Channel Esther: Bobst XX (The End – For Now)

by Esther Cohen To read previous installments, search “BOBST” in our search box, or click here. Dear Jewish Currents Readers, Last week’s Bobst installment was the story’s secret ending, for now. Here’s another one, a wrap-up. What happens next will be another story. Esther Cohen RIVKA CAME to America. Like many, she found herself in the […]

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Channel Esther: BOBST, a Serial Novel, Part XVI

by Esther Cohen To read earlier installments, search “Bobst” in search engine at right.   ON A COLD October night, more winter than fall, windy and dark by 6 o’clock, the women met in Clara’s Aunt Thea’s apartment, bigger than some, on the corner of Rivington and Essex. The year was 1909. The boroughs had become one consolidated city only […]

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Channel Esther: BOBST, a Serial Novel, Part XIII

by Esther Cohen To read earlier installments, search “BOBST” at right.   Uncle Label takes his young niece Rivka to see people in New York.    “COME,” LABEL SHOUTED. “Come with me.” He grabbed Rivka’s small thin hand, her white hand that was so much a girl’s, a hand that had hardly been touched. Her instinct was to […]

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The Fight for Labor in the Public Sector

LESSONS FROM AN ENDURING LOCAL, SSEU 371 by Alexander Bernhardt Bloom From the Spring 2017 issue of Jewish Currents THE PHONES rarely stopped ringing in the wing of the union’s headquarters assigned to Grievances. This was a good place for me to begin, explained Shirley. Here I’d get to know the members and their work through their […]

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Channel Esther: Books, Bread, and Roses

by Esther Cohen IN THE LATE 1970s and early ’80s when life was younger when my life was younger when the world I lived in was a very bright orange I ended up working for an unlikely man, a Protestant minister, high-minded, theologically versed, the kind of man who led Marches and gave speeches you wanted to write […]

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Live Nude Girls Unite!

The Lusty Lady strip club in San Francisco unionized on this date in 1996, with the peep-show dancers voting 57-15 to join SEIU Local 90, following a strike and a lock-out. One of the strippers, Julia Query, a Jewish woman, made a documentary film (with Vicky Funari) in 2000, Live Nude Girls Unite!, which told the story […]

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STAT$: “A Better Deal for American Workers” — Not Without Unions

by Allan Lichtenstein   AT THE TUFTS Medical Center in Boston, 1,200 nurses recently walked off the job, initiating “the largest nurses’ strike in Massachusetts’s history and the first in Boston for 31 years.” In New York, lawyers representing farmworkers recently argued in the State Supreme Court that they have a constitutional right to organize. In […]

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Why Berkman Shot Frick

Nine steelworkers and at least one Pinkerton guard were killed in battles that raged on this date in 1892 at Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead Steel Works in Pittsburgh. The Pinkertons had been brought in to protect scabs imported to replace striking workers; the conflict involved guns and a homemade cannon forged by the strikers. The strike would last for months until the courts crushed the […]

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Harry Kelber, a Forgotten Labor Activist

by Bennett Muraskin HARRY KELBER (1914-2013) was a union organizer, journalist, publisher, educator, and dissident who capped his career by writing an autobiography, My Seventy Years as a Labor Activist. Yes, seventy years! His career included union activism and developing the first labor studies program at Cornell University, a program that eventually evolved into Empire […]

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March 21: Elliot Gant and the Button-Down Shirt

Elliot Gant (Gantmacher), who with his brother Martin and father Bernard perfected the button-down shirt, added a hook to its back for hanging, and turned it into an “Ivy League” fashion staple, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1926. Their father was a tailor who specialized in collars, his mother a seamstress who […]

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