Where have I been speaking?

My interactive workshops are for leaders, staff, stewards, activists and apprentices. They focus on labor history, economic justice education, coalition building, communications skill building and strategic planning. I also produce educational and training materials designed specifically for individual unions. All my work is focused on what we can learn from our past and present struggles that will inspire and educate participants to take more sustained actions that are needed to build more power today and into the future.

My seven interactive workshops:

“Fighting for Our Democracy and Our Future in the Age of Trump” draws out important historical lessons from the early 20th century.  Our inability to find unity served the interests of Corporate America and a hostile corporate dominated government.  Racism, sexism, immigrant-bashing, union busting, and culture wars kept us weak for decades while the people suffered.  What can we learn from the past that will help us today?  Download the Powerpoint.

“Your inspirational message to our delegates was educational and thought provoking.” – Lonnie StephensonInternational President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

“Your presentation was impressive. We will be in touch.” – Richard LaniganInternational President, Office of Professional Employees International Union

“Great job yesterday, everyone was impressed.” – Steve PendergrassPresident, Iron Workers District Council of the Pacific NW

“Your presentation and workshop were very powerful.” – Christina BrockAssistant Business Manager, IBEW Local 213, British Columbia

“Making the American Dream Real for Everyone” focuses on the rise and fall of unions and our allies over the past 125 years in our fight to share fairly in the wealth we produce and build a more just and equitable country, and how we can rebuild our power. Watch the video. Download the PowerPoint.

“Mark inspired and electrified our Region 9 leadership conference… I strongly recommend Mark to any union wanting to inspire and educate their leaders and activists about the road forward.” – Cindy Estrada, International Vice President, United Auto Workers, Union.

“Mark’s labor presentation is superb…This presentation is a must for modern day unionists.”- Kinsey Robinson, International President, Roofers Union.

“I heard Mark speak at the IBEW’s national Membership Development convention this year….  He is one of the best at informing and motivating.” – Don Siegel, IBEW 3rd District International Vice President (retired).

“What is most valuable about Mark’s workshops is the recognition that as we remember our history, we get a sense of optimism and hope that when we come together and focus on what we have in common, rather than what divides us, we can overcome seemingly impossible odds and make progressive change.” – Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council.

“His workshop was just fantastic!  It was very educational, not to mention emotional, and overall it was motivational!… This could be the cure for apathy in the labor movement.  It felt like a shot in the arm.” – Sue Palmer, Secretary-Treasurer, Machinists District Lodge 751, Seattle.

“You might call justice and labor educator Mark McDermott a union historian.  Or a walking champion for the working class.  The popular speaker has a gift for bringing past victories to life to inspire constructive action for the future.” – LA Building Trades News, October 2013.

“Winning Big in Hard Times” explores the rise and fall of unions and our allies in strengthening our democracy over the same time period and how we can reclaim our democracy. Watch the video. Download the PowerPoint.

“Mark made us laugh, cry, and best of all, believe we can win for working families.  Mark connected with every member in the room. Many of our immigrant members learned our labor history for the first time.” – Karen Hart, President, SEIU 925, Seattle.

“Mark McDermott’s presentation was terrifically engaging.  Myself and members of the union I work for were all fired up.  But especially we were informed.” – Bill Razeto, SPEEA, Tukwila WA.

“Which Side of History Are You On?” focuses on Corporate America’s counterattack over the past 40 years and how disunity between organized labor and our potential community allies and movements weakened us. Most importantly we learn about many examples of major successes that new labor/communities alliances are winning. Watch the video. Download the PowerPoint.

Just a quick note of thanks for your presentation at the 79th Annual Western Conference of Locals of the American Federation of Musicians. It was tremendous and we have received nothing but positive feedback from the delegates.” – Bob Sanders, President, American Federation of Musicians Local 7, Orange County CA.

“I attended the Wisconsin Pipe Trades convention last week and just wanted to let you know how moved I was by your presentation.” – Andrew Campeau, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 11, Duluth MN.

“The evaluations from the conference have been very positive and, as always, you were a big part of that.  The young workers spoke very highly of your presentation.” – Alex Tetzlaff, Business Agent, Operating Engineers 420, and chair of 8-state Utility Workers Coalition, Green Bay WI.

“Speaking from the Heart to Win Community Allies” encourages participants to speak from their hearts and use better messaging techniques as they reach out to non-union workers and current and potential community allies. Download the PowerPoint.

“I just wanted to let you know that the feedback on your presentation was extremely positive, and that participants seemed to really enjoy the information.” – Nicole Korkolis, Director of Communications, Education and Research, Office and Professional Employees International Union, New York.

“Thank you for a spectacular conference!  My staff was still talking about it this morning.  You moved a lot of people out of their comfort zone and provided a safe place for them to speak from the heart.  I look forward to working with you in the future.” – Denise Jagielo, President, UFCW 367, Tacoma WA.

“Reaching Out to Young Workers and Young People” explores the generation gaps of the 1960s and today, and stimulates discussions about better ways to encourage our very progressive youth to greater activism in our unions.

“Train the Trainer” teaches participants a range of skills needed to run workshops of different contents and varying lengths. These skills can be used to run workshops that are content-focused (e.g. the “American Dream” workshop) as well as a communications or messaging workshop (e.g. the “Speaking from the Heart” workshop).

“I have gotten great feedback on your Train the Trainer workshop and will continue to promote as opportunities arise.” – Greg Boyd, Organizing Director, 9th District IBEW

My speeches and workshops combine personal and family stories and experiences, finding our common ground of economic hard times and concerns about the future for our young people, and sharing our deep concerns about the future and our shared American Dream.

We explore critical lessons about how we move forward to change the direction of our labor movement and country. The work also highlights significant victories that labor and our allies are winning across the country which are largely hidden from us. Each workshop concludes with small group and large group discussions of how we use the shared information and new skills more effectively in our work and bringing more people into our movement and coalitions.

Each workshop can be adjusted for length of time, audience size and type e.g. leader, staff, activists, members or apprentices and your union’s needs.

I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.


Read what people are saying.


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