Friend or Foe? Cross-Class Alliances and the War on Urban Poverty

This panel explores the struggle against poverty in the twentieth-century United States by focusing on the myriad institutions through which Americans sought to remake urban capitalism and end inequality. By pushing labor historians to look beyond the traditional arenas of working-class politics and trade-union activity, it reveals the surprising variety of institutions–religious, workerist, business, middle-class, […]

Business, Labor, the State, and the (Re)enforcement of Inequality in the 20th Century

This panel considers the development of state institutions and policies that curbed working-class activism in the first half of the twentieth century and the ways those institutions and policies reinforced both economic and political inequality. It particularly focuses on the role of businessmen in demanding state action to contain working-class protest. Businessmen’s calls for state […]

Solidarity Unionism

The 21st century has brought about a new age of economic turmoil in which modern-day employers rely heavily on an increasingly low-wage and precarious workforce to keep the wheels turning. Utilizing Staughton Lynd’s newly reissued classic, Solidarity Unionism, and Jeremy Brecher’s new edition of Strike! which contains a chapter on the working class mini-revolts of […]

Labor and Inequality in the City

Keeping ’Em in Their Place: Race, Class, and Transportation Inequity in Milwaukee and Los Angeles — Kimberly Hernandez
Working Class Civic Rights: Atlanta’s Public Sector Union’s Defense of Government Services, 1965-1977 — Seth LaShier
Resistance and Reform: Working-Class Activism and Municipal Governance in Postwar New York City — Jess Bird and Minju Bae

The Future of Teaching Labor and Working-Class History

Are courses in labor and working-class history in higher education on the decline? If so, is this a particular problem, or part of a more general crisis in the discipline? Are students less interested in labor history than they once were? How have courses on race, gender, and sexuality enriched our teaching of labor? What […]

Stories of Resistance and Repression: Rebellious Housewives, Uppity Paperworkers, and Racialized Agricultural Workers

Memory, Practical Political Economy and Resistance to Maine’s Great Paper Companies — Michael Hillard
How the Housewives of Mt. Prospect Took on the Food Industry and Won — Emily E. LB. Twarog
Cultivating Vulnerability and Invisibility: A History of Hudson Valley Farmworkers — Margaret Gray

Working-Class Representations: Literature and Media

Rebecca Harding Davis, Tillie Olsen, and the Repression of Working-Class Representation — Raymond Mazurek
The Claim of the Dispossessed: Redefining the American Working Class through Literature — Polina Kroik
“‘Working Americans’ Are Rediscovered”: US Media and the Discovery of “Middle America,” 1968-1972 — Christopher Cimaglio

Different and Equal: Pay Equity in the 1970s

This panel considers the strategies women used to fight for pay equity in the 1970s. Given greater visibility by the 1975 International Women’s Year, pay equity arguments mobilized and sustained ongoing social movements by challenging existing institutional and cultural standards. Boldly recasting gender norms by insisting that the knowledge, skills, and abilities traditionally attributed to […]

The Farmworkers’ Fight: Overcoming Barriers to Farmworker Organizing

Farmworkers frequently occupy the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. Marginalized by exploitative and racialized labor systems, isolated work sites, and the power of their employers, farmworkers nevertheless have struggled against the structures that contain their power. This roundtable explores the barriers that have frustrated farmworker organizing efforts as well as the strategies that have […]