Advanced Skills Workforce Center: “Diversity within the trade”(


St. LOUIS – Earlier this year the Painters’ District Council 58 helped to establish the Advanced Skills Workforce Center (ASWC), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to providing essential training and related support to working class youth, particularly youth of color, who want to explore a career in the painting industry.


The ASWC “provides the tools, the discipline and a pathway out of poverty for folks eager for the opportunity to better their lives,” Steve Wayland, the director of business development at Painters’ DC58 told the People’s World.


Twenty-five participants have completed the unpaid fourteen week program so far. Twelve additional participants are in the current class. The program has three sessions a year; each session is five days a week, eight hours a day.


“We are trying to promote diversity within the trade,” Wayland continued. A majority of the ASWC participants are young African American men.


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Activist group wins improvements in “Call-A-Ride” (  


ST. LOUIS, Mo. — 1955: A bus rumbles to a slow, meandering stop in Montgomery, Alabama. An African American woman climbs on and sits in the front. The bus driver shoots her a look. “You are supposed to sit in the back,” he says. “No, this is where I want to sit,” she replies. A look then turns into a physical act of defiance against Jim Crow, which then leads to the arrest of Rosa Parks and helps sparks the modern Civil Rights movement.


St. Louis, MO 1970’s: There are no accessible public busses for people with wheelchairs; particularly there are no curb-to-curb services providing access to the disability community. During this time people with disabilities, radicalized out of necessity, would lay down in front of busses to protest their lack of access. This physical action led to ramps, wheelchair stations, and eventually, by the 1980s, the creation of a curb-to-curb service called “Call-A-Ride.”


St. Louis, June 29, 2015: The Coalition for Truth in Independence (CTI), a community-based disability rights organization, held a press conference at the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society to highlight recent successes around the “Ride with Respect Campaign.”


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Workers’ Education Society hosts open house for organizers, activists (St. Louis Labor Tribune)


The St. Louis Workers’ Education Society (StLWES) opened its doors at 2929 S. Jefferson March 27 and welcomed organizers, rabble-rousers, activists and community organizations to its first annual open house fundraiser.


StLWES, a 501(c) 3 non-profit new to St. Louis, focuses on worker-education campaigns, partnering with local union and community organizations to build a permanent culture of worker-education in St. Louis with a focus on communities of color, women and youth. It currently houses four groups.


Located in the former union hall of Operating Engineers’ Local 148, StLWES currently houses four groups: the Missouri/Kansas People’s World, Speak Progress, Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care and Latinos En Axion.


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St. Louis Workers Ed Society: a mix of Motown and activism (


ST. LOUIS – Let’s start this off with a question: What do you get when you mix Motown music and activism? 

Answer: The St. Louis Workers’ Education Society.


On Friday, Mar. 27th, the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit, opened its doors and welcomed organizers, activists and community organizations to its first annual ‘Open House’ fundraiser.


The event was held at the society’s headquarters, a beautiful, 10,000-square-foot community center, formerly the home of the Operating Engineers’ International Union, Local 148.


Starting at about 6 p.m., the lively, diverse (young, old, black, white, gay, straight) crowd inside the hall socialized, and spent their Friday evening laughing, drinking, eating and chatting with friends old and new. It was the people that created such a wonderful collective space, full of energy and passion, all made possible by a people’s organization, the St. Louis Workers Education Society.


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Workers’ Education Society Opens in St. Louis (


ST. LOUIS – After nearly a year of organizing, fundraising and coalition building, the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to initiating and facilitating community-labor coalition building and pro-union education curricula, recently purchased its new headquarters – a historic, beautiful, 10,000 square-foot union hall located in south St. Louis City.


The property – located at 2929 S. Jefferson Ave. – was built in 1913 and was formerly the home of the International Union of Operating Engineers’ (IUOE) Local 148. Before that, it was owned by the Stove Mounters International Union of North America.


The Workers’ Education Society is part of the emerging National Worker Center Movement, and actively participates in local labor-led coalition efforts to form a workers’ center here in St. Louis, along with the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU), St. Louis Jobs with Justice (JWJ), the St. Louis chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), and the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA) coalition, among others.


The Workers’ Education Society offers educational curriculum focused on “Workers’ Rights” and “Understanding and Advancing Democracy.”


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Organizers hold training for non-violent Ferguson protests, plan ‘shutdown’ of Clayton (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


ST. LOUIS • A group of organizers who have held trainings for least 600 potential protesters in the last week have a vision, and they say it’s a non-violent one.


“We as a community of people, we aren’t going to use violent power,” organizer Michael McPhearson told a group of about 100 who met in a hall on South Jefferson Avenue in St. Louis Thursday night. “We’re going to use people power, to change things.”


Included in their plan is one to convene on and “shut down” Clayton the morning of the first business day after the grand jury announcement in the Michael Brown case.


McPhearson, the co-chair of the Don’t Shoot Coalition, joined with Julia Ho, a community organizer with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, and others to give the crowd advice on how to protest peacefully and to keep themselves and others safe after the announcement. Another similar meeting was held at the same time at Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in Ferguson.


Meetings are scheduled for the same locations from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.


One by one, members of the crowd introduced themselves by their first names and where they lived – many were from south St. Louis, a few from Arizona, one from Canada. The crowd was diverse, with varying ages and different races. According to a rough survey given by organizers, more than half had been involved in the protests since Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. A handful had already been arrested, and about half the crowd indicated they were willing to risk arrest after the grand jury announcement.


“One of the reasons we’re here is to have fun and build community,” McPhearson told the group. But he emphasized that people in power don’t want to change things. “We’re in a struggle that takes a long time to make things happen. In order for it to be a movement, we have to stay in it.”


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