Working Rhode Island: How We Built a Progressive Movement in Rhode Island

Working Rhode Island: How We Built a Progressive Movement in Rhode Island

Session Type(s): Panel

Training Tag(s): Local, Labor

Starts: Thursday, Jun. 7 4:30 PM (Eastern)

Ends: Thursday, Jun. 7 5:45 PM (Eastern)

Working across class, generation, ethnic and trade barriers, Working Rhode Island is following the “One Big Union” model in exciting and dynamic ways. Built out of a common need to organize against a conservative Republican governor, the groups assembled around the Working Rhode Island table left the old rules behind to figure out new ways to work together against common enemies. It’s led to amazing results, including seeing the Rhode Island AFL-CIO endorse marriage equality legislation, primary challenges to Democratic incumbents from labor-backed candidates and immigrant rights being considered workers’ rights. There have been fights and losses along the way, but plenty of victories too. Without a doubt, Working Rhode Island is a model for the nation.


Patrick Crowley


Referred to as “Bright and blunt” by The Providence Phoenix, Patrick Crowley is a leading progressive organizer in Rhode Island. Crowley is the Government Relations Director for NEARI, the largest teachers’ union in Rhode Island. The former editor of RIFUTURE.Org, the left-leaning political blog in Rhode Island, Crowley made headlines for exposing right wing Governor Don Carcieri’s failure to pay property tax on his luxury condominium in Florida and for chasing then Republican Senator, now Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee around the State during his 2006 re-election campaign in a George W. Bush mask and a flight suit.

Other sessions: When Democrats Aren't Democrats: The Story of Rhode Island

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Kate Brock


Kate Brock is the Executive Director of Ocean State Action. Kate is a Providence native who joined Ocean State Action in June of 2010 after leaving Repower Maine, a local chapter of Vice President Al Gore’s organization supporting comprehensive climate change legislation. Kate served as Project Director for Ocean State Action’s Victory Campaign supporting the election of Governor Lincoln Chafee. Kate chairs the LIFT, RI’s tax fairness coalition, and leads Ocean State Action’s health care organizing and advocacy work. Kate’s work in social justice began over a decade ago with fights for stronger clean air and water protections and LBGTQI rights. Kate serves on the boards of Marriage Equality Rhode Island, and the Women’s Health and Education Fund. She received a B.A. in political science from the University of Vermont.

Other sessions: When Democrats Aren't Democrats: The Story of Rhode Island

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Scott Duhamel


Graduated from Rhode Island College, Bachelor of Arts, 1981
Business Representative IUPAT District Council 11 Local 195 since 2005
Secretary-Treasurer Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council since 2009
RI AFL-CIO Executive Board since 2005
Building Futures Advisory Council Board since 2007
RI Jobs With Justice Treasurer since 2007
Build RI Executive Committe since 2008
Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors since 2011

George Nee


President, Rhode Island AFL-CIO

•Rhode Island AFL-CIO
President 2009-Present
Secretary-Treasurer 1991-2009
Executive Director 1983-1991
•Service Employees International Union, Local 76 (now New England Healthcare Employees 1199/SEIU)
President 1976-1983
•United Farm Workers of America
Field Organizer 1969-1971

•Human Resource Investment Council/Governor’s Workforce Board–Board Member
•Workers Compensation Advisory Council–Chairman
•Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation–Board Member
•Rhode Island Convention Center Authority–Board Member

•Institute for Labor Studies and Research–Chairman
•Building Futures–Advisory Board Member
•Providence Performing Arts Center–Board Member
•Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade–2011 Grand Marshall
•Member of Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame–Inducted 2011

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Robert Walsh


Executive Director of National Education Association Rhode Island; Secretary-Treasurer of Working Rhode Island; President of Ocean State Action.

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