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Category Archives: Other Resources
Using Songs to Teach Labor History
The American labor movement has a long and rich heritage of song. Like hymns and patriotic songs, union songs are songs with a message. Thousands have been written by union members and others over the years. These men and women, black and white, native American and foreign born, created their own literature reflecting every aspect of life in the mines, mills, factories, shops and farms where they were forced to labor…
History of Women in the Labor Movement “We are starving while we work; we might as well starve while we strike!” — 1909 Garment Workers’ Strike Banner Introduction Women have worked for ages in industrial, clerical, and service work and …
Union Maid A Song by Woody Guthrie © 1961 Ludlow Music Inc. There once was a union maid She never was afraid Of goons and ginks and company finks And the deputy sheriffs who made the raid She went to …
The following are videos available from YouTube on labor history. Please let us know if you are aware of others.
Click here to visit the U.S. Labor and Industrial History World Wide Web Audio Archive from the Department of History at University at Albany, State University of New York.
Click here to read the histories of most American unions
(1927-1993) Yuma, Arizona
César lived amongst former migrant workers and endured the conditions and racial issues that affected them. Starting his political work with the Community Service Organization (CSO) in 1952, he founded the United Farm Worker’s (UFW) in 1962…
(Click Here) Nelson Hale Cruikshank helped create Social Security and Medicare
(1855-1926) Terre Haute, Indiana
Eugene V. Debs was born in a wooden shack in Terre Haute, Indiana on February 5, 1855. At age 16 he became a locomotive fireman, stoking fires on the early prairie railroads. His years working on the railroad affected him so deeply that when the local of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen was organized in 1875 Debs played an active role…
(1928-) New York City, New York
Donahue grew up in an Irish Catholic family in The Bronx, New York, the son of Thomas R. and Mary E. Donahue. After completing his elementary and secondary schooling, he joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 17, serving as a seaman from 1945-1946…
(Click Here) Arthur Goldberg was a labor strategist for the union movement and former Secretary of Labor
Samuel Gompers emigrated in 1863 to New York, where he followed his father’s trade of cigar making and became a naturalized citizen in 1872. As a labour leader, Gompers gained a worldwide reputation for conservatism. In a period when the U.S. was bitterly hostile to labour organizations, he evolved the principles of “voluntarism,” which stressed that unions should exert coercion by economic actions, i.e., strikes and boycotts…
(Click Here) Former AFL president, moved the federation toward “social reform unionism.”
(Click Here) Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America founder. Often credited with inventing trade unionism as we know it today.
The Workers’ Warrior
One of the most colorful figures in American labor history is Mary Harris Jones, “Mother Jones.” Frequently showing up at strikes and rallies, she was known as a real “hell raiser.” While she is most often recognized for her comment, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living,” many of her speeches were profound and prophetic…
(Click Here) President off the United Mine Workers (UMWA) and founding president of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
(Click Here) The “father” of Labor Day and of May Day – championed the need for a national federation.
“The basic goal of labor will not change. It is — as it has always been, and I am sure always will be — to better the standards of life for all who work for wages and to seek decency and justice and dignity for all Americans.”
(Click Here) CIO president who helped transform the industrial union movement into a stable powerful organization.
Click here to read about Kate Mullaney
Click here to visit Kate Mullany National Historic Site Website.
(Click Here) Served Secretary of Labor and held the distinction of being the first women to serve in a presidential cabinet position.
(Click Here) Eloquent and effective advocate for the rights of workers, women and consumers.
“The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.”
A. Philip Randolph
(Click Here) Long-time president of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) considered the model of a reform-minded, liberal trade unionist.
(Click here) Brilliant theorist, tactician and organizer and the first head of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.
Linda Chavez-Thompson became the highest-ranking woman in the labor movement when she was first elected to the new position of AFL-CIO executive vice president at the federation’s 1995 convention. Born in Lubbock, Texas, on Aug. 3, 1944, Chavez-Thompson was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in 1993…
Triangle Factory Fire This web exhibit presents original documents and secondary sources on the Triangle Fire, held by the Cornell University Library. Remembering the Triangle Fire
If You Don’t Come in on Sunday, Don’t Come in on Monday
Newly available award winning documentary of labor history.
