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Featured Articles

New Teaching Labor’s Story Unit: The Soup Song from the 1930s

Do you know one of the most popular labor songs of the 1930s?  Check out this new Teaching Labor’s Story* entry to discover why “The Soup Song” became an anthem of the employed and unemployed alike. Belt it out alone or with others to feel the outrage and solidarity that the song inspired. Use it in class to help students understand working class perspectives during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Soup Song, c. 1930  “The Soup Song” uses humor and sarcasm to convey workers’ experiences and attitudes during the Great Depression.  As a widely popular participatory song, it was an effective tool for labor organizing.  This latest TLS entry is authored by Ryan Pettengill. Also check out Pettengill’s recent monograph: Communists and Community: Activism in Detroit’s Labor Movement, 1941-1956 (Temple University Press, 2020). Image source: National Archives *Teaching Labor’s Story [TLS] is a repository of primary sources with supporting teaching guides. TLS entries can be incorporated into existing curriculum, allowing experts and non-experts alike to re-infuse labor’s story into the historical narrative. TLS sources are selected to reveal significant perspectives on essential historical questions, and each source is accompanied by a guide that includes an informative contextualizing essay, glossary, discussion questions, curricular connections, and additional sources. Each TLS entry is linked to one of ten commonly taught eras in American/United States history. TLS is a project of the Labor and Working Class History Association [LAWCHA]. We invite historians to write a TLS entry; see Call for Contributions, here. Read more →

August 17th, 2022

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Recent Posts Archives

Front-line workers in the covid-19 fight need unions

by William Jones  on April 23rd,2020

New Deal-era labor laws must be refreshed and improved to support and empower today’s essential workers.

Read more →

When the Home Is a Workplace

by Eileen Boris  on April 17th,2020
In California, new legislation would expand the rules of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to cover all workers—if domestic workers and their allies have their way. Read more →


by Jacob Remes  on March 18th,2019
LAWCHA is pleased to have solicited and endorsed several panels at the 2019 OAH Conference in Philadelphia. We hope to see you there. Read more →

Sleeping Giant: When Public Workers Awake

by Leon Fink  on February 6th,2019
It was the radical African-American intellectual, W.E.B. Du Bois, who famously called the mass disaffection and migration of southern slaves to Union battle lines in the Civil War a “general strike.” Read more →

Class Prejudice and the Democrats’ Blue Wave?

by Jack Metzgar  on November 30th,2018
Two days after the mid-term elections, The Washington Post published an analysis under the headline “These wealthy neighborhoods delivered Democrats the House majority.” Read more →

The AHA and the Chicago Hotel Strike

by Julie Greene  on October 20th,2018
On Sept. 7 UNITE HERE began a strike against 25 hotels in Chicago. The demands focused on year round health insurance and other benefits. Six… Read more →

Labor Song of the Month: “Harry Bridges”

by Peter Cole  on September 20th,2018
Nowadays, the name Harry Bridges elicits no response from the average American. Some San Francisco Bay Area residents might connect his name to the large plaza outside the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero running alongside the bay. Read more →

What’s up with wages? Nothing, and that’s a problem (not a puzzle)

by Daniel Graff  on September 20th,2018
Increasing inequality is a pressing problem requiring serious research and vigorous debate as we strive for policies that improve people’s opportunities and outcomes. One direct way to tackle this challenge is to confront the problem of pay, especially in the United States, where our public culture has long correlated hard work with personal worth and our public policies have wedded social benefits to employment via tax credits, health care insurance and pensions. Read more →

The Fight for Good Jobs and a Democratic Economy

by Jonathan Kissam  on September 5th,2018
Jonathan Kissam, historian and Communications Director for United Electrical Workers Union, digs into the past for some ideas for the future, in a post originally… Read more →

Martin J. Bennett, “50 Years Ago: King, Memphis, and the Poor People’s Campaign,” Beyond Chron, May 31, 2018

by Ryan Poe  on June 25th,2018
Most Americans know that a white racist assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4,1968 – fifty years ago. But few understand the historical context and why King was in Memphis. Read more →

I Am Not a Writer

Bob Rossi , February 24th,2022

Bob Rossi’s poem “Deincarnation” was published in December 2021’s Labor: Studies in Working Class History. He’s graced us with another.   I Am Not A Writer    Bob Rossi   Late one night, wearied by the misfortunes And follies of men, I put aside my work And wondered at continuing. It has been a century, longer, since those… Read more →

2 New Teaching Labor’s Story Units Women’s Rights are Labor Rights

Nikki Mandell , February 23rd,2022

What do labor history and movements for women’s rights have in common?    Check out the new additions to the Teaching Labor’s Story resource bank: a 1910 article advocating women’s suffrage by Kate Debs (yes, that Debs)              Document Selection and Teaching Guide by Michelle Killion Morahn, Affiliated Faculty, Indiana State University and… Read more →


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