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  • Creative Loafing Charlotte Takes “A Look at Labor Conditions and the New South’s Historic Ties to Organization”

    Worker organizing past and present is the cover story of the Labor Day 2018 issue of Creative Loafing Charlotte, featuring quotes from North Carolina State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan, IBEW Local 379 President and state AFL-CIO Vice President Scott Thrower, and Ben Lee, chairman of the Charlotte Labor Day Parade Committee.

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  • Commemorating the 1968 “I AM” Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

    Fifty years later, North Carolinians are coming together to remember the strikers with a National Moment of Silence on February 1st and a special event featuring William “Bill” Lucy at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, February 4th in Greensboro.

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  • North Carolina Labor History Exhibit Available for Show

    The North Carolina State AFL-CIO produced and unveiled this exhibit at its 60th Annual Convention in September 2017 and is making it available to libraries, museums, union halls, and other public spaces so people today can learn about the struggles and victories their fellow North Carolinians encountered on the road to secure our freedom to join together in the workplace for a better life.

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  • Feb. is Black (Labor) History Month

    February is Black History Month, and we’ve pulled together profiles by the AFL-CIO on several pioneering African Americans labor leaders as well as a list of resources courtesy of the American Labor Studies Center.

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  • Labor History Comes Alive Fall 2014

    You’ve gotta know where you’re coming from to know where you’re going!

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  • Scott Hoyman, labor leader, dies at age 93

    Scott Hoyman’s career was dedicated to organizing textile workers in the South, including the J.P. Stevens boycott.

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  • Legacy of Local 22 to be honored on April 20 in Winston-Salem

    On April 20, 2013 – seventy years later – a coalition of labor, faith, and community members will unveil a commemorative state marker to celebrate tobacco Local 22 and the anniversary of their historic sit-down strike that sparked a wave of interracial union organizing in the Jim Crow South.

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  • How unions helped build a middle class for workers in the U.S.A.

    Unions have been around for more than a century, and they’ve done more good for America’s working people — union and non-union — and have gotten less credit for it than any institution in the United States. An essay by Harry Kelber.

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  • Special event in Salisbury for Int’l Women’s Day (3/8)

    Entitled, “The Fabric of Hope & Resistance: NC Women Workers on Strike”, the presentation will include real stories of real North Carolina women and trade unionists who joined the age-old struggle for dignity at work and a better life for themselves and their families in the Old North State.

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  • NC Highway Sign Now Marks the CIO’s “Operation Dixie”

    On Saturday, September 3, 2011, a new North Carolina Highway Historical Marker was unveiled in Rocky Mount for Operation Dixie.

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  • The Triangle Fire: Still Burning Before Our Nation

    100 years ago today in New York City, 146 workers, mostly young immigrant girls, jumped to their deaths from the 10-story building, unable to escape a fire because factory foremen had locked all the doors. The owners, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, worried the workers would steal from the company.

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  • Celebrate Int’l Women’s Day with Union Maids Film

    The Triad North Carolina chapter of Jobs with Justice will host a special screening of the fantastic film, Union Maids, on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 7:00pm to mark the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day.

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  • Making a Place for Labor History

    by Michael Schwalbe

    Michael Schwalbe is a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. He recently had a piece published in the print edition of the News & Observer about the importance of recognizing labor’s contributions to our society, contributions many Americans may take for granted. We have reprinted his piece here with permission:

    When teaching about social movements in America, I ask my students how many of them had to take a U.S. labor history course in high school. For the last twenty-five years the answer has been the same. Not a one.

    I ask the question to make a point about how we learn what’s needed for social change to occur. If all we know about social change comes from celebrating the lives of Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, or Martin Luther King Jr., we may think that change results mainly from individual moral heroism.

    The study of labor history teaches a different lesson: change occurs through organized, persistent, collective action by ordinary people. It’s not surprising that those with the biggest stake in preserving the status quo don’t want that lesson taught.

    But times might be changing. After twelve years of legislative efforts, the state of Wisconsin recently passed the Labor History in the Schools Bill, the first such law in the country. The new law makes labor history part of the state’s standard social studies curriculum.

    The purpose of the bill is to ensure that students learn about the roles played by workers, labor unions, and collective bargaining in the history of America. Every state ought to enact a version of this law. Students everywhere need to know their labor history.

    Pro-union bumper stickers remind us that unions are the people who brought us the weekend. The rest of the story would include other benefits won by organized labor: pensions, workers’ compensation, health plans, vacations, the eight-hour day, overtime pay, and many safety laws.

    To take these benefits for granted is not simply a failure to appreciate how unions have helped us all. It is a failure to understand U.S. history. It is akin to taking for granted our independence from the British, with no knowledge of the Revolutionary War.

    Promoting the study of labor history is not, in other words, a matter of being for or against unions. It’s a matter of being for education. The present, as the saying goes, is incomprehensible without an understanding of the past.

    For example, my students at North Carolina State University are often surprised to learn that ours is the least unionized state in the nation; that North Carolina is one of only two states that outlaw public sector collective bargaining; and that economic inequality is greater today than at any time since the Great Depression. They want to know how things got this way.

    A good labor history course would answer this question.

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  • UPLIFTING VIDEO: We Were There

    Thanks to ConCarbon for the tip on this great, very uplifting video to close out our email update. The theme music, written for a multi-media show by the same name, is about women’s labor history. Hopefully it will inspire you to keep struggling for progress, sought by so many for so long. Watch the clip: […]

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