labor history

  • Postcard From Detroit

    by Mattie Webb

    The city of Detroit is a fitting location for an archive documenting not only American labor history but the connections between US-based unions and the antiapartheid movement in South Africa. 

  • Ahmed White: How Capital Crushed the IWW

    Ahmed White's book on the IWW examines the effort to crush the radical union, and how the war on radical labor impacted free speech, political representation, and freedom of association. 

  • Is this Labor Surge a New CIO Moment?

    Do militant worker actions signal a wave of mass organizing like occurred in the 1930s, when workers established unions regarded as unorganizable took matters into their own hands? Labor historian Erik Loomis and scholar Marilyn Sneiderman discuss how to turn anger into strategy and strategy into organization.

  • The Ongoing Problem of Segregation in America

    by Aziz Rana

    The thoroughness of racial segregation through the housing markets is a profound obstacle to the kind of interracial political organizing the left wants to accomplish. 

  • Is Biden Really the Most Pro-Union President?

    Labor historian Erik Loomis says Biden is spending limited political capital to support workers and strikers, and that the bar for pro-labor presidencies is set extremely low. 

  • Once More, Railroad Workers are Taking the Lead for American Labor

    by Nelson Lichtenstein

    Railroad companies' profits hinge on inhumane scheduling practices—cutting the workforce to the bone and squeezing everything possible out of those who remain—that will soon be part of every industry if workers aren't able to fight back. 

  • Centuries-Old Union Busting Playbook is Alive and Well

    by Henry Snow

    Since the days of labor agitation in the Royal Dockyards in the 18th century, employers have fought collective action by workers by keeping them separate and isolated. Modern unionization drives need to recognize and overcome this tactic. 

  • Labor Day is a Chance for Unions and the Democrats to Renew Their Shared History

    by Michael Kazin

    The Democrats and American labor unions have enjoyed success proportionally to the strength of their partnership. Pro-labor rhetoric by President Biden and the upsurge of grassroots union organizing are a sign to renew a formal partnership, says a historian of the Democratic Party. 

  • "Pour Myself a Cup of Ambition": The 1970s Echo in Today's Union Revival

    by Ellen Cassedy and Lane Windham

    This Labor Day, we’re hopeful about the renewed energy and excitement for workplace organizing—especially by women workers—and cautiously optimistic that today’s workers may overcome the sorts of corporate tactics that blocked organizing in the 1970s.

  • When We All Boycotted a Lousy Beer

    by Erik Loomis

    Latino organizations and the AFL-CIO urged boycotts of Coors beer for its owners politics and the company's antilabor crusade. The company's national sales didn't take a serious hit until student, environmental, and gay activists helped form a broader coalition. 

  • Women Have Always Been at the Center of the Labor Movement

    by Amy Mackin

    The 1860 strike of male shoe workers in Lynn, Massachusetts floundered until the strikers allied with their female compatriots, but the movement largely failed to maintain gender unity. This lesson is critical for the service industry unions organizing today. 

  • Working 9 to 5: The Activism of Women Office Workers

    by Ellen Cassedy

    The author of a new firsthand history of a pioneering organization of women office workers discusses the history behind the movement for "Raises and Roses." 

  • America is Violating its Bargain for Labor Peace

    By starving the NLRB and other agencies that enforce the terms of union contracts and labor laws, the right wing is daring workers to take more militant action outside the system, says labor writer Hamilton Nolan. 

  • The Labor Upsurge Calls Us to Rethink Organizing Rules

    by Chris Brooks

    Do the successes of organizers at Amazon and Starbucks mean the age of slow, methodical and gradual organizing is over? Can workers use a union vote itself as an organizing tool to move quickly and defeat union-busting?