Watch

User menu

Search form

"Strength In Union": The Labor Movement Will Be Televised

"Strength In Union": The Labor Movement Will Be Televised
Wed, 8/14/2013 - by Candice Bernd
This article originally appeared on Truthout

A new made-for-television documentary series aims to unpack the history of the labor movement in the United States in five one-hour episodes to combat anti-union propaganda at a time when union power is waning and collective-bargaining rights are under attack across the nation.

Legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger will help narrate the new series "Strength in Union," which tackles the history of the U.S. labor movement from its origins in the early Industrial Revolution to its historic struggles in incidents ranging from the battle with the Pinkertons, the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory strike and fire, the Taft-Hartley Act, Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers in the '80s, and on to some of today's most important labor issues, including free-trade agreements and the effects of globalization on American unions.

"[Labor] is both in a time of crisis and in a time of rebirth, and I think most of the important labor leaders realize that and they're really looking for new ways to move into the future and new ways to deal with changes like globalization," says the series' director, Caesar Pink.

Pink grew up in a small, rural town in central Pennsylvania where the steel-mill was one of the primary employers and most of the jobs were union. But as wages began to stagnate and the factories closed down, people began to see little hope for a better future. An array of social problems like alcoholism and domestic abuse flooded the town.

Caesar says that right-wing propaganda has turned many people in his town anti-union. His interests in how labor relations and media propaganda affected his hometown are part of what originally motivated him to work on the "Strength in Union" project.

The series will feature interviews with labor leaders such as Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steel Workers; Lawrence Hanley, president of the American Transportation Workers; Cliff Guffey, president of the American Postal Workers Union; and Daniel Walkowitz, author and New York University labor historian.

The series also hopes to weave in intersecting issues like race relations, women's rights and the ups and downs of the U.S. economy throughout its examination of the history of the U.S. labor movement. The series will also look at the larger forces and motives behind anti-union campaigns of the past as well as the present.

"We hope that the film will make people see what a heroic role union members played throughout American history in giving us the things we take for granted, whether it's safety on the job, wages, weekends, all of those things," Pink said.

"Strength in Union" also will tackle the future of the labor movement by researching the off-shoring and outsourcing of jobs and how that issue has played a role in the decline of today's labor unions as well as new possible paths for unions in an expanding and changing world.

The series is being produced by the Arete Living Arts Foundation and likely will air on PBS after post-production wraps up. Shooting is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

"I hope this will kind of push back against the right-wing propaganda that's really affecting people, especially in rural areas of America," Pink said.

 

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

manosphere, incels, misogyny, black men, black women, racism, sexism, Black Manosphere

In response to the racism often targeted exclusively toward black men on majority white digital spaces, black males have created their own manosphere – where they rail against black women.

Act Out! [187] - How Police Are A Public Health Issue + Extinction Rebellion’s Move To Save Humanity

First up, Policing is a public health issue. Next, Extinction Rebellion wants to save humanity. Here's how they're going about it.

#MeToo, #MeTooIndia, male abusers, misogny, women coming forward, naming accusers, Indian feminist movement, Indian sex abusers, sexual abuse

It may have taken a full year for the #MeToo movement to reach India, but the storm has hit – and loudly.

Restoring Internet Freedom Order, FCC rules, net neutrality, Internet freedom, fast line, Big Telecom, telecommunications industry, Ajit Pai

Access matters, and unequal access can have onerous consequences for those who can’t afford the fast lane.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Medioimages/Photodisc/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

By doing away with single-family zoning, the city takes on high rent, long commutes, and racism in real estate in one fell swoop.

Brexit, Brexit opposition, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, no-deal Brexit

“This historic defeat will show that the government is deadlocked – and we now need to throw this back to the people and give them a final say," said Paul Butters of Best for Britain.

Protesters on Sunday in Katowice, which is hosting the UN climate conference. Photograph: Sadak Souici/Le Pictorium/Barcroft Images

The move shocked delegates at a UN conference in Poland as ministers flew in for the final week of climate talks.

rising emissions, climate catastrophe, Global Carbon Project, climate impacts, carbon emissions, carbon cuts

According to a new Global Carbon Project report, emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts that are urgently needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

manosphere, incels, misogyny, black men, black women, racism, sexism, Black Manosphere

In response to the racism often targeted exclusively toward black men on majority white digital spaces, black males have created their own manosphere – where they rail against black women.

Posted 5 days 3 hours ago
#MeToo, #MeTooIndia, male abusers, misogny, women coming forward, naming accusers, Indian feminist movement, Indian sex abusers, sexual abuse

It may have taken a full year for the #MeToo movement to reach India, but the storm has hit – and loudly.

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago
Act Out! [187] - How Police Are A Public Health Issue + Extinction Rebellion’s Move To Save Humanity

First up, Policing is a public health issue. Next, Extinction Rebellion wants to save humanity. Here's how they're going about it.

Posted 5 days 16 hours ago
Minds, anti-Facebook, crypto social network, surveillance programs, social media addiction

Now is the time to defend the remnants of the Information Revolution. Take off the corporate gag, close the social media surveillance blinds, and shift.

Posted 5 days 3 hours ago
Yanis Varoufakis, Jane Sanders, Bernie Sanders, Sanders Institute, Progressive International, global left, populist movements, rising authoritarianism

"Our Progressive International will reclaim our communities, our cities, our countries, and our planet with a bold International New Deal that we will work, together, to deliver."

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago
manosphere, incels, misogyny, black men, black women, racism, sexism, Black Manosphere

In response to the racism often targeted exclusively toward black men on majority white digital spaces, black males have created their own manosphere – where they rail against black women.

Minds, anti-Facebook, crypto social network, surveillance programs, social media addiction

Now is the time to defend the remnants of the Information Revolution. Take off the corporate gag, close the social media surveillance blinds, and shift.

Yanis Varoufakis, Jane Sanders, Bernie Sanders, Sanders Institute, Progressive International, global left, populist movements, rising authoritarianism

"Our Progressive International will reclaim our communities, our cities, our countries, and our planet with a bold International New Deal that we will work, together, to deliver."

#MeToo, #MeTooIndia, male abusers, misogny, women coming forward, naming accusers, Indian feminist movement, Indian sex abusers, sexual abuse

It may have taken a full year for the #MeToo movement to reach India, but the storm has hit – and loudly.

Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP, Wisconsin protests

Michigan’s Republican-led legislature is also trying to disempower the state’s newly-elected Democratic governor.