• A Brief History of Unions

    Brought to you by the PA AFL-CIO Thanks to our colleagues at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO for putting together this fun and simple yet effective video. In less than two minutes, children and adults alike can grasp the history of Organized Labor in the United States. Watch this entertaining and informative video and enjoy your weekend:

    Read More
  • 75th Anniversary of Works Progress Administration

    WPA put millions of Americans back to work When President Franklin Roosevelt came to office during the Great Depression, he recognized his most urgent task was putting millions of unemployed and destitute Americans back to work.  Out of this great need for jobs, the Works Progress Administration, one of FDR’s many New Deal job initiatives, […]

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • Crystal Lee Sutton Tribute is This Saturday (1/9)

    Celebrate the life and times of the real ‘Norma Rae’ and U-N-I-O-N This Saturday, January 9, 2010, folks will come together in Greensboro, NC to celebrate the life of Crystal Lee Sutton, the real “Norma Rae”. John Wilhelm, President of UNITE HERE, will be the keynote speaker. The celebration will include testimonials, videos, cultural presentations […]

    Read More
  • Crystal Lee Sutton Tribute Planned for Jan 9th

    Save the date! On Saturday, January 9, 2010, folks will come together in Greensboro, NC to celebrate the life of Crystal Lee Sutton, the real “Norma Rae”. John Wilhelm, President of UNITE HERE, will be the keynote speaker. The celebration will include testimonials, videos, cultural presentations and comments by family, friends and union activists. What: […]

    Read More
  • Crystal Lee “Norma Rae” Sutton Dead of Cancer

    Crystal Lee Sutton at her home in Burlington, N.C. Photo Credit: By Joseph Rodriguez — Associated Press Icon of labor movement leaves a legacy of ‘UNION’ The day before the start of our state AFL-CIO convention in Atlantic Beach, we received notice that Crystal Lee Sutton, the real life Norma Rae, had entered hospice care […]

    Read More
  • 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: […]

    Read More
  • Page 2 of 2
  • The benefits of being a union member extend beyond the workplace. AFL-CIO Union Plus benefits help current and retired labor union members and their families save money and support them through major milestones, celebrations and hardships. These benefits include Wireless discounts, Credit Cards, Mortgages, Insurance, Scholarships, Travel & Entertainment, and more! Visit UnionPlus.org to sign up!
  • Archives

What's good for workers is good for business! I LIKE THAT!