Wed 1.04.12| The 1946 Oakland General Strike

Stan Weir, 1946: The Oakland General Strike







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Times change, but struggles continue in different forms and with different tactics. In a radio documentary about the Oakland general strike of 1946 made by KPFA producers three decades ago, participants tell the story of what was called a "work holiday." They discuss the context in which the strike took place, how it unfolded and shut the city down, and the ways it transformed those involved.

Tues 12.06.11 | UFW's Rank and File

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Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers may seem synonymous. The charismatic leader headed up the union through strikes and boycotts that garnered nation-wide attention and made him a labor icon. Former farm worker Frank Bardacke, however, argues that the history of the UFW needs to be understood from the bottom up. In a remarkable new book, he reveals the mainly untold story of the UFW's militant rank and file, who brought their own radical traditions to the union and clashed with union staff in ways that shaped the organization's fate.

Wed 11.30.11 | Archie Green

Sean Burns, Archie Green: The Making of a Working Class Hero University of Illinois Press, 2011

Fund for Labor Culture and History



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Archie Green may be best known for almost singlehandedly pressuring the government to create the American Folklife Center, but Sean Burns argues he was one of this country's foremost intellectuals on the left. Burns has written the definitive study of the labor historian and folklorist and discusses his political formation on San Francisco's docks and his contributions to our understandings of work and culture.

Wed 8.24.11| Labor Struggles at Verizon and Beyond

The biggest strike in four years came to an end on Monday, but the conflict between Verizon and its unionized workers is far from being resolved. The case epitomizes the challenges for union workers in the US, who often are employed by businesses that are majority non-union. Labor journalist and organizer Steve Early talks about how workers should and can fight back in an era where open shops are becoming the norm.

Tues 7.26.11| Academic Labor & Higher Ed in Crisis

William Deresiewicz at The Nation

William Deresiewicz, A Jane Austen Education Penguin, 2011




"A self-enriching aristocracy, a swelling and increasingly immiserated proletariat, and a shrinking middle class." In the eyes of Bill Deresiewicz, that describes not just the US economy as a whole but also the troubled landscape of higher education. Deresiewicz discusses the plight of academic labor and other trends within the academy. He also evaluates calls for the abolition of tenure and for technology-based and market-driven reforms.

Wed 4.27.11| Public Workers in Higher Education

Academic workers -- from exploited staff to tenured faculty to poorly paid adjuncts and grad students -- are on the chopping block, as states target public education from coast to coast. Union leader and political scientist Steve London talks about how the Professional Staff Congress, which represents workers at CUNY, is fighting back against austerity meted out by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. He also revisits the New York City fiscal crisis of 1975 and its parallels with today.

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