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labor history



  • The Necessary Radicalism of Bernie Sanders

    by Jamelle Bouie

    Conflict was the engine of labor reform in the 1930s. And mass strikes and picketing, in particular, pushed the federal government to act.



  • Graduate Worker Organizing is Scholarly Praxis

    by Hannah Borenstein

    For many inside and outside of academia the notion that graduate students are indeed workers is not readily clear. In large part, I came to see this as mirrored through the reproduction of academia’s lack of emphasis on scholarly praxis.



  • Jefferson Cowie: The Future of Fair Labor

    Jefferson Cowie is a professor of labor history at Cornell and the author of “Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class.”ITHACA, N.Y. — SEVENTY-FIVE years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act to give a policy backbone to his belief that goods that were not produced under “rudimentary standards of decency” should not be “allowed to pollute the channels of interstate trade."The act is the bedrock of modern employment law. It outlawed child labor, guaranteed a minimum wage, established the official length of the workweek at 40 hours, and required overtime pay for anything more. Capping the working week encouraged employers to hire more people rather than work the ones they had to exhaustion. All this came not from the magic of market equilibrium but from federal policy.For decades afterward, Congress brought more people under the law’s purview and engaged in perennial struggles to maintain or increase the minimum wage. Fifty years ago this month, John F. Kennedy signed its most important amendment, the Equal Pay Act, which guaranteed women and others equal pay for equal work....