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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is Sacrificing Cats to Achieve Labor Demands an Example of Strategic Planning at the Institute for Labor Studies at UMKC?

The University of Missouri system has been questioned about the Labor Studies program in the Kansas City and St. Louis locations as video shows lecturers advocating violence and criminal mischief to accomplish labor goals. Judy Ancel, director of the Institute for Labor Studies in Kansas City is one of the lecturers, so what exactly what does the ILS promote and teach?

Here is the link to the ILS. The Fall Credit courses begin in September 2011 and help fulfill the requirements needed for a labor certificate:



Get the education and skills you need to be a leader and confront the challenges of the changing workplace and the global economy. Earn a certificate in Labor Studies through UMKC by taking six courses - 18 units - on the University's Interactive Video Network. You can take up to two courses a semester, evenings and Saturdays. For a brochure, call (816) 235-1470 .

Sign up now to:

  • Develop your skills of advocacy and representation to serve your members more effectively.
  • Deepen your knowledge of the labor movement -- past, present and future.
  • Learn what others are doing across Missouri, the nation and the world to face the challenges posed by downsizing, restructuring and globalization.
  • Hone leadership and organizing skills to speak and motivate, do strategic planning, direct campaigns, increase participation and community involvement.
  • Learn from faculty with labor education expertise using resources from across the state in an interactive environment. Start on or continue that college education you always wanted.

View current course offerings

The Labor Studies Certificate Program will give current and future union leaders, representatives and activists the background and skills they need to confront the changing workplace and economy. With a grounding in history, political science, law and economics, you will develop skills of analysis, leadership and organizing that will put you on an equal footing with your counterparts in the corporate and political world.
By participating in the program, you will earn 18 credit hours toward a degree and a Certificate in Labor Studies verifying your expertise.
Six courses, three credit hours each, will be offered, two per semester, all at convenient times and locations for working people. Courses will be offered through the University of Missouri Video Network as live, two-way interactive video. At some courses, you'll have a teacher in your classroom; at others, the teacher will be on another campus teaching through a two-way television hookup. You may attend classes at the campus closest to you.
Classes will be participatory and will take advantage of new technology to bring together students from across the state of Missouri to share experiences and discuss solutions to common problems.


The course descriptions don't go into specifics on exactly how goals and skills will be put into place, but Ms. Ancel recounted previously in class, an effective union technique in Peru used was placing feral cats into power plants to wreak havoc. I was curious about Ms. Ancel's reference to a union using animals and possibly sacrificing their lives to justify an end to human demands. Do unions have a history of violence against animals and other human beings? Is violence an acceptable business practice?

On the website there are several links to various areas: radio shows about labor issues sponsored by the KC public radio station, mission statement, staff members...and a tab labeled "Links". There are 3 National labor unions and 19 local/regional unions listed under this tab. This Wikipedia link provides a rather detailed history of union violence (it has been suggested it be renamed "industrial violence"):

When Union violence has occurred, it has frequently been in the context of industrial unrest. Union violence is generally a defensive measure carried out against guards or strikebreakers during attempts to undercut strikes. Violence has ranged from isolated acts by individuals, to wider campaigns of organised violence to further union goals within an industrial dispute.

According to a study in 1969, the United States has had the bloodiest and most violent labor history of any industrial nation in the world, and there have been few industries which have been immune.

This link mentioned civil mischief, arson, looting, killing, bombings, intimidation, sabotaging industrial equipment, assault, and bullying used by unions in disputes. I didn't see mention in this link of using feral cats to interrupt power plants in South America. It would be a noteworthy entry under "sabotaging industrial equipment" into this Wikipedia article. The focus today is the "global union" and the "global economy", so perhaps this tactic helps illustrate one of the stated goals of the course:

Learn what others are doing across Missouri, the nation and the world to face the challenges posed by downsizing, restructuring and globalization.

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