Child laborers cleaning fruit.

The Child Labor of Early Capitalism Is Making a Big Comeback in the US

Child labor was common in urban, industrial America for most of the country’s history. Now lawmakers are making concerted efforts to repeal statutes that prohibit it.
Two garment workers picketing in New York City during a 1910 strike.

We've Been Fighting Fast Fashion Since the Industrial Revolution

From the Triangle Factory Fire to Shein, fast fashion can’t escape ethical quandaries.
Vintage drawing of a man attempting to hypnotize a crowd of people, sitting in chairs.
partner

Mesmerizing Labor

The man who introduced mesmerism to the US was a slave-owner from Guadeloupe, where planters were experimenting with “magnetizing” their enslaved people.
Industry at Night, by Horatio C. Forjohn, 1940.

Weary of Work

When factories created a population of tired workers, a new frontier in fatigue studies was born.
A car being made in a car factory

Talking About Auto Work Means Talking About Constant, Brutal Violence

It's remembered as one of the best industrial jobs a worker could get in postwar America. Less remembered is how brutal life on the factory floor was – and still is.
Picket line march of auto workers.

Detroit Autoworkers’ Elusive Postwar Boom

The men who made the cars could not afford to buy them.

Factory Made

A history of modernity as a history of factories struggles to see beyond their walls.

How Poor, Mostly Jewish Immigrants Organized 20,000 and Fought for Workers Rights

These women came ready to fight.
The Miss Portland diner.
partner

The Making of the American Diner

Today's diners would surprise a 1940s patron. These restaurants were once vulgar boy’s clubs before becoming today's family-friendly establishments.

How Andrew Carnegie's Genius and Blue-Collar Grit Made Pittsburgh the Steel City

A third-generation mill worker pays homage to the controversial industrialist.
Blue and yellow photo of a woman holding up a sign with the word "Union" on it

Unspooling Norma Rae

The story of Norma Rae, based on the union organizer Crystal Lee Sutton.
Uncle Sam sleeping on the job, avoiding looking at x-rays of damaged lungs.

Asbestos Is Finally Banned in the U.S. Here’s Why It Took So Long.

The carcinogenic effects of asbestos have been known for decades. We should have banned it long ago.
The cover of "Beyond Norma Rae" by Aimee Loiselle

Who Makes the American Working Class: Women Workers and Culture

Female industrial workers across the country and from diverse racial backgrounds fought to tell their own stories.
A group of Transappalachain migrant workers in Department 312 of the Anderson Delco-Remy plant pose for a photograph in February 1953.

On the New Book, "Hillbilly Highway"

Recovering the long-overlooked significance of the “hillbilly highway” in the US, with implications for labor history as well as US history broadly.
Display selling nuts

“Girls, We Can’t Lose!”: In 1930s St Louis, Black Women Workers Went on Strike and Won

During the Great Depression, St. Louis's Funsten Nut Factory was racially divided. But Black workers went on strike — and got their white coworkers to join them.
Employees working at desks in post office

Guaranteed Income? 14th Grade? Before AI, Tech Fears Drove Bold Ideas.

Three-quarters of a century before artificial intelligence concerns, rapid advances in automation prompted panic about mass unemployment—and radical solutions.
African American factory worker assembling an automobile engine.

How the UAW Broke Ford’s Stranglehold Over Black Detroit

The UAW's patient organizing cemented an alliance that would bear fruit for decades.
Crowd holding shirts with names of Triangle Fire victims

A Memorial Restores Humanity To The 146 Ghosts of the Triangle Fire

Over a century after one of New York City’s deadliest industrial accidents, the names of its victims, most of them women, are being enshrined in steel.

Eight and Skate

The age of optimism that lasted in the US from the 1940s to the 1970s looked, basically, like a car.
Poster of Kate Mullaney holding an iron in a fist above her head, with the words "Don't iron while the strike is hot."

Reopened Museum Honors Women's Fight for Fairness

Kate Mullany's former home in Troy, New York honors one of the earliest women's labor unions that sought fair pay and safe working conditions.