All posts that are primarily about labor

Class: A Personal Story

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 […]

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: […]

Why Is Our Work So Meaningless?

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 […]

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been an “Anti-Labor Leftist”?

Are You Now or Have You Ever Been an “Anti-Labor Leftist”?

The recent defeat of the Scott Walker recall in Wisconsin, an election in which Walker soundly defeated the same Democratic challenger who ran against him when he became governor in 2010, has generated much discussion. Why was the Wisconsin Uprising of early 2011, where hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites took to the streets and occupied […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Labor Wars in Longview, Washington: "No Wisconsin Here"

We have passed by Longview, Washington many times on our way to Seattle or Mt. Rainier. We never knew about its rich labor history, and we would never have guessed that it would become the center of a struggle that is as important for the future of the labor movement as the uprising in Wisconsin. […]