Labor 11.3 (Fall, 2014)

Labor 11.3 Cover (Fall, 2014)

In This Issue

The Common Verse

  • Hugh Martin, “Iraq War, 2004


  • James N. Gregory, “Advancing the Ivory-Collar/Blue-Collar Partnership

Up for Debate

  • Eric Arnesen, “Introduction
  • Nancy MacLean, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Difference a Law Can Make
  • Thomas J. Sugrue, ““The Largest Civil Rights Organization Today”: Title VII and the Transformation of the Public Sector
  • Touré F. Reed, “Title VII, the Rise of Workplace Fairness, and the Decline of Economic Justice, 1964–2013
  • Gavin Wright, “Title VII in Economic-Historical Perspective
  • Eileen Boris, “Where’s the Care?
  • Articles

    • Erik S. Gellman, “In the Driver’s Seat: Chicago’s Bus Drivers and Labor Insurgency in the Era of Black Power


    • Rosemary Feurer, “Introduction

    • John Abbott, “Comments on Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx
    • Bruce Levine, “Marx Finds a Hostile Biographer
    • Nelson Lichtenstein, “The Revolutionary Marx
    • Susan J. Pearson, “The Secret to Success
    • Jonathan Sperber, “Response to Feurer, Abbott, Levine, Lichtenstein, and Pearson

    Collective Wisdom

    • Jonathan Rees, “Beyond Body Counts: A Centennial Rethinking of the Ludlow Massacre

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    Teaching Labor History »

    The Right’s Working-Class Philosopher

    Stevedores on a New York dock loading barrels of corn syrup onto a barge on the Hudson River, circa 1912. Photograph by Lewis Hine.By Peter Cole on September 10, 2014 | Comments: (1)

    Original posted in Jacobin on September 2, 2014. Eric Hoffer was a conservative who only had the time to write because he was represented by a powerful leftist union. [Read More]

    New Projects from the Labor Archives Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists

    By Conor Casey on September 5, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    In an effort to update and expand tools for Labor Archives Roundtable members and our users, we have been working on new projects of interest to LAWCHA members. [Read More]

    Michael Sacco on Steve Early’s Save Our Unions

    Steve Early's Save Our UnionsBy Michael Sacco on August 28, 2014 | Comments: (3)

    Labor law is outdated and rotten in the US, corporations have an inordinate amount of power, so it is rare that unions win or even strike these days. Solid activist leadership in our unions is rare in these last decades of concessionary bargaining and the sustained war on the working class. The lack of a class perspective by many Americans makes them susceptible to the ugliest sorts of manipulation against their own interests. [Read More]

    Are Labor and Working-Class History Courses in Decline, or Healthier than We Imagined?

    Classroom, Black and WhiteBy James Barrett on August 24, 2014 | Comments: (3)

    Are courses in labor and working-class history in higher education on the decline? If so, is this a particular problem, or part of a more general crisis in the discipline? Are students less interested in labor history than they once were? [Read More]

    On Ferguson, Missouri: History, Protest, and “Respectability”

    Getty Image. Is Polite Protest the only suitable framework for historical change?By Clarence Lang on August 17, 2014 | Comments: (1)

    It is difficult to write about the situation in the black working-class community of Ferguson, Missouri, which began last week with the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. It is difficult because the details of the case have evolved so rapidly and unpredictably. Who knows where all of this is going? But here is what is clear to me. [Read More]

    AFSCME, the United Negro College Fund, and Koch Money – Meanings for the Black Public Sphere

    AFSME Members at the US Capitol in 2013. Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Clarence Lang on August 4, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Lee A. Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), recently announced that his union is severing ties with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), effective September 1. For about a decade, the two organizations had been partners in the Union Scholars Program, which introduced students of color to the labor movement, funded recipients’ education expenses during their junior and senior years, and served as a pipeline to employment opportunities in AFSCME and social justice organizations. [Read More]

