Thursday at 6:00 pm

Heartland Labor Forum

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The Heartland Labor Forum is Kansas City’s only program about the workplace. It’s radio that talks back to the boss! Whether you’re a union member or your workplace isn’t organized, Heartland Labor Forum (HLF) has stories for you, guaranteed to inspire, educate, or enrage you. HLF is produced by a diverse group of working people and coordinated by The UMKC’s Labor Studies Program. We have been agitating for the rights of working people on the KKFI airwaves since 1989.

Find out about labor struggles and strikes, organizing in Kansas City, global sweatshops, and how the economy is working from the point of view of working people. Listen to our monthly features: Know Your Rights, Safety First, Economics Unmasked, and Washington Window on Workers. Heartland Labor Forum has won the International Labor Communications Association first prize for radio several times. Other media have plenty of business news of, by, and for the 1%; HLF is for the rest of us.

Find our schedule of upcoming shows and our archive at

  • Judy Ancel – Directs the labor studies program at UMKC and has been educating, agitating and organizing for justice for working people since the 1970s. She coordinates the show.
  • Janice Brill – taught public school near St. Louis for many years. She’s now retired and spends her time raising her grandchildren and raising hell along with  Jobs with Justice. She produced a monthly series on Heartland Labor Forum called Don’t Be Ladylike about women in the past who did the same.
  • Kim Clause She makes AFT Local 691 run smoothly. Loves to read and interview authors.
  • Hester Duisik has been downsized, retrained and re-employed from more jobs than all of us put together. She’s an ardent member of CWA, the Communications Workers and was one of the first women techs that AT&T hired in the 1970s.
  • Ariana Eakle IBEW Local 124 apprentice and gifted singer. Also does our feature: Remember Our Struggle.
  • Shicagolyn Hamms Politics is her passion. She chairs the KKFI Marketing Committee and is a board member.
  • Christina Hendricks Young inner-city social studies teacher and union activist.
  • Cris Mann teaches special education in the Kansas City Missouri school district. She dreams of the day when the Pentagon budget will be redirected to our schools and teachers. She’s a member of Kansas City Federation of Teachers
  • Molly Madden – is a retired city bus driver and tireless agitator for justice. Having worked in factories, taught school and learned radio production, she’s living proof that a working person’s life can span many careers.
  • Shawn Saving makes maps for the State of Kansas in his day job and plays in a rock band by night. When he’s not fixing up his house, he’s producing radio.
  • Michael Savwoir retired from UPS after several years where he was a member of Teamsters Local 41 and a proud dissident in Teamsters for a Democratic Union.
  • Tino Scalici He works the line at Ford, writes books and makes trouble.
  • Lon Swearingen Retired teacher and member of AFT Local 691. Disability rights activist
  • Jake White Budding librarian with a passion for books and research. He keeps the ideas flowing
  • Jen Zaman Dream of an engineer. She makes us sound good.

Feature Editors

  • Mary Erio hosts the monthly Safety First feature warning us of hazards at work and informing us how to work safer. She is an industrial hygienist so she knows what she’s talking about.
  • Angie Williams

    Angie Williams

    Angie Williams does our “Know Your Rights” segment.  She is an attorney in Kansas City focusing on complex family immigration and removal defense and criminal defense.  She is an activist for immigrant rights and immigration reform. Angie has written extensively on the subject as well as testified against unconstitutional state based immigration laws in both the Kansas and Missouri Legislature.

  • Mark Gruenberg is on once a month with Washington Window on Workers. He is a full-time labor journalist with PAI-Press Associates Inc. which provides news to unions and labor publications.
Upcoming episodes
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Recent episodes

Election Recap on Worker Issues and People Before Profit: The Inspiring Story of the Founder of Bob’s Red Mill
November 15, 2018 | 6:00 pm

If there was a blue wave in last week’s elections, it missed Missouri’s Democratic candidates. This week on the Heartland Labor Forum we talk to Rep. DaRon McGee about prospects for working people in the Missouri legislature in 2019. Will they try to re-pass right to work? Then hear about Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill whole grain foods put people before profits when he retired and transferred ownership to his workers. Then we talk to UMKC Economist Erik Olsen about types of employee ownership.

