Fight against Labor Center closure – Gunther Anderson


To Pen City Current readers:
It has recently been announced that the University of Iowa intends to dissolve their Labor Center. For almost seventy years the University of Iowa Labor Center has been built up, expanded, and sustained by dedicated individuals from all walks of life across the entire state. Our grandparents, parents, peers, and children have given much of their time, money, and resources to enable the Labor Center to provide specialized knowledge and materials to thousands of working Iowa families every year.
I’ve been a part of organized labor for fifteen years. But I didn’t become an active member until six years ago. With the solid educational foundation, I received from the Labor Center, I went from an apathetic Union member, to a Union Steward, to an Officer on my Union Local’s Executive Board, to my current position as a Vice President and the Chief Steward. I could not possibly have accomplished any of this, could not possibly have become the resource to my coworkers and community that I now can be, without the expertly delivered educational courses provided by the experienced, intelligent, and extremely committed educators who have dedicated their very lives to the University of Iowa and the Labor Center.
I was absolutely stunned to hear of the impending betrayal by the University of Iowa administrators; not only the betrayal of their loyal staff of educators and historians, but their betrayal of every member of the state of Iowa’s working class. This decision was made completely absent any consultation whatsoever from those actually involved in the Labor Center’s work. Even if you aren’t aware of it, it is extremely likely that you have personally benefitted in some way from the Labor Center and their mission. We all need to do what we can to ensure the Labor Center remains in place as an indispensable resource for ourselves and for the generations of Iowans to follow. To that end, we all need to make our voices heard by calling the University of Iowa Dean, Kevin Washburn at 319-384-4658, and the University President, Bruce Harreld at 319-335-3549. Remind them that the core purpose of the entire University of Iowa is to create successful employees through their graduate programs and their continuing education courses. Cutting Iowa workers off at the knees by destroying the Labor Center is contrary to everything the University of Iowa is supposed to stand for.
In heartfelt solidarity,
Gunther W. Anderson

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