Barbie doll

Barbie and the Problem of Corporate Power

Stars of the movie about an iconic Mattel toy are on strike. Both the company’s history and Barbie’s plot illuminate how powerful corporations really are.
Dilapidated traffic sign reading "School Bus Stop Ahead."

Child Labor In America Is Back In A Big Way

The historical record says we shouldn’t be surprised.
Nineteenth century nuclear family.

How Government Helped Create the “Traditional” Family

Since the mid-nineteenth century, many labor regulations in the US have been crafted with the express purpose of strengthening the male-breadwinner family.
Elon Musk celebrating with both hands in the air.

Elon Musk’s Utopian Town Will Disappoint — Like Most Company Towns

America’s utopian communities have traditionally promoted egalitarianism and alternatives to capitalism. Company towns do the opposite.
A poster made by Ghazal Foroutan showing solidarity with the women of Iran

Was She Really Rosie?

The unlikely, true story of the Westinghouse “We Can Do It” work-incentive poster that became an international emblem of women’s empowerment.
A Foxconn factory in San Jeronimo, Chihuahua state, Mexico, as seen from Santa Teresa, N.M.

History Shows Moving Manufacturing to North America Isn’t a Cure-all

The initial promise of Mexican factories in the 1960s gave way to impoverished communities and capital flight in search of higher profits.

The Fight for the Sabbath

The partnership between rabbis and labor that delivered the two-day weekend.
A phot taken by Corkey Lee of an Asian woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty in front of a diamond store with a Statue of Liberty mural.

Corky Lee and the Work of Seeing

Lee's life and work suggested that Asian American identity did not possess—and did not need—any underlying reality beyond solidarity.
Photograph of author Mike Davis.

Mike Davis Revisits His 1986 Labor History Classic, Prisoners of the American Dream

The late socialist writer's first book was a deep exploration of how the US labor movement became so weakened.
Photo of Theresa Malkiel

The Forgotten Woman Behind International Women’s Day

Theresa Malkiel fled persecution in Russia and ended up in a New York sweatshop.
FDR signing bill

That Time America Almost Had a 30-Hour Workweek

A six-hour workday could have become the national standard during the Great Depression. Here's the story of why that didn't happen.
Woman's glowing face

“A Revolutionary Beauty Secret!”

On the rise and fall of radium in the beauty industry.
Newsies smoking at Skeeter's Branch.

Lewis Hine, Photographer of the American Working Class

Lewis Hine captured the misery, dignity, and occasional bursts of solidarity within US working-class life in the early twentieth century.
A visualization of the Great Migration depicting individual journeys with lines between cities.

The Great Migration

1915 marked the beginning of the largest domestic migration in American history. Hundreds of thousands of Black Americans began relocating north.

Meatpacking Work Has Become Less Safe. Now it Threatens Our Meat Supply

Protecting the food supply chain means protecting workers.
Cups of coffee on a tray photographed from above to look like pills on a foil sheet.

Capitalism’s Favorite Drug

The dark history of how coffee took over the world.

On One of the Great Unsung Heroes of the American Labor Movement

Emma Tenayuca and the San Antonio Pecan Shellers Strike of 1938.
Workers exit a Koch Foods Inc., plant in Morton, Mississippi, during an ICE raid.

The Poultry Industry Recruited Them. Now ICE Raids Are Devastating Their Communities.

How immigrants established vibrant communities in the rural South over a quarter-century.
People mourning the Triangle Shirtwaist Women

The Fire of a Movement

Ed Ayers visits the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and learns how public outcry inspired safety laws that revolutionized industrial work nationwide.
A broken key with a fist

The Road Not Taken

The shuttering of the GM works in Lordstown will also bury a lost chapter in the fight for workers’ control.