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Jews Among the Wobblies

by Bennett Muraskin THE MOST RADICAL labor union in American history was the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), colloquially known as the Wobblies. Its active years were from 1905 to 1919, with some campaigns extending into the 1920s. Fierce government repression during and after World War I, along with vigilante violence and internal divisions, […]

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Uber Über alles?

On-demand Labor in the Gig Economy by Seth Sandronsky IN AN ECONOMIC policy speech in July 2015, Hillary Clinton, then Democratic front-runner and now the presumptive nominee, introduced many Americans to the new term “gig economy” The phrase, apparently coined in 2009 and used rather interchangeably with terms like “1099 economy” and “on demand economy,” […]

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March 20: Boris Reinstein and the Passaic Weavers

Newspapers reported on this date in 1912 that Boris Reinstein, an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer in Detroit, had taken command of the Passaic, New Jersey strike involving some 10,000 mill workers. Reinstein had fled Russia’s tsarist police in 1901 and settled with his obstetrician wife Anna in Buffalo, where he worked as […]

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December 30: Rose Pesotta and the UAW Sit-Down Strike

The General Motors Sit-Down Strike began in Flint, Michigan on this date in 1936 under the auspices of the newly organized United Auto Workers. By remaining inside the factory rather than picketing outside, striking workers prevented strikebreakers from taking over production. Injunctions were issued, police raids occurred, but the workers, numbering about 2,000, maintained a […]

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December 16: The Bagel Famine

Bagel Bakers Local 338 closed thirty-two out of thirty-four bagel bakeries in a slow-down and strike on this date in 1951, leading to what the New York Times the next day called “a bagel famine” as only two bagel-makers tried to keep up with the city’s weekly demand for 1.2 million bagels. Sales of lox […]

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