March 7, 2019

Emily Schettler

Economist Heidi Shierholz to speak at upcoming event on current state of unions and organizing

Labor expert and economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute will discuss the current state of labor and organizing at a public event at Drake University on Tuesday, March 12.

The event, Shifting the Balance of Power: How policy and organizing are reshaping Iowa workplaces, will also feature remarks by Colin Gordon, a professor at the University of Iowa and senior fellow at the UI Public Policy Center, and a panel discussion with individuals involved with recent organizing efforts in Iowa.

Shierholz is senior economist and director of policy for the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that conducts research and analysis on the economic status of working America and the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions. Her recent work explores wage suppression and the rising inequality between employer power and worker power. Shierholz is a member of The Harkin Institute’s Labor and Employment Advisory Committee, which helps to guide the organization’s research agenda in this policy area.

Gordon is a professor of history at UI and a senior research consultant with the Iowa Policy Project, with a focus on the history of public policy. Panelists will include workers who recently organized a new union at General Mills in Cedar Rapids, student leaders of the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers, northwest Iowa representatives of the Iowa State Education Association, and a striking construction worker affiliated with the Tri-State Workers Coalition.

This free event is hosted by The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University, University of Iowa Labor Center, the Iowa Federation of Labor and the Iowa Chapter of the American Constitution Society. It will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, in Levitt Hall at Drake University. More information about the event is available on The Harkin Institute website. Registration is encouraged by not required.


The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University exists to inform citizens, inspire creative cooperation, and catalyze change on issues of social justice, fairness, and opportunity. Founded on the premise that good public policy is best achieved when policymakers have access to high quality information, political processes are open and well-understood, and citizens are informed and active participants, The Harkin Institute offers programming, experiences, research, and connectivity focused on the areas that defined Senator Harkin’s career: labor and employment, people with disabilities, retirement security, and wellness and nutrition.


Address: 2429 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 Phone: 515-271-3623 Fax Number: 515-271-3631 Email: Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.