Judy Ancel


Judy Ancel continues to do labor education since she retired in 2017 as Director of UMKC’s Worker Education & Labor Studies program after 29 years. She is currently Labor Liaison for the new mayor of Kansas City, Kansas. Judy believes everyone needs a labor education to be able to defend their rights and democratize the workplace. Judy has taught college students, union members and the public on labor relations, labor history and contemporary problems of working people in a global economy. Early in her career, she worked in factories, and was 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 2019 she won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Association for Labor Education, and in 2019 she won their award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Labor Education. Both awards are given once a year to one labor educator among UALE’s North American membership. The 2009 award was for her role as originator and executive producer of The Heartland Labor Forum, a weekly one-hour radio show about the workplace and economic issues on community radio in Kansas City KKFI-90.1FM since 1989. 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, and in 2016 won again for a show on changing labor relations at Harley Davidson Co.

Judy Ancel is a founder and is Organizing Co-Chair of Kansas City Jobs with Justice. She is President of the Board of Directors of The Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity, a non-profit organization that develops ties and mutual understanding between working people in the Kansas City area and workers in Mexico and Central America. Its motto is: We support workers across borders and workers who cross borders. In 2020, CBN published a study called When Fleeing Is the Only Option on the roots of the massive exodus of Hondurans seeking asylum in the U.S. The study reveals the connection between migration and a century of U.S. imperialism. Ancel was one of the leaders of the coalition for a Safe and Welcoming City Act passed by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/ Kansas City Kansas in February 2022.