Thursday at 6:00 pm

Heartland Labor Forum

logo for the Heartland Labor Forum show

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.
  • Frank Bradley, Jr. – Is a local artist and composer who thinks artists should be respected as the working people that they are.
  • 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.
  • Conrad Creitz

    Conrad Creitz

    Conrad Creitz is a Vietnam vet, passionately anti-war and a member of Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War. He thinks the Pentagon budget needs to be cut in half, and that money should be spent on repairing our own country and putting the working people back to work at union scale wages. He is also interested in Veterans programs that help his fellow veterans.

  • Oliver Dreher is our resident Luddite and thinks technology is the ruination of the working stiff. He also just got an MA in economics from UMKC.
  • 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.
  • Sayra Gordillo organizes for Missouri Jobs with Justice, thinks immigrants deserve to have rights and dignity at work, and is the youngest sprout in the current crop of radio trouble makers.
  • 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.
  • Susan Sanders spent years as a psychotherapist until she decided to trade in the couch and put her lovely Tennessee drawl on the air. At Heartland Labor Forum she hosts the Pioneer Women series.
  • John Todd has his own music show, but at Heartland Labor Forum he’s our engineer and makes us sound good despite all the craziness inherent in a group show.
  • 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

We Can Do It! Women in the Trades July 28, 2016 | 6:00 pm

Rosie does a lot more than riveting these days. We’ll talk with a local Ironworker apprentice, then hear from tradeswomen from all over the continent at the May, 2016 Women Build Nations conference.

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Recent episodes

The New Operating Engineers Union Health Clinic: Will It Start a Trend?
July 21, 2016 | 6:00 pm

Last month, Kansas City based union Operating Engineers Local 101 opened its own healthcare facility, the Union Health and Wellness Center for union members and their families. The union says it’s a groundbreaking concept.

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Do Harley’s Dreams of Personal Freedom Include Its Workers?
July 14, 2016 | 6:00 pm

Harley-Davidson used to be famous for its cooperative labor relations. This week, we'll ask union leaders if Harley's dreams of personal freedoms still extend to its workers.

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The UAW Identity Crisis: Is It Still An Auto Union? Green Party Candidate Jill Stein on Labor, the Economy and Immigration (first of a series on candidates)
July 7, 2016 | 6:00 pm

The UAW now has 30,000 members who work at universities. They don’t think like autoworkers. This week, we’ll ask if the UAW is headed for an identity crisis. Then, Green Party presidential Candidate Jill Stein came to town this week and talked to us about her vision for jobs and a more equal economy.

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Teachers March Again and The Management Myth
June 30, 2016 | 6:00 pm

Five reasons you should go to the People’s March for public education and social justice in Washington DC July 8-10. Then, what’s management expertise good for? Author Matthew Stewart, who wrote The Management Myth, will tell us management thought is full of fuzzy thinking, fudged data, hidden agendas and plain old BS.

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Pullman Porters: The Making of the Black Middle Class in KC
June 23, 2016 | 6:00 pm

After the Civil War until World War II, one of the few good jobs open to African American men and a few women as Pullman Porter or Maid. To be sure, they weren't treated as equals and had to hustle for every nickel, but in a world of segregation, porters helped create a black middle class in Kansas City and around the country.

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Thomas Frank: Listen Liberal and Postal Banking: Is the Time Now?
June 16, 2016 | 6:00 pm

KC area native Thomas Frank has written about why Kansans vote against their self-interest and about how the right wing took over America. Now he looks at the Democrats in his new book Listen Liberal: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? He’ll be on Heartland Labor Forum this week where we’ll also look at an alternative to pay-day lenders in communities that banks have abandoned and ask: Is it time to bring back postal banking?

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James Green: The Devil’s in These Hills and Don Blankenship Goes to Jail (Sort Of) June 9, 2016 | 6:00 pm

From the 1870s to the 1930s, there was a deadly war in West Virginia between coal corporations with hired governors and thugs and coal miners with their union and the legendary Mother Jones. James Green, whose new book, The Devil is Here in These Hills, will be on the Heartland Labor Forum to talk about it. Then, we’ll ask if jailing former coal CEO Don Blankenship, responsible for the Upper Big Branch mine disaster, is a victory for the miners.

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Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary and Jamala Rogers: Ferguson Is America
June 2, 2016 | 6:00 pm

We'll talk to Gerald Horne about his book on the great singer and activist Paul Robeson. The book is called "The Artist as Revolutionary". Then it’s noted St. Louis community activist Jamala Rogers with her new book "Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion".

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The New Center for Neighborhoods and Disabilities Integration Act
May 26, 2016 | 6:00 pm

Hear about the new partnership between UMKC’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design and the community to address the challenges facing neighborhoods in Kansas City, MO. The new Center for Neighborhoods serves as a catalyst for neighborhood planning activities and issues facing neighborhood organizations in our region. Then we’ll find out about the proposed Disabilities Integration Act which would aim to fully make people with disabilities a part of our communities.

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Maintain That Plane Where? and Media Sleeps Through Democracy Awakening May 19, 2016 | 6:00 pm

Do you know where the plane you fly is maintained? Why is Senator Claire McCaskill asking TSA if they inspect and enforce safety standards in foreign airline maintenance bases? Then, last month hundreds of people were arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening. Did you hear anything about it in the news?

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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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Judy Ancel | Facebook

Producer of "Heartland Labor Forum"

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