Working-Class Links

General Resources

  • A collection of interviews with General Motors employees, union members and others involved in Janesville’s manufacturing history are available at the Hedberg Public Library.
  • NEW!! Based in the discipline of Work and Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney, Working Lives draws together contributors examining a range of labour biography subjects and methodologies, including: labour history and narrative identity, trade union leadership, labour intellectuals, studies of the justices of the NSW Industrial Commission and a progress report on the Biographical Register of the Australian Labour Movement which includes entries on 2,000 labour activists. Several entries on pioneering women activists can also be found at this page.
  • The Social Inequality and Classes section of the Sociology Site has a long list of links to bibliographies, articles, and other resources on inequalities, classes, stratification, and poverty.
  • The Institute for Labor Studies provides labor education for the unions and working people of the Kansas City Metropolitan area. We are a joint project of The University of Missouri – Kansas City and Longview Community College and are one of over fifty labor education programs in the United States and Canada.
  • The International Association of Labour History Institutions brings together archives, libraries, document centers, museums, and research institutes specializing in the history and theory of labor movements from all over the world.
  • Want to visit an ethnic steelworkers’ tavern in cyberspace? TryChiodo’s Tavern’s web page now; when in Homestead, Pennsylvania, visit the real place.
  • LabourStart is the labor movement’s start page, similar to those launched by companies like Yahoo! It offers a daily update of labor news, urgent actions, labor links, net guide, and a search tool called MetaCrawler.
  • If you’re interested in labor history, check out Lause’s American Labor History site.
  • Radical History Review and Radical Historians Newsletter contains features, image collections, calendars, and web links.
  • Left History has a web site that includes on-line articles, cover art, and the table of contents for the journal issues.
  • The H-Labor web site includes resources, internet links, reviews, announcements, and the H-Labor discussion list.
  • The Institute of Industrial Relations Library maintains a web site which includes information on labor unions and government news.
  • For historical information, the Department of Labor’s site contains information on the creation of the department, its history, and biographies of former Secretaries of Labor.
  • The Labor and Business History Virtual Library offers links to labor history resources worldwide.
  • The Canadian Committee on Labour History provides information on the committee and its publications.
  • Labour/Le Travail, Canada’s premier journal of working class history and labor studies.
  • The Canadian Labour History Bibliography includes relevant citations that deal with the history of the working class within the borders of present-day Canada (the migration or sojourning of Canadian workers to toil in other countries is also included). This history is not limited to the workplace, but also includes family and community life, broadly defined: for example, school, home, clubs and political life.
  • The Bobst Library at NYU references sources in U.S. labor studies.
  • Stony Brook State University of New York Group for the Study of Working Class Life is dedicated to exploring the meaning of class in today’s world. Looking at society through the lens of class clarifies many important social questions in new ways why the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, what attacks on government programs through privatization mean, why the suburbs aren’t really a middle class haven, how the “family values” debate impacts our lives, and much more.
  • The Samuel Gompers Papers: A Documentary History of the American Working Class, sponsored by the University of Maryland-College Park, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the George Meany Memorial Archives has a lot of general labor history info, including a bibliography, time line, a guide to their microfilm series, photo gallery, Gompers’ biography and more.
  • In rock, blues, country, funk, and every other musical style, working people have told their stories throughout America’s history. AFL-CIO Music compiles a range of songs, including some labor classics and some you may have never encountered before.
  • Labour Video Communications is a Canadian based video production company producing independent and co-production labour union based educational documentary videos. Labour Video Communications also produces internal educational, documentary, and advocacy video productions for unions in Canada.
  • Voices of Post-War England focuses on working-class life in England since 1945 and centres on oral history interviews carried out in 2007 and 2008. The site is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.
  • Directory of labor archives in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Best of the Web – Socialism is a helpful resource for researching socialism on the internet.
  • Bughouse Square is the off-the-clock project of Toby Higbie, Associate Professor of History at UCLA.  A free speech venue populated by radicals, preachers, and assorted crackpots.
  • The Association of Working Class Academics advocates for students and faculty of poverty- and working-class origins, strives to implement reforms designed to assure greater class equity within colleges and universities, establishes relationships and connections between poverty- and working-class academics, and serves as an informational resource for those interested in issues affecting poverty- and working-class people.
  • Working Class Pride is a forum for working-class people.  A place to share concerns, provide practical wisdom, and share the satisfaction of putting in a hard day’s work.

