In This Issue
The Common Verse
- Robin Clarke, “Untitled (The Mine Collapsed Under)“
- Rosemary Feurer, “LAWCHA and the Lesson Plan“
- Tom Alter, ““It Felt Like Community”: Social Movement Unionism and the Chicago Teachers Union Strike of 2012”
- Eric Arnesen, “E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class: Assessments after a Half Century”
- Lara Kriegel, “How It Feels to Be Fifty: E. P. Thompson and Cultural History, Past, Present, and Future“
- Geoff Eley, “Working-Class Agency: Past and Present“
- Anna Clark, “E. P. Thompson and Domestic Service“
- Jonathan Rose, “On Reading (Eventually) The Making of the English Working Class“
- Deborah Valenze, “E. P. Thompson and the Curricular Turn“
- Leon Fink, “Ten Theses on The Making“
- Stephen Robertson, “The Company’s Voice in the Workplace: Labor Spies, Propaganda, and Personnel Management, 1918 – 1920”
- Bridget Burke, “The “Any Typist” Myth: Narratives of Gender and Skill in the Mid-Twentieth-Century Printing Trades”
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Teaching Labor History »
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]
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]
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 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]
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]
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
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]
Congratulations to Leon Fink who received Sidney Hillman Foundation’s gives 2014 Sol Stetin Award for Labor History. [Read More]
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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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
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]
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]
Reflections about the importance of workers power in American aspirations seem particularly appropriate at the approach of this President’s Day--that holiday formed by the compressed birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. In my life, I cannot recall when they’ve ritually chanted their rhetoric about opportunities in circumstances as dire as these for working people. [Read More]
This new book of political cartoons, In an Era of Wars and Revolutions: American Socialist Cartoons of the Mid-Twentieth Century, edited by Sean Matgamma, should be of interest to labor historians and those interested in mid-20th century Left politics. The title page of this unique volume of reprints indicates the art is “By Carlo and others.” Jesse Cohen, the artist who called himself “Carlo” was, along with Laura Gray, the leading artist for the “Third Camp” section of Trotskyists, succeeded at the end of the 1960s by Lisa Lyon (the others are long gone, her work continues in comic art). This is, in short, a highly polemical volume directed perhaps as much at Communist parties from Russia to Europe and the US, as at capitalism. [Read More]
University of Illinois-Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) have announced that they will launch a 2 day strike Feb 18 and 19. In the Fall, UICUF participated in what their union called a “historic vote.” Indeed, it was. 79% of the tenure-track and 79% of non-tenure-track members of the University of Illinois Chicago United Faculty participated. When the polls closed, 95% had authorized the bargaining team to call a strike. And those ballots have effectively put UICUF Local 6456 on the front lines of the current crisis in higher education, economic justice, and democratic governance. This referendum signaled how important the labor movement has become to ensuring public universities, like UIC, live up to their egalitarian potential. The strike also signals the potential of full time faculty to support lecturers, who at UIC make $30,000 a year, lack job security and whose conditions affect the learning environment at the university. [Read More]
On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, 7500 gallons of a coal cleaning chemical known as Crude MCHM (principally composed of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) leaked from a storage tank and then from a containment wall at a facility on the banks of the Elk River in West Virginia in Kanawha County. [Read More]
Another national observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is upon us. I know that I’m speaking to the choir here when I say that many of the issues for which he fought in his short lifetime remain part of today’s unfinished political agenda. [Read More]
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