning how to do this effectively as we move on.