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labor history



  • The Deep South Has a Rich History of Resistance, as Amazon Is Learning

    Columnist Jamelle Bouie draws on the work of historians Michael W. Fitzgerald, Paul Horton, Robin D.G. Kelley, and Robert Widell, Jr. which shows that Alabamians, and Black Alabamians in particular, have organized to fight both racial oppression and labor exploitation.



  • Curt Flood Belongs in the Hall of Fame

    Sportswriter Jemele Hill makes the case for Curt Flood as an advocate for the labor rights of ballplayers and especially the right of players of color to be paid for their skill, even at the cost of being blackballed from the game. 



  • The Alabama Town That Could Defeat Jeff Bezos

    The industrial suburb of Bessemer has a long history as a rare center of union activity in the South and now is the focal point of an effort to organize Amazon's warehouse workers. Historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who has written about interracial labor militancy in Alabama, gives context. 



  • Amazon’s Cynical, Anti-Union Attack on Mail Voting

    by Craig Becker and Amy Dru Stanley

    Even before the pandemic, forcing unionization elections to be held at the workplace was the equivalent of holding a political election at one party's headquarters. Workplace democracy requires allowing workers to vote by mail to decide whether to be represented by a union. 



  • The Forgotten History of Wyoming’s Black Miners

    African Americans were an important, but largely forgotten, presence in the mining industry of the far west, a story that connects race, national expansion, and labor politics in the Gilded Age. 



  • The Saddest Union Story

    by Harold Myerson

    The recent announcement of a settlement between federal prosecutors and leaders of the United Auto Workers union presents a dire contrast to the heyday of the union, when the leadership of Walter Reuther made the union the only influential social democratic institution in American history and anchored the midcentury middle class. 



  • The Great Black Radical You've Never Heard Of

    by Peter Cole

    The author of a new book on an understudied Black labor radical presents context for an exerpt of an interview Ben Fletcher gave to the New York Amsterdam News, a rare surviving case of the organizer telling his own story.



  • Labor Pulse: Is This Election Labor's Last Chance?

    by Jim Castagnera

    The election presents organized labor with a choice between a death sentence and a reprieve that will prove temporary unless unions can put their needs at the center of a Biden presidency's priorities. 



  • American Democracy Is in the Mail

    by Daniel Carpenter

    The Postal Service has been a circuit of information vital to democracy, a non-exclusionary employer, and a service connecting all communities in the nation. It's also been a tool of conquest and voracious capitalism. For good and ill, the history of the USPS is the history of America. 



  • The Wages of Whiteness (Review Essay)

    Hari Kunzru's review essay examines the current vogue for white antiracism (and antiracist training) through the history of whiteness as a political and academic concept, concluding that many  of the most popular books and multicultural pieties strip the idea of its structural elements and reduce it to a question of personal purification.