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labor history



  • 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. 



  • 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.