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

Will Robots Get Your Job? And Blackballed: Race, Politics, and Football August 17, 2017 | 6:00 pm

Comedian and social commentator Lee Camp asks not if robots will get your job but who will benefit when they do. Then, with football kicking off this month, we’ll have historian Chuck Ross explain how matters of race and class are taking center field at colleges and the pros.

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The Politics of Immigration and Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy
August 10, 2017 | 6:00 pm

We’ll ask David Wilson, who has just updated The Politics of Immigration, “Do immigrants really take jobs from the rest of us and lower wages?” Then, we'll talk to Corinne Goria, whose new book Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy introduces us to phone manufacturers in China, copper miners in Zambia, garment workers in Bangladesh, and farmers around the world.

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Is Vo-Tech Shrinking? and Street Medical Care for All
August 3, 2017 | 6:00 pm

“Is vocational education disappearing or coming back?” Have we made a false choice between college and skills training? Later, we go to the streets and find out about Street Medicine KC, which provides of medical and behavioral care directly to those living and sleeping on the streets.

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A Plan to Put the Brakes on Runaway Inequality and Countering Hate without Feeding The Trolls
July 27, 2017 | 6:00 pm

We talk to Les Leopold about his new book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice. He’ll tell us why and also give some plausible solutions to the problem. Then find out how activists responded to the hate group, Act for America, when they came to Kansas City.

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“Waiting for Lefty” by SAVE UMKC THEATRE Students & Faculty
July 20, 2017 | 6:00 pm

Tune in for a special broadcast of "Waiting for Lefty," a play by Cliff Odets performed by UMKC Theatre students and faculty. Stay for the second half for an interview with "Lefty"'s director, Amy Billroth-Maclurg, graduate student/teacher in the MFA program at UMKC Theatre.

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UMKC’s Latest Round of Layoffs~SAVE UMKC THEATRE and Labor Studies Program Suspended: What Now?
July 13, 2017 | 6:00 pm

Amid budget shortfalls, so-called "non-core" programs are under attack from UMKC administrators, but faculty, staff, students and community members are fighting back. Judy Ancel and UMKC Theatre department chair, Tom Mardikes, talk about the layoffs and the campaign to save the MFA program and the employees who make it happen.

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The British Elections: What Do They Mean for Labor and Big Bucks for the Boot Heel: Good Deal or Not?
July 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm

We take another look at how the Labour party is reshaping politics across the pond in the UK. What does the rise of Jeremy Corbyn mean for the trade union movement? Then, we head down to swampeast Missouri, to the boot heel, to find out more about governor Eric Greitens' plans for one of the historically neglected regions of the state.

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Peter Moscowitz, How to Kill a City and Jonathan Rosenblum, Beyond $15
June 29, 2017 | 6:00 pm

We talk to Peter Moskowitz about his book How to Kill a City. Peter will tell us what gentrification is, how it happens, and what we can do to help combat it. Then Jonathan Rosenblum, author of Beyond $15, has been organizing for almost 30 years, so he knew how workers at SEATAC, near Seattle to become the first city to win a $15 minimum wage.

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Gordon Lafer: The 1% Solution and Builidng the Kansas City Skyline
June 22, 2017 | 6:00 pm

We’ll interview Gordon Lafer about his new book which asks what elites are doing with all their new-found power and review his book, The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time. Then, we’ll take a look at Kansas City’s urban design from the JC Nichols fountain to the Power and Light district: big structures can define a city.

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Detroit: Are the Engines Restarting?
June 15, 2017 | 6:00 pm

We start with a history tour of Detroit labor from its heyday in auto and the bloody struggle to organize, and in music with the union that represented the Motown Sound. Then, we’ll hear from Detroit labor and community activists today about emergency managers, tax incentives and what kind of Detroit they are rebuilding.

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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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