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labor history



  • The Age of Care (Review of Gabriel Winant's "The Next Shift")

    by Nelson Lichtenstein

    Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein says Gabriel Winant's book on the rise of the care industry is the story of community change in the last 50 years, with union retiree health care dollars reabsorbed by capital through the treatment of diseases of despair provoked by deindustrialization (with care provided by a workforce of women and people of color).



  • The Ultimate David and Goliath Fight in Alabama

    The effort to organize Amazon Workers in Bessemer, Alabama may succeed if it connects the cause of labor to broader civil rights issues that resonate with the local Black community and echo the involvement of Martin Luther King in struggles for workers and economic justice, say historians Keri Leigh Merritt and Michael Innis-Jiménez. 



  • Interview: A Rich Man's War, A Poor Man's Fight

    Historian Keri Leigh Merritt, interviewed about the history of labor organizing in the South, links the history of Southern policing to the maintenance of exploitative labor practices after the Civil War and explains how the fight to unionize Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama facility extends the politics of the Civil Rights Movement.



  • The Triangle Fire and the Fight for $15

    by Christopher C. Gorham

    The Triangle Shirtwaist fire inspired workplace safety regulation and advanced the cause of organized labor. It's time to remember the victims with a commitment to a federal living wage law.



  • The Deep South Has a Rich History of Resistance, as Amazon Is Learning

    Columnist Jamelle Bouie draws on the work of historians Michael W. Fitzgerald, Paul Horton, Robin D.G. Kelley, and Robert Widell, Jr. which shows that Alabamians, and Black Alabamians in particular, have organized to fight both racial oppression and labor exploitation.



  • Curt Flood Belongs in the Hall of Fame

    Sportswriter Jemele Hill makes the case for Curt Flood as an advocate for the labor rights of ballplayers and especially the right of players of color to be paid for their skill, even at the cost of being blackballed from the game. 



  • The Alabama Town That Could Defeat Jeff Bezos

    The industrial suburb of Bessemer has a long history as a rare center of union activity in the South and now is the focal point of an effort to organize Amazon's warehouse workers. Historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who has written about interracial labor militancy in Alabama, gives context. 



  • Amazon’s Cynical, Anti-Union Attack on Mail Voting

    by Craig Becker and Amy Dru Stanley

    Even before the pandemic, forcing unionization elections to be held at the workplace was the equivalent of holding a political election at one party's headquarters. Workplace democracy requires allowing workers to vote by mail to decide whether to be represented by a union. 



  • The Forgotten History of Wyoming’s Black Miners

    African Americans were an important, but largely forgotten, presence in the mining industry of the far west, a story that connects race, national expansion, and labor politics in the Gilded Age. 



  • The Saddest Union Story

    by Harold Myerson

    The recent announcement of a settlement between federal prosecutors and leaders of the United Auto Workers union presents a dire contrast to the heyday of the union, when the leadership of Walter Reuther made the union the only influential social democratic institution in American history and anchored the midcentury middle class.