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Archive | Labor

All posts that are primarily about labor

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Order-Givers and Order-Takers*

In the summer of 2001, I worked as a front desk clerk—we were called guest service agents—at the Lake Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The work was hard. We spent long hours on our feet, dealing with a steady stream of demanding guests and a constant barrage of problems. The pay was low, six dollars […]

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Class: A Personal Story

 I was born in 1946 in a small mining village in western Pennsylvania, about forty miles north of Pittsburgh, along a big bend in the Allegheny River. The house in which I lived during my first year of life had neither hot water nor indoor plumbing. It was a company house, and my grandmother had […]

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Who Will Lead the U.S. Working Class

Who Will Lead the U.S. Working Class

  This essay* is based upon an interrogation of two books: Gregg Shotwell, Autoworkers Under the Gun: A Shop-Floor View of the End of the American Dream (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2012), 200 pages, $17.00, paperback, and Jane McAlevey with Bob Ostertag, Raising Expectations (And Raising Hell): My Decade Fighting For the Labor Movement (New York: […]

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Modern-Times

Why Is Our Work So Meaningless?

 Workers in a hospital are sick of management violating their collective bargaining agreement. Their work is ever more stressful: hours keep getting longer; patient loads rise; safety rules are ignored. They tell their union steward that it is time to bombard the bosses with grievances before they explode in rage. He tells them, “You better […]

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After the Wisconsin Uprising

After the Wisconsin Uprising

 The most important thing that has taken place since Wisconsin is another uprising, the phenomenal Occupy Wall Street (OWS). It began in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in September 2011 and spread rapidly to more than 2,600 towns and cities around the world. With OWS, the anger over growing inequality and the political power of the rich […]

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And the Farmworkers Are Still Poor

And the Farmworkers Are Still Poor

A Review of Frank Bardacke, Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers (New York: Verso), 742pp, hardcover, $54.95.* Frank Bardacke labored over this book for fifteen years. We can be grateful that he didn’t give up. This is the best history ever written of the United Farm […]

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Occupy Wall Street and the U.S. Labor Movement

Occupy Wall Street and the U.S. Labor Movement

The Occupy Wall Street Uprising and the U.S. Labor Movement: An Interview with Steve Early, Jon Flanders, Stephanie Luce, and Jim Straub by Farooque Chowdhury and Michael D. Yates The Occupy Wall Street Uprising has taken the nation by storm, beginning in the Financial District in Manhattan and then spreading to cities and towns in […]

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