Category Archives: Labor History

Punishing Promise: School Discipline in the Era of Desegregation



Matt Kautz explains how his observations while teaching in Detroit and Chicago led him to study the rise of suspensions and other disciplinary tactics in urban districts during school desegregation, fueling the school-to-prison pipeline. His research has focused particularly on Boston, Detroit, and Louisville during court-ordered desegregation, for which there is ample documentation of school disciplinary codes, statistics on usage against students, and responses from administrators, teachers, law enforcement, and the community. Kautz is a Ph.D. candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University

Related Collections
AFT Local 231: Detroit Federation of Teachers Records
Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DCCR) / Human Rights Department Records
Detroit Public Schools Community Relations Division Records
Wayne State University College of Education, Dean’s Office: Detroit Public Schools Monitoring Commission on Desegregation Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Matt Kautz
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


(5213) Matilda (Rabinowitz) Robbins, Arrest, 1910s

Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins (Part 2)



In the second of a two-episode series, artist Robbin Légère Henderson discusses the life of her grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, a Socialist, IWW organizer, feminist, writer, mother, and social worker. Henderson shares stories from Robbins’ autobiography, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century, explaining how the optimism of a 13-year-old immigrant from the Ukraine was soon undone by the realities of working in garment sweatshops on the East Coast, leading to Matilda Robbins’ brief but influential role as labor organizer for the International Workers of the World from 1912 to 1917.

Related Resources
Exhibit Announcement: “Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman”
Blog: Love Letters
Book: Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century
robbinhenderson.com

Related Collections
Matilda Robbins Papers
Industrial Workers of the World Records
Ben Légère Papers
John Beffel Papers

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Interviewer: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Robbin Légère Henderson
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-1995 (Part 2)



This is the second of a two-part interview with Dr. Jeremy Milloy about his forthcoming book, “Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-95,” which explores the evolution of alcohol and drug addiction interventions in the workplace in the latter half of the 20th century. In this episode, Milloy considers workplace addiction interventions as a continuation of the encroachment of employers into employees’ private lives. Milloy describes the Reagan administration’s addiction intervention policies in the heavily federally-regulated railroad industry in the 1980s, and across industries the evolution from rehabilitative workplace addiction interventions to more punitive workplace drug testing by the 1990s.

Dr. Milloy is a postdoctoral fellow at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. His research explores work, violence, addiction, and capitalism in Canada and the United States.

Related Collections
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Records
UAW Chrysler Department Records
UAW President’s Office: Leonard Woodcock Records
UAW Region 1 Records
UAW Vice President’s Office: Irving Bluestone Records
Walter P. Reuther Library Vertical Files Collection

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewer: Meghan Courtney
Interviewee: Jeremy Milloy
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-1995 (Part 1)



This is the first of a two-part interview with Dr. Jeremy Milloy about his forthcoming book, “Hooked On The Line: Addiction and the North American Workplace, 1965-95,” which explores the evolution of alcohol and drug addiction interventions in the workplace in the latter half of the 20th century. In this episode, Milloy explores the early days of addiction intervention in the workplace through programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and then delves into an experimental, grant-funded UAW program in the 1970s called CHIP – Curb Heroin in Plants. An employee-led initiative, CHIP sought to treat heroin dependence in autoworkers through a combination of counseling and methadone maintenance.

Dr. Milloy is a postdoctoral fellow at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. His work explores work, violence, addiction, and capitalism in Canada and the United States.

Related Collections
UAW Chrysler Department Records
UAW President’s Office: Leonard Woodcock Records
UAW Region 1 Records
UAW Vice President’s Office: Irving Bluestone Records
Walter P. Reuther Library Vertical Files Collection

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewer: Meghan Courtney
Interviewee: Jeremy Milloy
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


The Southern Airways Strike of 1960: ALPA’s Epic Battle Over Fair Pilot Wages



Air Line Pilots Association archivist Bart Bealmear shares the history of ALPA’s shrewd 1960 strike against regional carrier Southern Airways over pilot wages. The strike began on June 5, 1960 and launched a costly two-year legal and tactical battle in which ALPA created its own competitor airline, Southern hired poorly-qualified scab pilots funded partially by the government, and the union strategically appealed a ruling in its own favor to preempt and scuttle Southern’s appeal. The founder and president of Southern Airways, Frank Hulse, finally capitulated in September 1962 when an investor in the airline threatened to sell a controlling stake to ALPA to end the strike. Although the longest and costliest strike in ALPA’s history, the union considers the Southern Airways Strike of 1960 as its magna carta, key to protecting the wages of pilots at smaller airline carriers for decades to come.

Related Collections
ALPA President’s Department Records
George Hopkins Papers
Clarence N. Sayen Papers

More Information
Blog post: The Southern Airways strike of 1960: ALPA’s epic battle over fair wages for pilots

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Bart Bealmear
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


“Taxing Limits: The Political Economy of American School Finance”



Kelly Goodman speaks about the political history of funding education through local and state taxes. Having worked as a data analyst for the Detroit public schools, Goodman pursued graduate school to explore the structural issues surrounding questions she often found herself asking: why are some schools perceived to be bad? Why do some schools receive less funding than others? How does the economy work, and for whom?

