Judy Ancel has been the Director of Worker Education & Labor Studies labor education program at The University of Missouri-Kansas City since 1989. In her work she provides education and training for union members and the general public on labor relations, labor history and contemporary problems of working people in a global economy. She has taught history and politics at the college level, has worked in factories, and has been a union activist and organizer in both the United Steelworkers and American Federation of Teachers. She holds a Masters in history from Hunter College of the City University of New York and a B.A. from Stanford University. In 2009 she won the United Association of Labor Education award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education.
Ancel currently coordinates The Heartland Labor Forum, an award-winning weekly one-hour radio show about the workplace and economic issues on community radio in Kansas City KKFI-90.1FM. In 2011 she won first prize from The International Labor Communications Association for a radio show, The Last Overhaul about the shutdown of the American Airlines maintenance base in Kansas City.
Ancel is a founder and is Organizing Co-Chair of Kansas City Jobs with Justice and is active in the United Association of Labor Education (UALE) on their Immigration and Globalization Working Group.
Global solidarity work
She is President of the Board of Directors of The Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity, a non-profit organization which develops ties and mutual understanding between working people in the Kansas City area and workers in Mexico and Central America. Its motto is: Supporting workers across borders and workers who cross borders. She also served from 2000-2007 as a Director and Executive Committee member of The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, a San Antonio-based tri-national non-governmental organization. In May, 2010 Ancel organized a delegation of labor educators, filmmakers, and students to investigate the strike of copper miners in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. The report, Crossing the Border to Cananea: High Stakes and Teachable Moments for North American Workers March, 2011 and a link to the video are available at http://cas.umkc.edu/labor-ed/global.htm. Ancel has also traveled six times to Honduras on human and worker rights and election monitoring delegations from 2009-16 and speaks and writes about the 2009 coup and the surge in violations of worker and human rights since then.
Defending labor studies against attack
In April and May 2011 Ancel and a team teacher in St. Louis were targeted by media thug Andrew Breitbart of BigGovernment.com who posted a series of highly edited videos misrepresenting a course they teach, accusing them of teaching violence, sabotage, communism and militancy. A hate campaign against them was spearheaded by the St. Louis Tea Party and the Missouri Lt. Governor. However, Ancel fought back and was vindicated by UMKC. She and others organized support from around the country to save her colleague’s teaching job and won his reinstatement. Ancel and her colleague were later honored for defending academic freedom by the American Association of University Professors at their annual meeting.
Source: http://cas2.umkc.edu/labor-ed/staff.htm (Faculty bio, published August 31, 2007)