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One Job Should Be Enough: The Marriott Strike and ATT Legacy: How about One Contract?
November 8, 2018 | 6:00 pm

It’s over a month now that Marriott workers from Boston to Honolulu have been on strike. They say “one job should be enough,” but many have to work more because of low wages. This week on the Heartland Labor Forum, we’ll cover the strike. Then: AT&T Legacy workers can’t get a collective bargaining agreement. Although it’s rolling in dough, AT&T is only offering to ship half the workers’ jobs abroad.

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Ballot Initiatives: CLEAN and Raise Up Missouri
November 1, 2018 | 6:00 pm

We’ll explore Amendment 1 CLEAN Missouri, which limits campaign and lobbying donations to the state legislature and how we redistrict, as well as Proposition B Raise Up Missouri, which would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.85 to $12 by 2023.

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Is the Economy Blowing Bubbles? and Rail Workers Uniting
October 25, 2018 | 6:00 pm

We’ll ask economist Richard Wolff how the economy is doing. Is it blowing bubbles? Then railway workers belong to a bunch of different unions. Their disunity costs them at the bargaining table. Now there’s a movement of rank and filers to coordinate. We’ll talk to some of them.

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Sweat: A Play about Rustbelt America and The Fall of Wisconsin
October 18, 2018 | 6:00 pm

We’ll do two different takes on the undoing of the American working class. First, Sweat: a play about rustbelt America which opens this week at the Unicorn; then, The Fall of Wisconsin, a book with a searing account of how the state’s progressive tradition was undone at the expense of Wisconsin workers.

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Two Books about the Decline of Work and the Middle Class: Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work and Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America
October 11, 2018 | 6:00 pm

This week, we’ll ask: Is work as we know it disappearing as the middle class gets squeezed, and then gigged? We talk to two authors about two books Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America and Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work.

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Middle School Kids Talk Labor History and Bill Fletcher has a novel: The Man That Fell from the Sky
October 4, 2018 | 6:00 pm

We’ll hear local Kansas City Missouri Middle School students discuss the history of child labor and what it means for students today. Then, longtime labor guru Bill Fletcher Jr. talks about his new novel called The Man Who Fell from the Sky, about a young journalist with African immigrant parents who investigates a murder in 1970 while covering anti-Vietnam War protests and the Black Panthers.

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Exploring the Psychology of Obedience and Wobs in KC
September 27, 2018 | 6:00 pm

The workplace depends on the willingness of the worker to follow the rules and comply with orders. This week on the Heartland Labor Forum we’ll explore the Psychology of Obedience.

Then a hundred thirteen years after its founding, the Industrial Workers of the World, aka IWW, aka the Wobblies is making a comeback and is here to tell you that “an injury to one is still an injury to all.” And we can’t think of a group less likely to obey the boss.

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Prop A: How We Defeated Right to Work and Now What?
September 20, 2018 | 6:00 pm

Last month, Missouri labor and its allies shocked the nation with a 2-1 vote on Proposition A, repealing the right to work law passed by the legislature. How did they do it, and what lessons does this victory teach us?

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BlackKKlansman: HLF Looks Under the Hood and The Killing of DST
September 13, 2018 | 6:00 pm

Have you seen the movie BlacKKKlansman, about a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan forty years ago? We’ll take a look under the hood, talk about the true story and get reactions from viewers. Then: this year over a thousand workers in downtown KC were suddenly laid off thanks to corporate restructuring at DST. Why this is happening?

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Judy Ancel | Facebook

Producer of "Heartland Labor Forum"

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Heartland Labor Forum Programmers | Email me | Facebook

The Heartland Labor Forum is produced by a group of volunteers who are labor and community activists who believe in workplace democracy, workers rights, and economic justice. We're the only show in Kansas City that focuses on working people: who is fighting on their side and who is not, what they need to know about the economy. We seek to educate and inspire.

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