The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) is a Portland, Oregon-based association of union-aligned labor educators who strive to “educate” workers about organized labor and union membership. UALE pushes pro-organized-labor messages on workers through a labor education program designed to “promote collective bargaining,” lending support to the left-of-center labor movement.  The group has extensive ties to the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States.
United Association for Labor Education was founded in 2000 when the University and College Labor Education Association and Workers Education Local 189 merged.  Workers Education Local 189 was founded in the 1920s with the express purpose of promoting unionization through education programs, holding regular conferences and meetings regarding the labor movement.  The University and College Labor Education Association was founded in 1960 to create a network of university and college centers and programs for “labor studies.”  The University and College Labor Education Association partnered with the AFL-CIO to found the National Labor College to offer degree programs in labor studies. 
Since 2000, UALE has structured annual conferences around the presentation of academic papers on left-wing labor policies, established working groups to support central labor councils and state federations, and revitalized the Labor Studies Journal.  UALE has been connected to the AFL-CIO since its inception, collaborating with the union to connect labor scholarship with activism in an effort to advance far-left employment policies.  At UALE’s annual conference in 2016, controversial AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka gave the keynote speech. 
United Association for Labor Education works through committees, caucuses, and working groups.  Committees and caucuses are primarily focused on internal UALE management, while the working groups focus on promoting UALE policy. 
UALE Working Groups
The Central Labor Council (CLC) working group is one of the largest in UALE, and the group is devoted to bringing together labor educators to promote AFL-CIO’s work, most recently in the American South.  CLC working group has provided research to AFL-CIO on other successful union efforts aimed at uniting workers to centralized organizing bodies of national labor unions.  Prior to this project, the group worked with AFL-CIO on the Building Regional Power Research Project for ten years. The CLC group published this research, which detailed how to organize local movements to build regional and national power through coalition building, political action, non-profit research, left-progressive policy agendas, and concrete political victories.  The research was published in a book entitled A New New Deal: How Regional Activism will Reshape the American Labor Movement. 
The Immigration and Globalization working group came together in 2006 to respond to immigrant unrest in the United States in order to create a curriculum for labor educators to incorporate immigrant workers into unions. 
In addition to specific policy working groups, UALE has several working groups focusing on K-14, online, and popular education on the labor movement. The K-14 working group aims to create a curriculum for K-14 “labor education,” then implement that program in schools by working with teachers, unions, and government entities.  The online education working group aims to evaluate the effectiveness of online union education, including evaluating new media, social media, and information sharing among unions.  UALE’s popular education working group aims to move left-of-center labor advocacy out of academics and into the general audience, aiming to provoke “radical transformation for social and economic justice.”  The popular education working group strives to educate workers themselves and admittedly “does not pretend to be neutral,” but rather claims to be “openly on the side of the oppressed” by pushing a left-wing set of political values. 
UALE also has working groups for young workers, workers who write, and documentarians to promote left-of-center values in academic literature and film.  The Labor Studies Journal is one of UALE’s primary projects, publishing work on labor organizations, work, and labor studies in the U.S. and abroad.  The journal publishes content that is overwhelmingly left-leaning, including a dedicated issue to promoting socialism.  The 2019 “Special Issue: Conference on Socialism and Labor: Theory and Praxis” included articles which advocated for revitalizing a “militant minority” of left-wing individuals to strengthen unions and increasing socialist labor education. 
Each year, UALE hosts a large national conference, bringing together academics and labor educators from across the United States to present academic papers on labor and to distribute five awards for achievements in labor education.  Conferences are centered on presentations and working groups on left-of-center labor organizing. The 2019 breakout groups included sessions on recruiting young workers for unionization, “intersectionality” in organizing, and worker “liberation.” 
The 2019 conference was sponsored by numerous left-of-center labor unions, including the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 15, the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, and the American Federation of Teachers. 
For forty-two years, UALE has also hosted “women’s schools” to recruit women to leadership positions in the left-wing labor movement. 
People and Funding
While UALE’s annual conferences are sponsored by outside organizations, UALE also collects dues from members to fund operational expenses, with amounts varying based on member income. 
UALE is governed by an executive board, elected every two years at the annual convention.  Mary Bellman is currently president of UALE.  Bellman is an Associate Teaching Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and the Director of Labor Education at Penn State University’s School of Labor and Employment Relations.  Bellman spent time working with labor unions in Central America before joining the University of Minnesota’s Labor Education Service prior to entering Penn State in 2014.