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General Membership Meetings

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 1700. Meetings are held at Union Office Building 220 (address is 601 West D. Avenue, Eglin AFB). Meetings last no more then one hour. Pizzas, subs, and BBQ are among the many different items served at each and every meeting. Call AFGE 1897 at 882-5714 or 678-5713 for further information.



Current News


AFGE in Action

AFGE is fighting for the jobs and future of federal employees. Here is AFGE's News Releases website;



AFGE Local 1897


Why Join? and How to Join AFGE Local 1897.

Clink on this Link "WHY AND HOW TO JOIN" to learn more.




Learning Center



Use the following "learning links" to brush up on your investigation skills, learn about your legal rights as a union representative, get tips for negotiating with management, find out about resources for drafting contract language or filing a ULP, check out media outlets to promote your Local, download a cartoon for your union newsletter, or find a good book, song or movie that takes you back to labor's roots. Find the link your looking for by clicking on the resource area that best matches your interest.

Education and Training
Representing Members
Negotiating with Management
Worker's Rights Under Federal Employment Law
Women's Rights and Fair Practices
Lobbying Congress
Member Only Benefits
Running the Local
Communications and Media
Organizing and Grass Roots Mobilization
Understanding the Global Economy
Labor History Links
Labor Arts
Good Reading on Labor History
New Titles
Videos and DVDs

Don't forget to check out the Trainers page for more tools you can use



Education and Training

Get information on on-line, classroom, and university training in labor studies.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Resource Center
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National Labor College

The first accredited institute of higher learning for working men and women. Includes a variety of continuing education classes as well as programs leading to a B.A. in Labor Studies and an M.A. in Public Administration and Organizational Development.

Education for Changing Unions

By Bev Burke/Jojo Geronimo/D'Arcy Martin/BarbThomas/Carol Wall. One-third labor education tool kit, one-third autobiography, and one-third reflective conversation on the craft of union education, this book engages the reader in a thoughtful exploration of designing and delivering education for transformation.

American Labor Studies Center

The American Labor Studies Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to collect, evaluate, and create labor history and labor studies curricula and related materials to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers nationwide.

United Association of Labor Education (UALE)
An organization of labor educators who teach in labor unions and in community colleges and universities around the country. This site will link you to labor studies programs in your area as well as other labor education resources to strengthen your union leadership role.



Representing Members

From union steward to union president, the following resources will help you troubleshoot workplace problems, investigate grievances, and take advantage of online training in basic representation.


AFGE Stewards Seminar Workbook
Hands-on workbook that familiarizes local union stewards with their various roles in communicating with members, handling a grievance, representing members in formal meetings, and the art of investigation.

Online Stewards Introductory Course
Learn the crucial fundamentals of being a steward -- quickly and easily -- with the new, eight-part online (or on CD) training course from UCS. Interactive Scenario Simulators and Skills Checks put you in real-life situations to solve real-life problems.

AFGE CaseTrack
A web-based grievance tracking system application that allows AFGE Local Presidents to access up-to-the-minute reports and case information at any time. Local Presidents can register by clicking above.

Steward's Update
Published by Union Communications Services, the Update distributes steward advice, labor news, graphics and books that help progressive union leaders rally their members and build their unions.

The Union Steward's Complete Guide
Edited by David Prosten.
A survival manual for union stewards and union representatives from the publishers of Steward Update Newsletter

The Legal Rights of Union Stewards
by union attorney Robert M. Schwartz is the most popular legal manual in use today by U.S. labor unions. It explains rules that apply to grievance investigations, employer information requests, Weingarten Rights, fair representation duties, midterm bargaining rights, and other important labor law topics.




Negotiating with Management

What follows are tools to assist you in contract negotiations, mid-term bargaining, representing members before an arbitrator or before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and in interviews with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

AFGE Collective Bargaining Manual
This manual is a how-to guide for locals and bargaining councils in bargaining labor agreements more efficiently while maximizing member participation.

AFGE Contract Terms Handbook
Provides guidance and model contract language to AFGE locals and councils concerning the terms they negotiate into their labor agreements.

AFGE Rep Wing
A publication by the AFGE Communications and Field Services Departments for all federal and DC government bargaining unit employees that presents news, tips and resources on representation and arbitration.

