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Judy Ancel

Judy Ancel has been the Director of Worker Education & Labor Studies labor education program at The University of Missouri-Kansas City since 1989.  In her work she provides education and training for union members and the general public on labor relations, labor history and contemporary problems of working people in a global economy. She has taught history and politics at the college level, has worked in factories, and has been a union activist and organizer in both the United Steelworkers and American Federation of Teachers. She holds a Masters in history from Hunter College of the City University of New York and a B.A. from Stanford University. In 2009 she won the United Association of Labor Education award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education.

Ancel currently coordinates The Heartland Labor Forum, an award-winning weekly one-hour radio show about the workplace and economic issues on community radio in Kansas City KKFI-90.1FM.  In 2011 she won first prize from The International Labor Communications Association for a radio show, The Last Overhaul about the shutdown of the American Airlines maintenance base in Kansas City.

Ancel is a founder and is Organizing Co-Chair of Kansas City Jobs with Justice and is active in the United Association of Labor Education (UALE) on their Immigration and Globalization Working Group.

Global solidarity work

She is President of the Board of Directors of The Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity, a non-profit organization which develops ties and mutual understanding between working people in the Kansas City area and workers in Mexico and Central America. Its motto is: Supporting workers across borders and workers who cross borders. She also served from 2000-2007 as a Director and Executive Committee member of The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, a San Antonio-based tri-national non-governmental organization.

In May, 2010 Ancel organized a delegation of labor educators, filmmakers, and students to investigate the strike of copper miners in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. The report, Crossing the Border to Cananea: High Stakes and Teachable Moments for North American Workers March, 2011 and a link to the video are available at http://cas.umkc.edu/labor-ed/global.htm. Ancel has also traveled six times to Honduras on human and worker rights and election monitoring delegations from 2009-16 and speaks and writes about the 2009 coup and the surge in violations of worker and human rights since then.

Defending labor studies against attack

In April and May 2011 Ancel and a team teacher in St. Louis were targeted by media thug Andrew Breitbart of BigGovernment.com who posted a series of highly edited videos misrepresenting a course they teach, accusing them of teaching violence, sabotage, communism and militancy. A hate campaign against them was spearheaded by the St. Louis Tea Party and the Missouri Lt. Governor. However, Ancel fought back and was vindicated by UMKC. She and others organized support from around the country to save her colleague’s teaching job and won his reinstatement. Ancel and her colleague were later honored for defending academic freedom by the American Association of University Professors at their annual meeting.



Remembering Charles Suffridge
ILS Research Director

Charles Suffridge retired from Ford Motor Co. in 1995 after 30 years on the assembly line. He was actively involved in the United Auto Workers Union for 18 of those years as Education Committee member and Chairperson. He also was a discussion leader for the UAW High School Labor Studies Program. Over a three (3) year period he was able to make a number of presentations in Social Studies classes in Kansas City, MO high schools and acted as a discussion leader at Oak Park High School, in North Kansas City & Washington & Sumner High Schools in Kansas City, Kansas. Through utilizing the UAW/Ford Education Benefit he was able to complete his BA in U.S History in 1995 and continued his education upon retirement and completed his MA degree in U.S. History in 1997 at U.M.K.C. He coordinated ILS's high school labor studies LAP curriculum for the Greater Kansas City area. This program was put together with the aid of local teachers and labor leaders.

Some memories of Charlie:
(Judy Ancel) "Charlie wasn't the flashy, militant type. He was the quiet type of true believer who understood what a difference a union can make day-to-day when you work in a factory where management used to have total power. He worked at Ford on some of the hardest jobs in the body shop where you breathed in lead dust every minute, in the paint department where there were different poisons. He knew what Ford Motor Company was like before they had a union, and loved to tell the story that he gathered by researching UAW Local 249's dramatic history and by talking to the old-timers. He knew that even though the jobs he'd worked were very tough, they were at least survivable because the union gave you a say.
"Besides developing the curriculum, Charlie also taught history - at Longview, to our class for teachers, and I always invited him into my labor history classes to tell the story of Henry Ford's absolutism and how the workers won a union. I'll never forget the time Charlie told the history of the sitdown strike at Ford in Kansas City in 1937 to a group of Mexican maquiladora workers who visited Local 249. Despite the differences in language and place and time, they followed every step. At the end, one of the workers asked, "how much did Ford pay the workers at that time?" and Charlie said, "About $6.00 a day. The Mexican worker said, "But that's what Ford pays in Mexico today." And everyone suddenly understood what Ford was up to in Mexico."

(Mike Heath who took over the Education committee after Charlie retired) "Charlie inspired me, and he motivated me. He was always teaching, and he was always there to help. I knew I could count on Charlie. I met him back in 1987 when I was appointed to the Education Committee, and for the next 8 years I got to know him very well actually, and I worked with him side-by-side on many educational projects. Charlie was very creative, and he was always looking for new and better ways to educate the membership which kept us very active on educational programs.
"I knew Charlie to be loyal and dedicated to the local and to education. He was gifted when it came to education. He was a true teacher, and when it came time for Charlie to retire; the eight years I had worked with him on the Education Committee it all came together he'd been kind of teaching me to take over for when he left, and so when he retired I took over his position and one of the things I really liked about Charlie is he was always there for me when I needed a helping hand on the Education Committee. He may have retired from Ford but he didn't retire from the union, and that was something special about Charlie."

(Jerry Kline, President of UAW Local 249) "One of Charlie's main contributions, other than being a good friend to myself and encouraging me early in my political career to keep the faith, Charlie took over at the Education Committee for me, and he was instrumental in getting what we call New Member Orientation to our new members. He's just the kind of guy that you loved to be around. He was a good friend. He made things happen on the Education Committee because he was evenhanded in how he did things. It's a sad day for me; losing a good friend, and sometimes as President of a local you lose a lot of members, but this one really bothers me and hurts me a lot, but I know there's a brighter day ahead, and Charlie helped all of us."


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last updated Friday, August 31, 2007

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