The world of work is changing and so are we.

View the NexGen17 Program here!

June 26-28 this year, we’re combining the ACTU Organising & OHS conferences to create NEXGEN17 – a conference for the whole union movement.

Our working lives are being radically transformed. How should unions respond? How can we seize the opportunities & overcome the threats?

NEXGEN Conference Registration (includes 90th Dinner)

(Visa or MasterCard only)



Discount for Union Workers under 27

ACTU 90th Dinner-only Registration

(Visa or MasterCard only)



Discount for groups of 10 or more

At NEXGEN17 we will explore the challenges that confront our movement & motivate each other to find new ways to win for working people.

NexGen17 will bring together the ideas, tools, & stories & the people in our movement who can bring them to life.

This is a conference for everyone: Leaders, Organisers, Campaigners, Online and Digital Experts, Communicators, Educators, WHS and Industrial Officers, and our rank and file leaders.

The conference will include streams for every aspect of work across our movement.

As well as learning from each other NexGen17 participants will hear from an exciting list of speakers from across the globe (find out more below).

Please also join us at the conference dinner where we will celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the ACTU.

Discounted accommodation options are now available through ozaccom.undefined

Early bookings are highly recommended.


Speakers at NexGen17

The ACTU is excited to welcome speakers from Black Lives Matter, Change to Win, ITF, Canadian Labour Congress, OUR Walmart, NUPGE, Unifor, the Australia Institute, the SEIU and more!

Dan Schaldeman

Dan Schlademan Co-Director, Organization United for Respect (OUR)

Dan Schlademan has been a successful labor organizer for almost 25 years. A pioneer in developing and field-testing new labor organizing strategies, Schlademan has led some of the labor movement’s most successful organizing campaigns of the past decade, helping workers build strong organizations and improving wages and healthcare.

For the last 6 years, Schlademan has been a campaign director at the Organization United for Resect (OUR). OUR is at the front edge of the innovative organization focused on holding Walmart, the largest employer in the world accountable to its workers and communities. Organization United for Respect @ Walmart (OUR Walmart), is the national organization being built by Walmart workers.

Before working to help raise the voices of Walmart employees, Schlademan led organizing and member engagement strategies in several roles at SEIU Local 1, the largest property services union in the Midwest with 50,000+ members. As a Vice President and Organizing Director, Schlademan helped thousands of once low-wage property service workers in suburban Chicago in winning their first union contract after a successful two-week strike in 2000.

As the director of the Houston Justice for Janitors campaign, Schlademan led one of the most successful large-scale union organizing drives in the South in recent years. Confronting a right-to-work environment and establishing rights for immigrant workers, many who are undocumented, Schlademan helped workers win union representation, healthcare and better jobs for more than 5,000 janitors after a successful four-week strike.

At the start of his career, Schlademan worked for the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union (ACTWU).

He was born in New Jersey and now lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. He holds a degree in sociology from Rutgers University.

Dawn Modkins Headshot

Dawn Modkins, Black Lives Matter

Dawn Modkins, a longtime union, community, and political organizer in the greater Los Angeles area has been dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights and social, economic, and racial justice for more than two decades.

She began her organizing career with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) as a rank and file shop steward, and later as a Union Summer Trainer with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).  Additionally, she organized the first union of airport security workers throughout California with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and co-led contract negotiations with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFCME).

In her role as a community organizer, Dawn’s executes her commitment to supporting the civic engagement, development and success of her local and faith-based communities by working with organizations like the PICO Network and Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE).  Since 2013, Dawn has led strategic initiatives with Black Lives Matter-Long Beach and played a critical role in helping develop the Black Lives Matter Global Network, an organization working to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people by building power, by far her favorite role.

She lives and plays in Long Beach, California and is the mom of two boys, ages 10 and 22.


Jeff Farmer, Director of Organizing, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Jeff Farmer is the Director of Organizing for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union representing more than 1.4 million members throughout North America. Farmer attended Hampshire College and the University of Minnesota. As a young man, he gained valuable hands-on experience working a wide variety of jobs, including as a deckhand on the Mississippi River barges and a welder in a manufacturing plant.

A 35-year veteran of the labor movement, Farmer had been a member and worked for several unions before being hired to work as Organizing Coordinator for the Teamsters in Minnesota. In 2002, General President Jim Hoffa asked Farmer to move to Washington, D.C. to create a new Teamsters Organizing Department, with the goal of making the Teamsters Union one of the largest, strongest and fastest-growing unions in North America.

A strong environmentalist, Farmer is a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. He is an avid distance runner and cyclist, and enjoys live music and theater.  Farmer is the father of two children—and now a very proud and happy grandfather!


