Labor Resources and Links

Currently, it’s hard to find accurate and favorable coverage of labor unions and the good work they do in the mainstream media. Luckily, there are resources available that can help give you a background on the labor movement and keep you up to date with the news that you won’t see every day.   Labor (General)

  • LaborNet : An organization working to support human rights and economic justice for workers by providing labor news and information.
  • AFL-CIO : The official site of the AFL-CIO.
  • Connecticut AFL-CIO : Home page of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.
  • SEIU : The official site of the Service Employees International Union
  • UAW: The official site of the United Auto Workers
  • Labor Notes : Since 1979, Labor Notes has campaigned to “put the movement back in the labor movement.”
  • Union Label : This site contains information on products that are union made.

Labor Movies

  • Matewan (1987): Accurate and dramatic depiction of the real-life struggles of striking coal miners in post-WWI West Virginia. A union organizer struggles to bring white, African-American, and Italian immigrant miners together in the face of murderous company opposition. Based on a true story.
  • Brassed Off (1997): Touching and humorous look at British miners and their community during the attacks of the Thatcher era. The movie centers on the local colliery’s brass band as it attempts to bring back some pride to the dying town and it’s workers. Starring Ewan McGregor.
  • Harlan County,USA (1977): Excellent pro-union documentary that follows the entire course of a miners’ strike in Kentucky. Shows confrontations with replacement workers, cops, and armed company thugs. Guaranteed to get you motivated.
  • Norma Rae (1979): A rare bird! A pro-union popular movie. Depicts an organizing drive in a hostile Southern textile mill. Sally Field won an Oscar for her powerful performance.
  • The Grapes of Wrath (1940): John Ford’s Oscar-winning classic from 1940 is a powerful  movie interpretation of the poignant John Steinbeck novel. The story follows the peregrinations and travails of the Joad family as they move from the Dust Bowl of Depression-era Oklahoma to the migrant labor farm camps of California.
  • Salt of the Earth (1953): Made on a shoe-string budget, this gritty classic used real-life union activists who were involved in a New Mexico copper miners’ strike. The scenes depicting picket lines and altercations with scabs are the “real deal”. Made during the height of McCarthyism, the film was banned and many of the participants were blacklisted, and the lead actress was deported to Mexico.
  • Business As Usual (1987): Glenda Jackson plays the manager of a dress shop in Liverpool who is fired for standing up for one of her employees. The women at the store join a union and strike, bringing about their persecution by the authorities – including unwarranted drug-searches of the workers. The activities of the police only generate public sympathy for the workers.
  • The Killing Floor (1984): Set against the backdrop of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, this film follows two young African-American men who head north to look for work in Chicago’s meatpacking industry. One quits his job and joins the Army, while the other stays and becomes active in his union. Management try to break the union by fomenting tensions between white and black workers.

Labor News

Labor Reading

  • The Iron Heel by Jack London
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Abolition of Work by Bob Black. The full text of this important and humorous book is available online by clicking on the title.

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