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”
- 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”
- Jonathan Rees, “Beyond Body Counts: A Centennial Rethinking of the Ludlow Massacre”
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Teaching Labor History »
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]
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 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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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 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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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