Ideas about Class

Working-Class and Labor Politics

  • Socialist Equality Party provides links to international news related to work, workers, and labor movements.
  • The TransNational Working Class site lists a number of labor organizations, links to sites for current labor struggles, and a wide range of other labor politics resources.
  • Franco-American Women’s Institute of Maine traces women’s working class history, culture, and politics.
  • An on-line magazine, Workplace, offers essays and commentaries on the conditions of academic labor in North America.
  • The National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice educates, organizes, and mobilizes the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.
  • Seattle General Strike Project is a guide to the historical study of the Seattle General Strike of 1919 and related issues.
  • Wisconsin Labor History Society‘s website features the first version (with about 200 items) of the “Wisconsin Labor History Bibliography.” Their purpose is to tell the public of the contributions of labor to Wisconsin; to get labor’s story in the schools and colleges; and to preserve documents and records of workers and their unions.
  • The Labor Heritage Foundation works to strengthen the labor movement through the use of music and the arts. The site provides information about cultural events relevant to working-class studies.
  • The Institute of Industrial Relations (IIR), founded in 1945, is an “Organized Research Unit” of the University of California at Berkeley. Their site includes an extensive library, program listings, and publications.
  • The Labor Party, a political party founded in June 1996, is an alternative to the Republican and Democrat parties in the United States.
  • American Sociological Association Section on Labor and Labor Movements was created to generate lively intellectual exchange among sociologists doing research on labor and labor movements in the US and elsewhere in the world, as well as to promote a dialogue with labor leaders and activists.
  • Resources for Labor Union Organizing is designed to provide help to U.S. Workers in their efforts at organizing themselves and their co-workers into labor unions. It also is a solid source of tools for Union Leaders to assist in their operations, organizing, and bargaining efforts.
  • The Jewish Labor Committee is an independent secular organization that helps the Jewish community and the trade union movement work together on important issues of shared interest and concern.

Working-Class Films and Literature

  • Partisan Press, Inc. is a not-for-profit working-class literary publisher.  A worker run and supported press specializing in working-class poetry and prose.  Partisan publishes the Blue Collar Review, a journal of progressive working-class literature quarterly as well as poetry collections.
  • On the Bottom Dog Press page, Larry Smith has put together a good list of working-class literature and films.
  • Struggle is a webzine of “proletarian revolutionary literature.”
  • The Motion Picture and Television Reading Room of the Library of Congress has a filmography of labor-related films. After linking to the site, select “moving images collection” and then select the labor related option.
  • wORking Press is an independent publisher run by volunteers. At their web site, you can read about their publishing project, browse the books, and even download selected chapters and the full text of pamphlets.
  • Visualizing Ideology: Labor vs. Capital in the Age of Silent Film is a course web site resulting from the collaboration of members of the USC History Department and the USC Center for Scholarly Technology (CST). The site includes a syllabus, self tests, related links, and more.
  • Labor in the 1930s Bibliography, contains 268 entries. Individual bibliographic entries can be accessed by author or subject. Their aim is the provision of a thorough and annotated bibliography of books which cover labor history in the New Deal Era, i.e., 1929-1948. They welcome suggestions and submissions.
  • Spotlight on American Drama, an internet-based venue for new writings in American Drama, features the article, “Where Have all the Workers Gone?” The article begins with a review of Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, and moves through other works and links.
  • It’s 1999, and the booming city of Austin, Texas keeps on growing – thanks largely to men like Ramn and Juan, who work some of the hardest jobs in an America that doesn’t want them. Through the lives of these two men and a battle over Austin’s controversial day labor program, Los Trabajadores/The Workers brings to life the vivid contradictions that haunt America’s dependence on and discrimination against immigrant labor. Will air on PBS in April 2003.
  • Amber Films is a film and photography collective that has been documenting working class/marginalised communities, cultures, lives and landscapes in the North of England since 1968. Amber has made around 45 films, documentaries, and documentary-based dramas.
  • Literacy with an Attitude is a website where educators can talk about how to help working-class children.
  • Blue Cubicle Press is an independent publisher dedicated to giving voice to writers.  Publishes two literary journals, The First Line andWorkers Write!, chapbooks in their Overtime series, and more.