    The Supreme Court’s War on Women, Workers, and the 99%

    By Erik Loomis on July 2, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued two 5-4 decisions. The first, Harris v. Quinn, ruled that home health care workers are partial state employees and thus do not have to pay union dues, effectively creating right to work for a specific type of public employees. [Read More]

    Made within/outside the EU: what’s the difference? by Rutvica Andrijasevic

    Foxconn lectronics factory in Shenzhen. Credit: Steve Jurvetson.By Rutvica Andrijasevic on June 12, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    In a dormitory beside a railway station there are several hundred migrant workers getting ready for – or else just returning from – their 12-hour shifts in the nearby Foxconn factory. Most of them were recruited by Express People, one of the Czech Republic’s 1,300 temporary work agencies. [Read More]

    Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality

    mOpGPxVqkicy9tiguQlKYPMHo1_500By Ryan Poe on June 6, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Author Colin Gordon's book, Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality is an online textbook that uses historical and economic analysis to trace the causes and consequences of economic inequality in the United States.

    Older Entries

    A Memorial Day Exercise by Mark Lause

    By Mark Lause on May 26, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    A few years back, I got to visit the grave of an uncle buried overseas. He had been happily married to a wonderful wife and had two great little kids when he got his draft notice and reluctantly left to wind up in France in 1944. [Read More]

    The Courts vs. Teacher Unionism by Justin Law

    By Justin Law on May 23, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Teachers unions have faced some of the most challenging legal strictures in U.S. history. Before public collective bargaining employment laws, teachers effectively were told they had no right to organize by a judicial system that used a variety of constructions of the law to invalidate the citizen’s right to free speech and assembly in the workplace. [Read More]

    Call for Professors to Boycott Teach for America By Mark Naison

    By Mark Naison on May 20, 2014 | Comments: (11)

    Should Labor Historians Encourage A Boycott of Teach for America? Please comment. In the last few years, Teach for America has gone out of its way to send its Corps members into cities which have fired large numbers of veteran union teachers-among them Chicago, Newark and Washington DC. [Read More]

    The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University

    By Patrizia Sione on May 20, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    This is the first entry of a series of blogs dedicated to discussing labor archives. Thanks to Conor Casey for organizing this series. [Read More]

    Leon Fink receives Sol Stetin Award for Labor History

    By Ryan Poe on May 16, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Congratulations to Leon Fink who received Sidney Hillman Foundation’s gives 2014 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History. [Read More]

    SLSA is accepting essay submissions for the Robert H. Zieger Prize

    By Ryan Poe on May 12, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    The Southern Labor Studies Association (SLSA) announces the Robert H. Zieger Prize for the best essay in Southern Labor Studies. This prize has been established with the cooperation of the Zieger family and members of the SLSA.

    John Montgomery Ward, a New York Giant: A Labor History

    By Mark Lause on May 10, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    I doubt many my age can greet the end of school or the warm weather without thinking about baseball. When I was young, it certainly seemed as if the nineteenth century promoters who had worked so hard to make it “the American game” had succeeded. [Read More]

    Was Ludlow a Massacre? A Response by Thomas G. Andrews

    By Thomas Andrews on May 1, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Let me cut to the heart of the matter: I consider Ludlow a massacre, and never in either Killing for Coal nor anywhere else have I stated otherwise. [Read More]

    Let’s Draw Horns on Roosevelt’s Head by Chad Pearson

    By Chad Pearson on April 27, 2014 | Comments: (3)

    A number of the historians in the audience at the 2014 Organization of American Historian’s session on the state of political history in the post-1945 period were pleased to learn that a new edition of the Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order will soon be released. [Read More]

    “Yes, Ludlow Was a Massacre” by DeStefanis & Feurer, with Response by Martelle and Andrews

    By Anthony DeStefanis, Rosemary Feurer, Scott Martelle on April 21, 2014 | Comments: (27)

