1. Gordon, Michael A. “Staging ‘The Line’: The Creation of a Play About the Patrick Cudahy Meat Packing Strike of 1987-1989”. Labor’s Heritage. 1997; 9(2):58-77. Notes: This article explains how the collaboration of an oral historian (the author of this article) and a playwright (John Schneider, the artistic director of Milwaukee’s innovative Theatre X) brought about the creation of an original play which dramatized the bitter 1987-1989 strike by United Food and Commercial Workers Local P-40 against the Patrick Cudahy, Inc. meatpacking plant in Cudahy, Wisconsin, a small town just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The strike, which lasted for twenty-eight months, came about after a bargaining impasse was reached over company demands for a second straight contract with significant salary reductions–cutbacks which would have taken many employees back to the wages they had been making in 1967.In this article Gordon uses the experience of creating the new play, The Line, to illustrate how incorporating extensive information from oral histories into the production of plays can preserve labor history as well as allowing those interviewed (such as strike participants) to gain insights into their struggle when given the opportunity to tell their story and find affirmation in the values which led to their battle. For about seventy-five percent of the dialogue in the play, Schneider was able to quote directly from the oral history interviews. Because of the many examples Gordon supplies in this article to show how the oral history interviews provided details about what it was like to work in the plant and how that detail was incorporated into the play, we come to understand how utterly demanding meatpacking work is; indeed, Gordon says that a key finding from his discussions with the former P-40 strikers was that “many workers believed their jobs were simply too arduous and demeaning to do for just over $6 an hour.” (p. 66). In addition to interviewing company executives and touring the plant, Gordon supplemented his research with the extensive archival records of the National Labor Relations Board related to the dispute.The Line ran in Milwaukee for twenty performances in January and February 1996 and was revived for three more performances in September 1996 (one at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and two at the University of Wisconsin-Madison). The oral history interviews conducted for the play are in the “Patrick Cudahy Strike and Plant Closing of 1987-1989 Oral History Project” collection held by the Urban Archives at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  1. Schneider, John D. Out in the Darkness: The Story of the Great Oshkosh Woodworkers’ Strike of 1898 . [Oshkosh, Wis.]: s.n.; [1998]. 86 p. Notes: A play “based on the work of Virginia Crane, Lee Baxandahl, and Inky Yungwirth”–cover; premiere performance on May 1-3, 1998 by the Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Community Players at the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; see WLHS Newsletter (Winter 1998-99) for excerpts of a review written by James I. Metz, Oshkosh historian and retired editorial page editor of the Oshkosh Northwestern; a copy of the play is available from the Winnefox Library System (see OCLC #42758729).
  1. Schneider, John D. and Theatre X. “The Line: The 1987-1989 Strike at the Patrick Cudahy Meat Packing Company”. Milwaukee, Wis.: Theatre X; 1996. 103 leaves . Notes: A play; a copy of the play is available from the Milwaukee County Federated Library System (see OCLC #35817513).