Current Issues

  • The Jobs for All Coalition site has information on a movement fighting for full employment.
  • Carol Simpson offers cartoons commenting on labor relations, the government, and the workplace.
  • Michael Moore, the creator of the film Roger and Me and the television series TV Nation, has a web site devoted to current working class and labor issues.
  • Working-Class Academics contains resources for working class academics.
  • The federal government provides up-to-date information on labor in the United States at the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site.
  • The K-12 Teaching & Learning Center provides an extensive guide to the “best educational content on the internet.” Topics include: General Resources, Labor Leaders, Child Labor, Immigrant Labor, Labor Day Strikes, Job Actions and Historic Events, Truckers, Unions, Women, Working Conditions, Related Literature, and Teacher Lesson Plans.
  • The Economic Policy Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy. EPI was established in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Their mission is to provide high-quality research and education in order to promote a prosperous, fair, and sustainable economy.
  • Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor develops creative strategies and innovative public policy to improve workers’ lives in a changing economy. Through the Kalmanovitz Initiative, Georgetown faculty and students collaborate with labor and business leaders, policymakers, working people and their advocates to craft practical solutions to real-world challenges for workers and employers.The Initiative draws on Georgetown’s distinctive identity – its commitment to intellectual excellence, grounding in the Catholic and Jesuit traditions, history of inter-religious cooperation, global reach, and prominence as an arena of policy debate in the nation’s capital – to advance prosperity, broadly-shared economic justice, and respect for the dignity of labor.

Working-Class Art

  • NEW!! Images by Larry O. Gay of The Sloss Company’s City Furnaces, built in what is now the center of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1881-1882. The furnaces produced pig iron for the foundry market until their close in 1970.
  • Art to the People is an on-line exhibit from the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam.
  • Hard Miles Music is devoted to restoring folk music and art to their rightful status within the labor movement. They are an independent record label presenting music which springs from the hearts of those who have traveled down life’s highway.
  • Payday: Working Class Life and Art includes a bibliography of North American working-class autobiographies compiled by Cheryl Cline; a fiction bibliography and a quotations page are forthcoming.
  • Workers’ Communications Press Cartoons for Workers features cartoons by Rick Flores, an ex-migrant farmworker, and now an internationally known Labor Artist.
  • Bread and Roses is the not-for-profit cultural arm of New York’s Health and Human Service Union, 1199/SEIU. Its 220,000 predominantly Latina and African American women members are employed in all job categories in health care institutions throughout the metropolitan area, New Jersey, and Florida. Bread and Roses was founded in 1979 as a cultural resource for union members and students in New York City who would otherwise have little access to the arts. Their website features a gallery and links to online resources.
  • LOST LABOR: Images of Vanished American Workers 1900-1980is a selection of 155 photographs excerpted from a collection of more than 1100 company histories, pamphlets, and technical brochures documenting America’s business and corporate industrial history.
  • The Side Photographic Collection Online is a major new educational resource, freely accessible and easy to navigate: some 2,000 captioned images are featured in over 80 bodies of work by more than 40 different photographers, together with original texts, biographies and overviews.
  • Detroit Focus is an artists’ alliance and cooperative, dedicated to enriching the lives of artists.

