Louise Milone recounts how smog produced by the southwestern Pennsylvanian steel industry poisoned the air in the Monongahela Valley town of Donora on November 1, 1948, killing more than 22 people and sickening thousands more. Exploring the response of the US Steel Corporation, employees, and Donora residents, Milone explains how the United Steelworkers of America union pushed for an investigation and improved environmental and health and safety regulations following the disaster. Milone is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Georgia Department of History.
Reuther Library SEIU archivist Sarah Lebovitz shares highlights from the union’s first 100 years, and explains how its archives at the Reuther Library have supported labor organizing and centennial celebrations.
Artist and author Justin Beal shares the career and legacy of influential yet often forgotten architect Minoru Yamasaki. Yamasaki’s human-centered architectural design was often overrun by economics, politics, and capitalist symbolism, leading to his two most well-known developments, the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis and the World Trade Center in New York City, to come crashing down on live television some thirty years apart–one at the hands of bureaucrats, the other by terrorists. Beal also considers how modern architectural trends and a changing climate have created a generation of buildings that ignore human needs, contributing to sick building syndrome. Beal recently published Sandfuture, his autobiographical exploration of Yamasaki’s legacy and how modern architecture has failed human health.
After Leonard Woodcock stepped down as president of the UAW in 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter sent him to Beijing as a diplomatic envoy and ultimately as the nation’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. In the first of a two-part interview, his wife Sharon Woodcock talks about Leonard’s labor ideals and shares tales about their time in the ambassador’s residence, including his unusually close relationship with Deng Xiaoping, the leader and architect of modern China.
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.
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.
Alexis Jetter discusses her long-running project, a memoir unraveling the life and death of her mother Evelyn Jetter, a physicist, engineer, and in 1950 a founder of the Society of Women Engineers. After writing a master’s thesis and article in the 1980s that explored whether her mother’s death at age 52 was caused by her work with radiation at the Atomic Energy Commission and other companies — from the 1940s through 1970s — Alexis felt a growing desire to better understand Evelyn’s career in relation to her private life. Alexis describes her experience growing up in mid-century America among the founding members of SWE, brilliant women who found a way to enmesh their professional lives as engineers with their personal lives as women and mothers. Alexis also decodes the symbiotic professional and personal relationship between Evelyn and SWE’s founding president, Beatrice Hicks, who hired Evelyn as a consultant when she left the workforce for 12 years to raise her four children, an act emblematic of the “sisterhood” that SWE engendered in its early years. Alexis Jetter is a journalist and lecturer at Dartmouth College.
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.