labor history

  • Will Solidarity Among Hollywood's Unions Make this Strike Different?

    by Miranda Banks and Kate Fortmueller

    A historic pattern of rivalry among Hollywood's big unions representing writers, actors and set workers has limited their ability to win against the industry. Support for striking writers suggests the big unions are getting on the same page. 

  • Turning Universities Red

    by Steve Fraser

    American colleges were built to serve the children of elites and maintain the social order they dominated. Despite fears of liberal indoctrination on campus, growing labor movements including all workers are the only way that colleges will really make a more egalitarian society. 

  • Ayn Rand's Defense of an Anti-Union Massacre

    by Greg Mitchell

    The screenwriter and novelist was inspired by the 1943 memoir of Republic Steel head Tom Girdler, in particular his refusal to apologize for collaborating with Chicago Police to crush a march of striking steelworkers and their families in 1937. 

  • Hollywood Strikers Carry the Legacy of Ned Ludd

    by Gavin Mueller

    Our techo-utopian society holds the Luddites in low regard, but their actual history helps explain what's at stake in the screenwriters' strike and any labor conflict where new technology threatens workers' livelihoods. 

  • The Writers' Strike Opens Old Wounds

    by Kate Fortmueller

    The plot of each sequel of negotiations between the producers and writers has followed a formula of compromise for mutual self-preservation. Technological advances have convinced studio heads that they no longer need the labor of writers enough to keep compromising. 

  • Ayahs, Amahs and Empire: The History of Domestic Care Work under Colonialism

    by Julia Laite

    The history of domestic and child care work has become increasingly robust, but museums and public exhibitions have struggled to find ways to represent the work and experiences of women, many from south Asia, who traveled with white colonial families to perform this labor, putting marginalized people in charge of the empire's children. 

  • Buried Footage Helped Chicago Police Get Away with Killing 10 Labor Activists in 1937

    by Greg Mitchell

    Paramount's newsreel division shot footage of the murderous attack on a steelworkers' march in 1937. They sided with the bosses by burying the footage. Even after Senator Robert LaFollette pushed for the film's release, cities banned it from the screen as Chicago prosecutors ruled the killings justifiable. A new documentary tells the story of the film. 

  • Wins at Amazon and Starbucks Shouldn't Obscure the Hard Road Independent Unions Face

    by Erik Loomis

    The improvised and worker-led efforts to organize the new economy giants has led some commenters to proclaim the end of big labor. A labor historian says that workers still need the resources and support of legacy unions – if they commit to organizing new workplaces – to win against employers more determined than ever to bust unions. 

  • How Labor Won the Repeal of "Right to Work" in Michigan

    by Jennifer Standish

    Labor and its political allies must recognize the importance of state level legislation and coalition-building and resist the temptation to nationalize politics if they hope to repeat their success in Michigan and roll back the state-by-state advance of anti-labor legislation. 

  • When a Leading Evangelist Held a Revival to Thwart Labor

    by Matt Bernico

    The events surrounding the 1886 Haymarket Affair, when a Chicago general strike for the 8 hour day became violent, revealed tensions present in Christianity today: what happens when Christians side with the bosses? 

  • Child Labor is Back; History Says Don't be Surprised

    by Beth English

    In an effort to attract investment from key industries, state governments in the south actively rescinded existing laws banning child labor, showing that there has been no straight line of progress on the issue.