Media Projects about Class

  • Created by Congress in 1996, The Institute for Labor Studies provides labor education for the unions and working people of the Kansas City Metropolitan area. This joint project of The University of Missouri – Kansas City and Longview Community College is one of over 50 labor education programs in the United States and Canada.
  • Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is committed to preserving, interpreting, and managing the historic, cultural, and natural resources related to Big Steel and its related industries. Encompassing 3,000 square miles in the seven counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Westmoreland, Greene, Fayette, and Washington, Rivers of Steel is building on the area’s remarkable transition from heavy industry to high technology and diversified services as well as bolstering the new regional economy by promoting tourism and economic development based on this region’s historic industrial saga.
  • The Working Lives Research Institute at London Metropolitan University has won a major research grant from the European Social Fund for two projects over the next two and a half years. One looks at age discrimination against men of 50 and over and the other project compares the experiences of labour market discrimination faced by refugees and black and minority ethnic workers.
  • Class Matters is a companion website to Betsy Leondar-Wright’s book Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists. The website includes snippets from interviews with 40 diverse activists.
  • David Bacon, a reporter and photographer specializing in labor issues, includes some of his stories and pictures dealing with the workplace on this site.
  • Amber films is a film and photography collective that has been documenting working class/marginalised communities, cultures, lives and landscapes in the North of England since 1968. Amber has made around 45 films, documentaries and documentary-based dramas. A catalogue of the films and a history of the group’s work, and a combined catalogue of the group’s film and photography is available.
  • The goal of the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies is to “make class visible” by working with labor and community organizations to build public dialogue around class issues.
  • Community Labor News (CLNews) continues the tradition of workers’ organizing and taking action to create a better future. CLNews provides cyberspace for us to voice our views and explore a world of opinions.
  • LabourAgain is a research network on Latin America, social mobilization and the centrality of labour.
  • Class Action, a national nonprofit resource organization concerned about class oppression and taking action to eliminate classism has launched a new website. The newly revamped webstie includes information about classism, links and resources to allied organizations, and book reviews. It includes background about Class Action programs, consulting services, and an amazing resource list.
  • The Circolo Gianni Bosio website includes information on the activities of the Circolo in the field of oral history, folk and popular music, historical memory, working-class studies (publications, music classes, concerts, seminars, etc.), and a partial catalogue of the sound archive, listing those parts of the archive that have been digitized and are accessible to the public.
  • “The Status Films” is a four-part documentary cycle made by sifting through thousands of public Facebook status updates.  The films map a cycle of actions, circumstances, and experiences from the working class,

More links? Please e-mail our webmaster, Patty LaPresta, with information on other sites we should list here.

Working-Class Studies in Museums and Archives

  • Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, a site of the Ohio Historical Society, is located at 151 W. Wood St. in Youngstown. Its permanent exhibit, “By the Sweat of Their Brow: Forging the Steel Valley,” focuses on the iron and steel industry and the people who toiled and lived in the shadow of the mills. The exhibit features life-size scenes such as a company home and locker room, video interviews with workers and managers, and other artifacts depicting mill conditions and the technology of iron and steel manufacture. There is also an archives/library which contains material related to the areas that are covered in the permanent exhibition.
  • The Walter P. Reuther Archives is located in Detroit, Michigan. It houses an extensive collection of photographs and other archival materials relating to the United Autoworkers and other labor organizations.
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York City, uses the web to simulate the museum experience. It depicts the life of immigrant workers who enriched the character of a great American city.
  • The Youngstown State University Oral History Collection, begun in 1974, collects and preserves first-person narratives of northeastern Ohioans who have participated in, or closely observed events which have significantly affected both the state and nation. The Oral History Collection houses over eleven hundred interviews including personal narratives focusing on World War II, Vietnam, Youngstown College (University), Greek, Puerto Rican, Romanian, Russian and Italian culture, industry (steel, pottery, brick, labor relations, coal, and railroads), politics, the Holocaust, and religion.
  • Harvard University Library Open Collections Program is pleased to announce the release of the online resource “Women Working: 1870-1930”, a digital collection of primary source materials for teaching, learning, and research.
  • The Working-Class Movement Library is a national library and archive of the history of the radical and labor movement in Britain from the 1790s to the present day. The collection also has substantial international holdings, including the USA.
  • The AFL-CIOs “Art” page lists exhibits at their office and provides some good resources.

Race, Gender, and Class

  • The thirty-one videotapes in the Her Own Words series on women’s history produced by Jocelyn Riley tell the stories of many women, ranging from Progressive writers Belle Case Follette (1859-1931) and Zona Gale (1874-1938) to women who are working right now in nontraditional careers such as construction, policing, welding, machining, and dentistry.
  • Class in America: The Unspoken Divide. Although America has always claimed to be a country where anyone could succeed with a fighting spirit and strong work ethic, the U.S. has never truly escaped ideas of class identification and separation. As a growing chasm between rich and poor conflicts with a shared desire to be “middle class,” WKSU looks honestly at class issues that face NE Ohio through its series.