Administrative Research and Writing
A guide on legal research and writing legal briefs.

Discovery in Merit Systems Protection Board Proceedings
Includes guidelines and examples of discovery in merit systems protection board proceedings.

AFGE Guide to Office of Inspector General Interviews
WARNING: This guide is intended to provide general information on Office of Inspector General [OIG] interviews. This document is not a substitute for individualized legal advice.

AFGE A-76 Handbook
This Guide focuses mainly on the contracting-out rules contained in a government policy document called Circular No. A-76, as revised on May 29, 2003 ("the Circular") and provides a step-by-step on keeping federal jobs.




Workers' Rights Under Federal Employment Law

Under federal labor relations law, a grievance is any violation of the contract OR federal law. This section provides information on employee rights and responsibilities under federal law in the following areas: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and workers compensation.

The FMLA Handbook
By Robert M. Schwartz
. A practical guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 for union members and stewards.

Fair Labor Standards Manual
This manual provides a working overview and practical guide to investigating, evaluating, and arbitrating overtime pay claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Worker's Compensation Booklet
This booklet is a concise explanation of what to do when you are injured at work or become ill as a result of your work. It is meant to help you understand the system and how it works, as well as your rights and responsibilities.

The Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act
A worker friendly guide to understanding federal employees rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and its application in the federal and DC government workplace.

Working w/AFGE to Fight for the Rights of Disabled Employees
Describes and explains the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring Federal agencies to reasonably accommodate the needs of qualified employees with a handicapping condition.



Women's Rights and Fair Practices

Publications from the AFGE Women's and Fair Practices Department which discuss EEO and EEO cases, EEO news from around the Union, and specific issues such as sexual harassment.

The Equalizer
Newsletter produced by the AFGE Women's and Fair Practices Departments that provides up to date information on EEOC reorganization and other policy changes, EEO advocacy and current trends in EEO representation.

Equal Opportunity and Diversity Policy of AFGE
Adopted by the NEC in 2001, this policy affirms the Union's commitment to creating and maintaining a community within AFGE where all people are treated fairly and equitably with dignity, decency and respect.

EEO Workbook - Fighting Discrimination in the Federal Government
A guide for AFGE representatives on fighting discrimination in the federal government.

Women/Fair Practices Coordinator Guide
This manual describes the role and duties of local and district women's and fair practices coordinators, outlines the Human Rights Committee structure within AFGE, and describes the EEO representation process.

Stop Sexual Harassment Before It Stops You
A Guide for AFGE Members and Representatives


Lobbying Congress

AFGE members negotiate with Congress every day, over budget monies for our agencies, job pay rates, health care, and pensions. The following sites will assist local leaders in getting involved in legislative and grass roots of political action.

AFGE Capitol Report is a bimonthly publication of AFGE's Communications and Legislative Departments which provides news updates on legislative issues affecting government employees and briefs members on AFGE lobbying efforts.

The AFGE Legislative Action Center is for AFGE activists interested in up-to-date information on important legislation, AFGE lobbying efforts, and political action. On this central site you can access information on your Congressional representatives, pull up specific legislative bills, and learn the basics about operating on Capital Hill. You must be a member of AFGE to access this site.

The AFL-CIO Legislative Alert provides legislative updates and alerts, fact sheets and background information on state legislation for state activists and legislators and the Working Families Toolkit which provides legislative and election-related resources for activists and union leaders.

How to Defend Your Jobs From Congressional Cutbacks
The guide is intended to help local leaders and their union members lobby aggressively on behalf of federal and DC government employees on their own behalf.

The Hatch Act
Provides information on the legal rights of federal and DC government employees in engaging in political election campaigns, what government workers can and cannot do under the law. Distinguishes between a political campaign and legislative action.

Slide Show on Privatization of Government Jobs
This slideshow illustrates the threat of privatization on federal workers' jobs. As it stands today, hundreds of thousands of federal employee jobs could be lost through A-76 privatization efforts.


Member Only Benefits

There are a significant number of benefits available only to AFGE members including dental insurance, college financial aid, scholarships, home mortgages, auto loans, and discounts on entertainment and computers. For more information on member only benefits, log on to the AFGE website,, and click on the "Members Only" navigation bar.