Click this link to see New York City Labor History Map.
Click this link to learn about the American Labor Museum Botto House National Landmark
Click here to visit a virtual museum designed to gather, identify and display examples of the cultural and artistic history of working people.
Negro History Week was celebrated for the first time in 1926 during the second week in February. This month was chosen because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln celebrate their birthdays during the month. In 1976 Negro History Week became Black History Month and the rich history of African Americans began to receive special attention during the entire month of February…
Labor-religion coalitions have become increasingly common throughout the United States. While some may be surprised by this development, most people of faith immediately recognize the natural connection between religious creeds and the mission of organized labor. Both religion and labor…
Cornell University School’s Catherwood Library Reference Staff each Monday through Friday provides abstracts and links to workplace-related news stories covered in the major media.
Reprint of Timothy G. Borden’s annotated list of some of the leading works of the literature of American working-class studies.
Click here to see the list…
A comprehensive list of links to labor-related photos…
Click this link to read about: No Holds Barred: The Intensification Of Employer Opposition to Organizing by Kate Bronfenbrenner
Click this link to read about: “A Cry for Justice: The Voices of Chinese Workers”
Unions Are Good for the American Economy by David Madland and Karla Walter
New research shows workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain will be critical…
“Beyond Justice: Bush Administration’s Labor Department Abuses Labor Union Regulatory Authorities”
by Scott Lilly of the Center for American Progress.
The Silent War: “The Silent War,” speaks to the assault on workers’ freedom to choose a union and bargain collectively in the United States. Additional policy statements…
Do Fat Cats Pay Lower Tax Rates Than Workers? The federal tax code has become skewed in favor of investors over workers. Federal taxes on earnings are now one-and -one-half greater than personal taxes on investment income. Tax policy is the subject of many additional reports at: www.ctj.org
Will Pensions Exist In The Future? Pensions provide financial security to retired workers. Although, pensions are scarce, a disturbing trend of corporate malfeasance threatens their stability. Learn more about how the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) is fighting to protect retired workers. Additional information on matters impacting our seniors can be found at the ARA web site: http://www.retiredamericans.org/
Education For Democracy: “Education For Democracy,” is a recent position paper developed by the Albert Shanker Institute that addresses the following: How do we instill in a new generation an understanding of an an appreciation for their stunning political historic?…
How Unions Help All Workers: Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and nonunionized workers. Unions play a pivotal role in securing and enforcing labor protections such as overtime compensation, family and medical…
Documenting Labor Inside and Out uses the Archives of Public Affairs and Policy, located at the University at Albany New York, to document the lives of working people with material on worker’s culture and social welfare organizations. The digital exhibit, created by Cynthia K. Sauer and Brian Keough, makes many primary resources available while adding instructional elements such as: Who Uses Labor Records? and Labor Culture.
Our Documents is a national initiative on American History, Civics, and Service. It is intended to promote public understanding of how rights and responsibilities have taken shape over time. The National Archives and Records Administration is largely responsible for the project. Click here to learn more.
Child Labor Web Resources -
This site provides links to education institutions, government, media, and non-governmental web sites on child labor….
Photographs of Lewis Hine: Documentation of Child Labor – This “Teaching with Documents Lesson Plan” was developed by the staff at the National Archives & Records Administration. The well developed lesson plan contains a correlation to the National History Standards and the National Standards for Civics and Government. Once at the NARA web site you’ll find many other interesting lessons. (Hine’s Photos @ “The History Place”)
The Employee Free Choice Act, supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would enable working people to bargain for better benefits, wages and working conditions by restoring workers’ freedom to choose for themselves whether to join a union…
Chronology of American Labor History
An extensive resource of research tools including bibliography, biography, materials (texts and journals), organizations, instructional centers, instruction, timelines and labor history maintained by Dr. Lynn Nelson of the Kansas Heritage Group