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

    Welcome to LaborOnline Subscribe to the LaborOnline RSS Feed! Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter, @LaborOnline!
    As piloted by new Associate Editor Rosemary Feurer–and assisted by an all-star cast of designated blog contributors–LaborOnline features commentary on a host of issues, contemporary and historical, as well as “instant” dialogue and debate among readers and authors about the contents of the journal. Looking for the journal? Visit Labor at the Duke University Press. If you need help logging in or using WordPress, please see our helpful instructional videos.
    Teaching Labor History »

    Long Time LAWCHA Activist Undertakes Building a New Institution Devoted to Working Class History

    By Peter Rachleff on December 15, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    A year and a half ago, I left Macalester College after a three decades-long career. I decided that it's time to devote myself more fully and directly to the kind of work I have educated many students to do. [Read More]

    Launch of LAWCHA’s Teacher/Public Sector Initiative

    Teaching Organizing BannerBy Rosemary Feurer on December 9, 2014 | Comments: (8)

    Today we launch the teachers/public sector toolkit, a set of resources that we hope will contribute to dialog on teacher and public sector unionism. We are asking for help in disseminating and adding to this toolkit, which is accessible under teaching resources. [Read More]

    Growing Apart by Colin Gordon: Great Teaching Resource

    Piketty in One GraphBy Rosemary Feurer on November 14, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    Growing Apart is one of the most valuable tools for teaching about labor and inequality that I have seen in recent years. It’s a one-stop place for all the great graphs and charts to show the rise in inequality, the rise of right-to-work states, the declining value of the minimum wage versus the rise in executive pay at the top.This great new website by Colin Gordon is a treasure trove as a teaching resource. [Read More]

    Dining Out in Dinkytown: Remembering the Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934

    Commemoration 2014 Poster, Remember 1934 committeeBy Bryan Palmer on November 7, 2014 | Comments: (1)

    This is a different and expanded version of a previously published essay that appeared in Jacobin. Dinkytown’s Best Breakfast If you are in Minneapolis, after a hard day’s night, the place to go for a morning pick-me-up is Al’s Breakfast. Or so I was informed. Being in the Twin Cities in mid-July, I made my way to the legendary AM eatery, located in the heart of Dinkytown, the neighborhood adjacent to the University of Minnesota where Al’s is located. [Read More]

    A Century of Teacher Organizing: What Can We Learn?

    Teaching Organizing BannerBy Adam Mertz on October 30, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    The history of teacher unionism is rich and vibrant, filled with numerous triumphs, tensions, and setbacks. For over a century, most education employees have been part of a public sector workforce that has been constrained by legal frameworks that assume that they are not entitled to the same rights as private sector workers. Because they comprise the largest segment of public sector labor, the story of why and how teachers sought to organize helps us understand many current debates surrounding education policies and the labor movement.

    Title VII’s Legacy

    President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on. Credit: Wikimedia CommonsBy Erik Loomis on October 15, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    The latest issue of Labor:Studies of Working Class History of the Americas has an excellent forum (available on the right side of this screen, courtesy of Duke University Press) on the legacy of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A half-century after the Civil Rights Act passed, the American workforce looks far different than in 1964 and the nation has certainly not achieved equality at work. Yet Title VII accomplished a tremendous amount, giving workers a legal tool to force the desegregation of much of the American workplace. [Read More]

    “Behind Every Worker is a Family,” by Wendy Z. Goldman

    Jorge-Medina-Sandro-Salazar-and-René-Córdoba-with-Wendy-at-DonnelleyBy Ryan Poe on October 10, 2014 | Comments: (0)

    In Buenos Aires, I spoke to a crowded auditorium of 700 workers, students, and faculty. Workers came from the Lear plant, from the transportation sector, and from other factories. One of the most moving comments was made by an older domestic worker who came up to the stage. She explained that she spent her entire life cleaning the houses of wealthy people. “The Bolsheviks talked about the socialization of household labor,” she said. “Today, only women do this work. And if a woman is wealthy enough, she pays another women like me to do it.” [Read More]

    Comrades & Cowboys

    Broncho John's account of Cowboys gives a vivid portrayal of the work and changing prospects for cowboys.By Mark Lause on September 30, 2014 | Comments: (2)

    In 1886, several prominent European socialists came through Cincinnati in search of insights into America. Their local comrades--“delightful German-American friends” took them to a local dime museum. There, a showman introduced cowboys with “stereotyped speeches about them,” as his subjects lounged about “in their picturesque garb, and looking terribly bored.” Then, one of the cowboys, “singularly handsome face and figure, with the frankest of blue eyes, rose and spoke a piece. To our great astonishment he plunged at once into a denunciation of capitalists in general and of the ranch-owners in particular.” [Read More]

    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]

    Older Entries

    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, the Labor Archives Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists has been working on new projects of interest to LAWCHA members. [Read More]

    Michael Sacco on Steve Early’s Save Our Unions

    By 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?

    By 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”

    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

    By 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 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

    By 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.

    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 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 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 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]

    Looking for More?

    All of our posts are archived in the category, Labor Online Articles.