Running the Local

Day-to-day union administration includes financial, legal and administrative responsibilities as well as learning how to conduct meetings, work as a team with the Local's E-Board, conduct union elections and deal with internal union conflict.

Election Manual

This manual assists AFGE locals in conducting fair and proper elections. Focuses primarily on manual ballot elections at membership meetings. However, most of these steps also are applicable to mail ballot elections

Committee Of Investigation Guidelines and Procedures Manual

(Updated April 2004) This guide explains AFGE's disciplinary procedures, the operation of the committee, and your responsibilities as a member of the committee.

Hearing Manual for Internal Disciplinary Trials

Disciplinary actions should be undertaken only as a last resort, and only after the concerned members have made an honest effort to resolve their differences. When other means have failed, this manual is designed to assist each person involved in a disciplinary action.

How to Run a Local Meeting

This handbook is designed to help local leaders obtain a knowledge of democratic meeting procedures and to suggest some ideas for increasing membership interest, participation and attendance at union meetings.

Local Officers Resource Guide
This guide includes resources designed to help AFGE Local Presidents educate and lead the local union. It contains information on the roles and responsibilities of local union officers as well as useful tools for helping develop union activists and mentor them in their union work.

AFGE National Constitution
The AFGE National Constitution and Rules as adopted in August 2003.

Best Practices: AFGE Handbook
AFGE local leaders share their success stories in organizing, political action, and representation.

Trusteeship Hearing Manual
Putting a Local Union into trusteeship means suspending the local union's autonomy in financial and other constitutional manner. The process involves several actors including the union and the national federation. This manual is designed for the use of all parties: the mediator or arbitrator, the members of the hearing panel, the Federation representative, the affiliate's officers or representatives, and witnesses.

AFGE Financial Officers Resources
A listing of DOL sample forms and budgets with step-by-step directions on how to develop and maintain a sound financial practice within the local including utilizing My Local, a web-based financial reporting system.



Communications and Media

Need help designing a website, or newsletter for your local? Looking for a way to get your message out to the media? The following resources will assist you.

AFGE News Publications

Click on this site for immediate access to the variety of publications issued by your union: The Equalizer, Government Standard, Rep Wing, Capitol Report, etc.

An Activist's Guide to the Media

This brochure discusses some common media relations tactics successful advocates use to get the word out through the news media about their cause.

SPIN Project

The SPIN Project is for organizations working to build a fair, just and equitable society that want to be heard in today's crowded media environment.

WIN (Workers Independent News Service)

Producers gather news from labor unions and activists from across the U.S. and packages the material for distribution to more than 12,000 AM and FM radio stations and print publications around the country. WIN also offers media training and assistance to unions and community-based organizations.

The International Labor Communications Association

The professional organization of labor communicators in North America. The ILCA's several hundred members produce publications with a total circulation in the tens of millions.

LaborNet is a global online communications network that promotes a democratic, independent labor movement



Organizing and Grass Roots Mobilization

Find resources to jump start organizing and grass roots mobilization efforts in your local. Includes training, action guides, and classic works on social change.

Midwest Academy

The Academy is one of the nation's oldest and best known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.

Organizing for Social Change: A Manual for Activist in the 1990's

By Kim Bobo, Jackie Kendall, Steve Max.
This manual is for grassroots organizers working for social, political, environmental, and economic change at the local, state, and national level. It has been used by the Midwest Academy to work with over 20,000 grassroots activists in all different fields.

The Highlander Center
The Highlander Center is a residential popular education and research organization in the Great Smoky Mountains, twenty-five miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee. Generations of activists have come to Highlander to learn, teach, and prepare to participate in struggles for justice.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed 20th Edition
By Paulo Freire. This text presents a foundation to Freire's philosophy of critical pedagogy. Freire's philosophy presents an avenue of how common citizens, through self-awareness, can struggle to change the structures of society that have previously served to oppress them.

Teaching for Change: Popular Education and the Labor Movement
Edited by Linda Delp, Miranda Kramer, Sue Schurman, Kent Wong.
This is the first book to capture the stories and experiences of popular educators in the U.S. labor movement including the Highlander Center in Tennessee, the Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles, the National Labor College in Maryland and the Avondale Shipyard workers of Mississippi.

Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals

By Saul Alinksy. This primer tells the "have-nots" how they can organize to achieve real political power for the practice of true democracy.

The Long Haul: An Autobiography

By Myles Horton/Judith and Herbert Kohl.
The story of the Highlander Folk School which, for over 60 years, has touched the lives of so many people, including Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Pete Seeger.

Organizing Guide for Local Unions
By Virginia Diamond
. Published by the AFL-CIO and the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, this is a practical guide on how to set up an organizing committee, target an organizing drive, understand labor law, communications, and organizing for a first contract.

Army Corps of Engineers: Locks and Dams Operations and Mechanics
This AFGE white paper outlines economic and security risks in the Army Corps of Engineers outsourcing plan.




Understanding the Global Economy

Cartoons, essays, and education curricula on the impact of the global economy on working people.

The World Bank: A Tale of Power, Plunder, and Resistance
Alec Dubro and Mike Konopacki. Comic book.

Activist Cookbook: Creative Actions for a Fair Economy
Andrew Boyd. Media stunts, street theater and direct actions from the labor and social justice movements.

WEdGE: Women's Education in the Global Economy
Miriam Ching Louie with Linda Burnham. A Women of Color Resource Center workbook of activities, games, skits, and strategies for learning about the global economy's impact on women's lives and organizing for economic justice.

Organizing In An Uncertain Economy
This slide show explains the cause of recessions and why there is likely to be another downturn in the near future.




Labor History Links

Find photos, timelines, and books about U.S. labor history including resources on AFGE history.

AFGE Highlights

Milestones from the first 70 years of AFGE history.

History Book

A narrative of AFGE history from 1932 to 1995.

70 Years of AFGE History

A photo book of historic front pages of AFGE's publication "Government Standard."

AFL-CIO Labor History Links
The Federation provides numerous labor history links in its section, "Labor History on the Web."

African American Labor History
Great links and resources on struggles and contributions of African-American workers in the U.S., particularly in the public sector.

Women's Labor History
Information on women workers and leaders in U.S. labor history.




Labor Arts

Resources to help you develop creative organizing and mobilizing methods, including labor cartoons, and other visual art, plays, books, and movies.

Labor Arts is a virtual museum; we gather, identify and display images of the cultural artifacts of working people and their organizations. Our mission is to present powerful images that help us understand the past and present lives of working people.

Big Labor
is an action oriented web site sponsored by Union Communications Services. It's one stop searching for labor unions, labor history, member tips, jokes, and union news and cartoons.

Carol Simpson's mission is to put art to work for labor unions & non-profit organizations. "We do labor cartoons because humor is a powerful organizing tool. Our print designs and illustrations use bold concepts to express your ideas. We create websites that organize your content in a user-friendly fashion with strong visual appeal."

Gary Huck and Mike Konopacki
are labor cartoonists who have been producing humorous political cartoons for over 20 years. They have a monthly cartoon subscription service as well as several books from their cartoon collections.
Hard Miles Music is devoted to restoring folk music and art to their rightful status within the labor movement. It contains the recordings of UNITE's very own Whitesville Choir, the premier labor singing group in the country.
The home of Northland Poster Cooperative. Sells T-shirts, posters, note-cards, shop-floor posters, hats and other union-made and pro-union items.
Home of the Labor Heritage Foundation, working to strengthen the labor movement through the use of music and the arts.
The Service Employee International Union's cultural project depicting African -American, Latino, and working women's struggle for equality, justice, civil and labor rights.

Working Class Hero
Gary Huck and Mike Konopacki. 150 cartoons that laugh at power and greed - and encourage us to do likewise.

Murals: The Great Walls of Joliet
Jeff Huebner. Color plates of public murals that honor the industrial and natural history of Joliet, IL. Includes biographical sketches of the artists.

Ralph Fasanella's America
Paul D'Ambrosio. The life and art of Ralph Fasanella by the chief curator of the New York State Historical Association. Filled with images of Fasanella's paintings and sketches.

Wholly Mother Jones
Peter Agnos. A two-act play with music that celebrates the legendary union organizer.

Staging Strikes: Workers' Theatre & the American Labor Movement
Colette Hyman. Comprehensive history of workers' theatre from the 1920s to the present.

No Pets
Jim Ray Daniels. A collection of short stories about working people.

