Links to Labor History Resources

“Lessons in Labor History,” the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s curriculum, assembled with the support of the Wisconsin Labor History Society, is now available on this website and you may download it by sections.  Please note that for Section 4 you will find a number of resources for each part, by clicking here.

You will also be able to download it from the American Labor Studies website by clicking here.   The site also has a whole host of other resources for those interested in labor history.

African-Americans and Labor. For a bibliography of materials linking labor unions and the African-Americans, click here.

All About Woman and Work. The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has created an excellent resource about women, their work, their income, and other vital economic statistics.  Many links provided. Click here.

American Labor
in U.S. History Textbooks:
How Labor’s Story is Distorted
in High School History Textbooks

“American Labor in U.S History Textbooks: How Labor’s Story Is Distorted in High School Textbooks” Recent study by Albert Shanker Institute. Click here.

American Labor Studies Center.  A great site to open links to numerous labor studies programs and curriculums throughout the union states.  Click here.

The School for Workers,(click here: http://schoolforworkers.uwex.edu/) is the labor education department of the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning. Its mission is to educate workers and others about issues of concern in the workplace.

Wisconsin AFL-CIO Excellent collection of state resources and labor information.

Illinois Labor History Society State labor information, history, and curriculum.

Wisconsin Historical Society Research tools, archives, museum, library, outreach.

Zinn Education Project Many educational resources in this website, which reflects the legacy of the great Howard Zinn.

Union Communications Services, Inc. Books and video plus pages devoted to labor history.  This organization publishes bi-monthly Stewards Update newsletter.

LaborNet “Global online communication for a democratic, independent labor movement.”

Labor Heritage Foundation Lists labor landmarks, including the Bay View monument. Also includes labor related music and art listings.

The Longest Strike: Class Warfare at Kohler

Roger Bybee, labor columnist and longtime editor of Racine Labor  has written an analysis of the longest strike in U.S. history, the United Auto Workers’ seven-year battle with the Kohler Corporation from 1954 to 1961. The strike was followed by four more years of legal skirmishing by the company and turned into a remarkable victory for the union and the national labor movement. The strike was centered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a town of about 50,000 located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Kohler, founded in 1873 to produce bathroom and kitchen fixtures, began as a company town, offering housing and amenities to workers.  Read entire account.

The Power in Our Hands — Curriculum by Rethinking Schools

The Power in Our Hands: A Curriculum on the History of Work and Workers in the United States, by Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond is an innovative curriculum that enables students to learn about some of the most important labor struggles in U.S. history — including the 1892 Homestead Strike, the 1912 Bread and Roses strike, and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union —  through role play, simulation, imaginative writing, and historical detective work. Students also explore how work has been transformed and how that has affected our daily lives.  The Power in Our Hands can also be used as an excellent curriculum model for other units of study.  For information on how to purchase this book, click here.

When Howard Zinn visited Wisconsin labor history sites

In 1998, famed historian Howard Zinn, author of “The People’s History of the United States,” visited Wisconsin at the invitation of the Labor History Society.  He spoke at our annual meeting on May 3 at Oshkosh, where he discussed the Great Oshkosh Woodworkers Strike and the next day in Milwaukee, preceding the annual Bay View Tragedy event at Puddlers Hall.  Audio recordings of both speeches will be available soon.

Inside the 1962 Newspaper Guild Strike at Milwaukee Sentinel

Ken Germanson, president emeritus of the Wisconsin Labor History Society, was interviewed by Michael A. Gordon, associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, for eight hours during the summer of 2009.  His life, including the 40 years he spent in the labor movement, was transcribed onto 78 pages.  A small portion of that interview was devoted to the 1962 strike by the Milwaukee Newspaper Guild at the Milwaukee Sentinel, then owned by the Hearst Corporation.  The strike lasted ten weeks, and was ended when the newspaper was sold to the Journal Co.

Germanson was executive board member of the Guild in that memorable strike as well as the strike chairman, which meant administering the strike activities on a 24/7 basis for some 400 union members.  Read the inside story of that strike here in this portion excerpted from the oral history.

To read the entire 77-page transcript of the complete oral history of Germanson, click here.

Oral Interviews of 12 Janesville workers available online.

A collection of oral interviews with General Motors employees, union members and others involved in Janesville’s manufacturing history is available on the website of Janesville’s Hedberg Public Library.

The interviews come from retirees of Janesville’s General Motors plant and other workers who were interviewed as part of the City of Janesville Bicentennial Oral History Project in 1976.  The interviews include growing up in Janesville, social life, union organizing activities, family background and their work in Janesville during the first half of the 20th century.

The original interviewing project was conceived by then Rock County Historical Society director Richard Hartung, and sponsored by the Janesville Bicentennial Heritage Committee, chaired by George Hickey. Clem Imhoff interviewed the twelve men in 1976.

Supporting the effort was the Hedberg Public Library Foundation, UAW Local 95, Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Commercial Bank of Janesville and Amy Dooley.  Thanks also to Hedberg Public Library librarians and volunteers for their efforts.

Harris Reporting Company of Janesville was hired to transcribe the audiocassette tapes, completing their work in September, 2009.   You can both read  transcripts or hear the interviews by clicking here.