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labor history



  • Assessing the UC Grad Strike

    by Laura J. Mitchell

    Despite winning increases in wages and benefits, University of California graduate student workers still face the problem of working amid the rubble of a social contract uniting universities, students, and the public around the idea of the university as a public good. 



  • The Think Tank Trying to Defund Public Sector Unions

    Labor historian Lane Windham describes a well-funded effort to encourage union members to opt out of paying dues, a strategy designed to force their unions to do more with less. Organizing to recruit new members and energize existing ones is the way to fight back. 



  • The Farm Workforce Modernization Act Raises Troubling Echoes

    by Matt Garcia

    The support of the United Farm Workers for the bill cuts against the organization's origins in opposition to the Bracero guestworker program, and signals its shift toward advocacy of global responsibility initiatives in the food supply chain. Other labor organizations believe the bill would reestablish indentured servitude in farm work. 



  • "Amtrak Joe" Leaves Rail Workers in the Dust

    by Kim Kelly

    Why did the "most pro-union president" in modern times push through a negotiated settlement rejected by the majority of railroad union members, and what would Eugene Debs think? 



  • Qatar's World Cup Echoes Brutal American Labor History

    by Jason Steinhauer

    Exposés of the brutal conditions faced by migrant laborers who built Qatar's World Cup facilities echoes the history of American public works, where workers' bodies and lives were subordinated to budgets and timetables. 



  • The Biggest Threat to America's Stability is the Class Divide

    by Kim Phillips-Fein

    We mistakenly bemoan "polarization" instead of reckoning with the economic power of radical right-wing elites, who have the resources to fund growing organizations, and the growing number of people disaffected from the social order who are susceptible to their messages. 



  • Staughton Lynd, 1929-2022

    by Rosemary Feurer

    Lynd was an academic and activist when those combinations were reviled as unbecoming of a professional, and he was blacklisted from the profession for his bold anti-war stance. He then made an impact as an activist for labor and against war. 


  • Farewell, Brother Staughton

    by Carl Mirra

    Staughton Lynd was always in the trenches fighting for a better world, and for that he remains a “admirable radical” and, for that matter, a beautiful person.



  • From Solidarity to Shock Therapy: The AFL-CIO and the End of the Cold War

    by Jeff Schuhrke

    The AFL-CIO's leadership saw the emergence of the Polish Solidarity movement in 1980 as an opportunity to advance their anticommunist agenda. Did they also undermine the ability of a post-Soviet left to protect workers' interests against global capitalism? 



  • 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.