To answer those questions, Goodman’s research for her dissertation, “Taxing Limits: The Political Economy of American School Finance,” reorients political history around enduring tensions between the control of decisions and the allocation of money in federalism by exploring the 1930s and 1970s public budget crises in Michigan and California. Both states were notable for their powerful labor unions and business associations, and for their pioneering role in applying the fiscal concept of tax limitation to constrain, not cut, government. Her extended research at the Reuther Library has led her deep into the archives of the American Federation of Teachers and AFT tax guru Arthur Elder, as well as records documenting the UAW’s political actions on school finance and teacher organizing. Goodman is Ph.D. candidate in History at Yale University.

Related Collections
AFL-CIO Metropolitan Detroit Records
AFT Secretary-Treasurer’s Office Records
Selma Borchardt Papers
Arthur Elder Papers
Michigan Federation of Teachers Records
Michigan AFL-CIO Records
UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Kelly Goodman
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


Reevaluating Comparable Worth: AFSCME’s Pay Equity Campaigns of Yesteryear and Today



In celebration of Equal Pay Day on April 2, 2019, podcast host and American Federation of Teachers archivist Dan Golodner recounts a time 100 years ago when male teachers tried, and failed, to prevent female teachers from bargaining for pay equity with their male peers. AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia discusses AFSCME’s groundbreaking equal pay campaigns for public employees in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Local 101 in San Jose, California and Council 28 in Washington state. To alleviate the large pay disparities between male and female public employees, the “comparable worth” of jobs typically held by men and jobs typically held by women were reevaluated. City managers and politicians got cheap, librarians got tricky, union members got cheeky with a barbecue grill, and eventually female AFSCME members got a raise, although not enough to completely erase pay inequity between women and men. Producer and archivist Troy Eller English threatens to celebrate Equal Pay Day by editing out just 80 percent of Dan’s cursing, but scolds him for mouth breathing, instead.

More Information
Pay Equity and the Public Employee

Related Collections
AFSCME Communications Department Records
AFSCME Office of the President: Gerald W. McEntee Records
AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records
AFSCME Office of the Secretary-Treasurer: William Lucy Records
AFSCME Program Development Department Records
AFSCME Women’s Rights Department Records
Coalition of Labor Union Women Records
Susan Holleran Papers
SEIU District 925 Records
SEIU District 925 Legacy Project

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Stefanie Caloia
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


Documenting the Now: SEIU Archivist Sarah Lebovitz on Using Archives to Empower the Future



SEIU archivist Sarah Lebovitz explains how her background in anthropology informs her work as an archivist, preserving and revealing the experiences of underrepresented groups. She recounts successful SEIU actions including the implementation of needlestick protocol for healthcare workers and the organization of women office workers in SEIU District 925, which served as inspiration for the classic 1980 film 9 to 5, starring Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda (whose oral history about the movement is available at the Reuther Library). Lebovitz describes the challenges and opportunities of archiving social media and digital content, and making archives more accessible and interactive for researchers. She and host Dan Golodner discuss the challenge of convincing union organizers and members that the work they’re doing today is historically important and worth documenting.

Related Collections
SEIU archival collections at the Reuther Library
SEIU District 925 Records
SEIU District 925 Legacy Project Oral Histories
SEIU Oral Histories

More Information
Documenting the Now
Omeka

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: Sarah Lebovitz
Sound: Troy Eller English

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, and Paul Neirink


“Long Memory is the Most Radical Idea in America:” Field Report from Reuther Collections Gatherer Louis Jones



Dr. Louis Jones discusses his work in building relationships to bring records into the Reuther Library documenting the American labor movement, civil rights, and the history of metropolitan Detroit. He explains how he brought three recent acquisitions into the Reuther Library: the papers of labor activist and folk singer Utah Phillips; the business records of civil rights organization NAACP Detroit; and the records of LGBT Detroit, an organization working to support and advocate for Detroit’s LGBT community. Jones is the field archivist for the Walter P. Reuther Library, and received a Ph.D. in history from Wayne State University.

*Note: Since the recording of this episode, we have received word that our former colleague discussed in the episode now prefers to be known as Perez.

Related Resources
Collection Spotlight: LGBT Materials at the Reuther Library
Collection Spotlight: The Utah Phillips Papers
NAACP Detroit Branch Records – An addition to a long history of fighting for civil rights and community improvement

Related Collections
LGBT Detroit Records
Utah Phillips Papers
NAACP Detroit Branch Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Louis Jones
Sound: Troy Eller English
With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace


Speak to the Earth and it Shall Teach Thee: Catholic Nuns, the United Farm Workers Movement, and the Rise of an Environmental Ethic, 1962-1978



John Buchkoski explores the role that religious women had in grassroots social activism in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly organizations of Catholic women religious. He explains how these groups supported United Farm Worker strikes by publicizing the environmental and health effects of pesticide use and popularizing produce boycotts across Catholic communities. Buchkoski is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oklahoma.

Related Collections
Reverend James Drake Papers
Reverend Victor P. Salandini Papers
National Farm Worker Ministry Records
Michigan Farm Worker Ministry Coalition Records
UFW Illinois Boycott: Chicago Office Records
UFW Ohio Boycott Records
UFW Central Administration Records
UFW Administration Department Records

Episode Credits
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewees: John Buchkoski
Sound: Troy Eller English
Music: Bart Bealmear

With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace