Friday, June 14, 2013

Labor History Roundup

Rebecca J. Rosen, "Augmented-Reality Game Brings a Story of Jewish Labor Organizers Back to Life," Atlantic, June 6 2013

There is a feeling you get when you stand on, say, the ground at Gettysburg or the steps of the Lincoln Monument and you know that something momentous, a piece of history, occurred right on that part of the Earth right beneath your feet.

But what about the history that went down at less noted locations, places that you pass every day on your way to work or when you take your dog out for a walk? It's easy to never see those stories, to relegate them to museums and books, away from the physical locations where they took place. But what if the city itself became our history museum, and its sites bore their pasts more prominently?>>>

Rich Yeselson, "Fortress Unionism: Decades after its passage, the Taft-Hartley Act still casts a shadow on labor. Unions have a future—but only if they accept some difficult realities," Democracy: A Journal of Ideas (Summer 2013)

. . . . With the long decline of the labor movement has come a parallel decline in our historical memory of its once-extraordinary influence, and of the effort to curtail that influence. Books about Truman give only passing mention to the most contentious law passed during his presidency. Taft, the son of a President and a man who might have become President himself, is barely remembered. And it is unimaginable today that a President would give a national address vociferously defending labor unions.>>>

Josh Eidelson and Sarah Jaffe, "Belabored Podcast #9: Who Stole My Wages?" Dissent, June 7, 2013

Uprisings in Turkey and the role of labor unions, international actions targeting McDonald’s, ongoing conflict at Palermo’s Pizza, and an independent organizing campaign at an upscale New York deli. Plus the debut of Belabored Explainers!>>>

"The Desperate Would-be Housewife of New York," Smithsonian, June 13, 2013

In the early evening of January 30, 1857, a middle-aged dentist named Harvey Burdell left his townhouse at 31 Bond Street, a respectable if not truly chic section of Manhattan, and set out for a local hotel. Burdell had recently been taking his dinners there, even though he had a cook on his household staff. His relationship with one of his tenants (and a regular at his table), Emma Cunningham, had become strained. Burdell had accused Cunningham, a 34-year-old widow with four children, of stealing a promissory note from his office safe. She in turn had had Burdell arrested for breach of promise to marry, which was then a criminal offense.>>>

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