    Anthony DeStefanis and Rosemary Feurer wrote blogs simultaneously in response to a central question raised at the Ludlow Commemoration this weekend: Was Ludlow a Massacre? We present these here separately, and invite commentary.  UPDATE: We now have a response from Scott Martelle, who initiated the question. [Read More]

    US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement 3 years on–the Long Road to Solidarity by Avi Chomsky

    By Avi Chomsky on April 15, 2014 | Comments: (3)

    When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he told the AFL-CIO convention that he would oppose the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement promoted by then-president Bush “because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements.” Labor advocates cheered. [Read More]

    Be Consolated, John Handcox

    By Michael Honey on April 10, 2014 | Comments: (1)

    John L Handcox was an African American born in Brinkley, Arkansas, in 1904 at one of the worst times and in one of the worst places to be black in America. His family grew up in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, fifty miles from the site of the Elaine Massacre, where whites murdered scores and perhaps hundreds of African Americans for trying to organize a union in 1919. [Read More]

    Remembering “Salt of the Earth” 60 Years Later

    By Ericka Wills, Josh Young on March 29, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    Over 400 attendees gathered on Saturday, March 15th, at United Steelworkers Local 890 hall (former Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers Local 890) in Bayard, New Mexico to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1954 film Salt of the Earth. [Read More]

    Bringing Humanity to Progressive Era Tragedies: Teaching Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Uprising

    By Randi Storch on March 21, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    Margaret Peterson Haddix’s historical novel Uprising provides a valuable resource for those of us interested in engaging our students in their real-life drama that animates labor history. [Read More]

    Tony Benn’s quotes from the Guardian worth reflection

    By Mark Lause on March 16, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    On March 14, Tony Benn, who had spent the better part of half a century in the British Parliament died. About twenty years ago, I had the privilege of hearing and meeting him at my university, from which his wife had graduated. [Read More]

    Department of Labor’s List of Books that Shaped Work in America ignores critical books

    By Mark Lause on March 12, 2014 | Comments: (9)

    In honor of its centennial the Department of Labor began posting a list of “Books that Shaped Work in America”. What does it say about the value the Department of Labor places on labor history when it doesn’t even ask labor historians for input for such a list? [Read More]

    Connecting teachers struggles to the public good

    By Rosemary Feurer on March 7, 2014 | Comments: (1)

    The Chicago Teachers Union’s (CTU) recent decision to boycott Illinois Standards Achievement Tests, its efforts to fight privatization of education and school closures, and its attempt to break free from business-as-usual politics harkens back to a rich and largely hidden history. As teachers struggle to regain power in the midst of continuing assault, this history might provide some frameworks for considering new possibilities for coalition-building and a campaign for the public good–and not only in Chicago. [Read More]

    Perspectives: The UAW Defeat in Chattanooga

    By Ryan Poe on February 23, 2014 | Comments: (3)

    There have been a number of  historically-informed blogs posted since the UAW's defeat in Chattanooga in mid-February, 2014. We invite you to consider the variety of opinions and welcome your own comments about the salient history behind this moment. See our comments section below the postings. [Read More]

    Doing the Employer’s Dirty Work?: Thinking about the History of Anti-Unionism from “Below” after the UAW’s Defeat in Chattanooga

    By Chad Pearson on February 21, 2014 | Comments: (1)

    Historians should think carefully as they ponder the meaning of the UAW defeat in Chattanooga. Some analysts write as though a full-fledged co-determination structure was in play. In reality, the union leadership held backroom meetings with Volkswagen executives that promised a commitment that seems all too close to the kind of company unions that labor historians should recognize from the past—joint labor-management organizations designed to lure workers away from democratic control and a voice. [Read More]

    So the UAW Lost, What Can Be Done? Some History Lessons.

    By Rosemary Feurer on February 16, 2014 | Comments: (3)

    In the aftermath of the UAW loss in the Volkswagen union election in Tennessee, declarations of “A Titanic Defeat” echo across the blogosphere. The glum analysis reinforces the notion that labor is chronically a victim of conservative workers views and Republican machinations. [Read More]

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