Lana Payne, Altantic Director, Unifor

Lana Payne brings two decades of dedication to Atlantic workers to her position of Atlantic Director of Unifor.

Lana found her home in the labour movement in 1991 as a member of the CAW/FFAW. Lana is a proud feminist and activist.

She worked for CAW/FFAW for 17 years in research, servicing, public policy, campaigns and communications. The CAW, along with CEP, is one of Unifor’s founding unions. In 2008, Lana was elected president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, and was re-elected in 2010.

In her five years with the NLFL, the federation made many gains, including changes to the labour code, stronger health and safety laws, minimum wage increases and investments in childcare. Under her leadership, the federation built strong coalitions and raised the profile and political voice of the labour movement.

In 2014, she was named one of Canada’s 23 Bold Women of Vision. She is a vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, representing Unifor with National President Jerry Dias, Before joining the union in 1991, Lana was a journalist for The Sunday Express and The St. John’s Telegram. She continues to write a bi-weekly column for The Telegram.


Larry Brown, President of NUPGE

With degrees in political science and law, Larry Brown, President of one of Canada's largest unions, has a wide range of experience to draw on, having spent over 3 decades honing skills in government, public administration, labour relations, teaching and legal issues.

Born in southern Saskatchewan and raised on a farm there, Brown began his interest in social issues while at the University of Saskatchewan, where he served as secretary to the student union and president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Students.

While articling with a Saskatchewan law firm, Brown was hired by the provincial Department of Labour as executive secretary to the Task Force on Workers' Compensation. He later became executive assistant to the Deputy Minister of Labour. While working with the government, he drafted precedent-setting Canadian legislation protecting workers against imminent danger — the right to refuse dangerous work. He also contributed his expertise and talents to the first Occupational Health Act in Canada.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour was his next stop. As the chief staff officer, he led the provincial organizing team for the national day of protest against wage controls in 1976 and was labour's representative on both the provincial task force examining Workers' Compensation and the government's Commission reviewing rent controls.

He later became the chief executive officer of the Saskatchewan Government Employees Association, a Component of the National Union of Government and General Employees (NUPGE) and the province's largest union, where he led one of the first public service-wide strikes in Canada. He served for 7 eventful years during which it adopted the union name and demeanour of one of Saskatchewan's most active unions — SGEU.

In 1986, he was elected as Secretary-Treasurer of NUPGE, where he served as chief financial officer and one of the spokespersons for the National Union.

In 2016, Brown was elected as President of the National Union.

Brown is also the President of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Canada's leading progressive research and policy organization.

For many years, he chaired the Public Sector Working Group of the 10 million strong Public Services International (PSI).  He has also taught as a sessional lecturer at Carleton University, teaching in the Masters of Public Administration program.

He has written and spoken extensively about public finances, debt and deficit issues, the changes in federal-provincial financing, public sector restructuring and the resulting changes in the economic and political structures of Canada that have occurred in the last decade.

Brown chairs the National Union's Pensions Committee where he is leading the push to expand the control by unions of their members' pension funds, and of the use of those funds to better the condition of workers through ethical screening, shareholder activism and social investment.

Brown is married to television journalist Tricia MacDonald. The father of 3 children, he and his family reside in Ottawa.


Scott Courtney, Executive Vice President SEIU

Scott Courtney was elected Executive Vice President of SEIU in May 2016.

For the past 33 years, Courtney has built power with workers from all walks of life and in every corner of the United States: construction workers in California, manufacturing workers in Michigan, neonatal intensive-care unit RNs in Florida, hotel workers in Nevada, and dietary and housekeeping workers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

As SEIU’s organizing director over the past six years, Courtney helped lead the Fight for $15, sparking a movement that Slate has called “the most successful progressive political project of the late Obama era, both practically and philosophically.”

Courtney believes in the power of the people; that by sticking together at work, people can win a better life together. Over the course of his career at SEIU, Courtney has been at the forefront of making sure working people have a voice in their own future.

He began his work with SEIU in 1998 as an organizer and went on to lead major healthcare organizing campaigns. As organizing director of SEIU District 1199, he built and led a team of organizers in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky who helped a record number of healthcare workers join our union. As organizing director for SEIU Healthcare, he helped negotiate innovative agreements that made it possible for thousands of healthcare workers at hospitals to join SEIU.

In some ways Scott Courtney was destined to be a union leader. He was raised in a union household in southern Illinois among family members who worked as pipefitters, steelworkers and postal workers. His father was president of a United Steelworkers local union. Before joining the SEIU team, Courtney held various jobs, including one operating a backhoe on a gas pipeline as a member of the Operating Engineers.

Today, when not working, Courtney spends his free time with the “the most amazing granddaughter on the planet” and his three children.


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