Category Archives: Labor History

“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


1933 Chicago Teachers Walkout: That Time Teachers Rioted With Textbooks and Rulers



American Federation of Teachers archivist Dan Golodner tells guest host Bart Bealmear about the 1933 Chicago Teachers Walkout, when Chicago teachers joined together to demand that they be paid in actual money and on time, rather than in scrip that wasn’t honored by local businesses and banks during the Great Depression. Paid only nine times in four years because property taxes meant to fund Chicago schools were withheld by corrupt businesses, banks, and school board members, students and teachers staged public demonstrations on the streets and in bank lobbies, ultimately shaming the banks into releasing school funds and the school board into issuing consistent paychecks.

Related Collections

AFT Inventory Part I Records

AFT Inventory Part II Records

American Federation of Teachers Publications

Mary J. Herrick Papers

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Bart Bealmear

Interviewee: Dan Golodner

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

 

 

 

 


Assembly Line Housing: Walter P. Reuther, George Romney, and Operation Breakthrough – Part 2



In the second of a two-part series, Dr. Kristin M. Szylvian explains how racial segregation and the fear of declining property values ultimately scuttled Operation Breakthrough, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Program early in the Nixon administration to use union-made manufactured housing to create racially- and economically-integrated housing communities throughout the country. She argues that Walter Reuther and programs like Operation Breakthrough, despite its collapse, have shown that non-profit and cooperative housing can be used to create home security in disadvantaged communities, especially in the lingering wake of the home finance crisis of 2007.

 

Related Collections

UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Kristin M. Szylvian

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


Assembly Line Housing: Walter P. Reuther, George Romney, and Operation Breakthrough – Part 1



In the first of a two-part series, Dr. Kristin Szylvian explains the role of the American labor movement, and UAW president Walter Reuther in particular, in lobbying for and shaping fair housing programs and legislation in Detroit and nationally after the Second World War. That influence paved the way for an unlikely alliance in the 1960s between Reuther and George Romney, the former Republican governor of Michigan, when they joined together in the late 1960s to launch Operation Breakthrough, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program to use union-made manufactured housing to alleviate the housing crisis in minority communities while also creating job opportunities and encouraging racial and income integration in the larger community.

 

Related Collections

UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Kristin M. Szylvian

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


I Am A Man: Photographer Richard Copley Recalls His First Assignment, 50 Years After the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike



AFSCME archivist Stefanie Caloia shares photographer Richard Copley’s story of his very first and what he considers his most important assignment covering the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and, ultimately, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and memorial march.

Related Collections

AFSCME Local 1733 Records

AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records

1968 Sanitation Workers Strike Image Gallery

Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Host: Dan Golodner

Interviewee: Stefanie Caloia, excerpts from Richard Copley

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


Jessica Levy on “Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City”



Jessica Levy explains how American corporations and black entrepreneurs worked together to forge a new politics linking American business with black liberation at home and abroad, focusing particularly on Leon Howard Sullivan, a civil rights leader and board member of General Motors who used his position to influence American corporate anti-apartheid actions.

Levy is a PhD Candidate at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Continue reading Jessica Levy on “Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City”