Blue Collar Goodbyes
Sue Doro. Former machinist documents, in poetry, prose & photographs, the human cost of closing the Milwaukee Road Railway.

Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds and Riffraff: an Organized Guide to Films about Labor
Tom Zaniello. Annotated guide to 150 labor-related films.

Pioneering: Poems from the Construction Site
Susan Eisenberg. Poems about women working construction.

We'll Call You If We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction
Susan Eisenberg. Thirty women talk of their experiences working in the building trades.

If I Had a Hammer: Women's Work in Poetry, Fiction & Photographs
Sandra Martz . Anthology describing women's feelings of empowerment in a variety of jobs - from the editor of When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple.

Holding The Line
Barbara Kingsolver. The story of a woman in the Arizona copper mine strike of 1983.




Good Reading on Labor History

All-American Anarchist: Joseph A. Labadie and the Labor Movement
Carlotta R. Anderson. Chronicles the life and work of the prominent Detroit labor leader, anarchist and poet (1850-1933).

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives
Debra E. Bernhardt, Rachel Bernstein. A pictorial history of working people in New York City.

Pit of Infamy
Bill Yund. The illustrated story of the 1909 Pressed Steel Car Company Strike at McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

What Sid Did
Bill Yund. The illustrated story of Sid Hatfield of Matewan. Also includes the Battle of Homestead.

Work & Labor: A History in Story & Song from the Stone Age to the Information Age
Judy Gail. A creative textbook for junior high & high school.

Digger Blues
Jim Ray Daniels. 14 poems about Digger, a middle-aged factory worker.

The Quiet Sickness: a Photographic Chronicle of Hazardous Work in America
25 years of photographs by Earl Dotter . Foreword by Robert Coles.

Singing Back: The 1990s in Song and Narrative
Paul McKenna. Songs, mostly parodies, tell the story of the Oregon Public Employees Union, SEIU Local 503 during the turbulent decade of the Nineties.

Not For Bread Alone
Moe Foner. A Memoir by Moe Foner with a foreword by Ossie Davis.

Labor's Troubadour
Joe Glazer. The LHF founder and Chair recounts his fifty years of musical adventures in labor and politics. Includes lyrics to 70 songs.

Tin Men
Archie Green.An exploration of the art and tradition of tinsmiths.

Calf's Head & Union Tales
Archie Green. Labor folk tales and oral traditions.

Packinghouse Daughter
Cherie Register. Winner of the American Book Award. A unique memoir capturing the lost history of a Midwestern town.

Ballad of an American: the Autobiography of Earl Robinson
Earl Robinson with Eric A. Gordon. Life-and-times story of the composer who wrote the immortal labor song "Joe Hill".

Portraits in Steel
Photographs by Milton Rogovin ; interviews by Michael Frisch. A powerful documentation in images and words of the experiences of a dozen men and women who lost their jobs in the steel mills in Buffalo, NY.

Where Have All the Flowers Gone: a Singer's Stories, Songs, Seeds, Robberies
Pete Seeger. Autobiography.

i, Se Puede! Yes, We Can
Diana Cohn, with illustrations by Francisco Delgado. Bilingual children's story honoring the 8000 L.A. Janitors who went on strike in 2000. For children ages 6-10.

Remembering Cesar: The Legacy of Cesar Chavez
Compiled by Ann McGregor ; edited by Cindy Wathen ; photographs by George Elfie Ballis . 46 firsthand accounts by those who knew Cesar Chavez best with beautiful black and white photographs of the farmworker movement.

Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers
Michael K. Honey.

Black Workers Remember: Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, & Freedom Struggle
Michael K. Honey.




New Titles

Summer Reading: Books for the Beach, the Mountains, or Your Favorite Chair

Here’s a sampling of new book titles for you to check out this summer: Mother Jones, Labor Leader; Generation Debt; Exporting America; Conned; and award wining fiction like Found Fathers, Union Dues, and the Newberry children’s book about the strike for the 8 hour day, Bread and Roses.

Mother Jones Labor Leader
By Connie Colwell Miller
Available August 2006

Union Dues

By John Sayles

The setting is Boston, Fall 1969. Radical groups plot revolution, runaway kids prowl the streets, cops are at their wits end, and work is hard to get, even for hookers. Hobie McNutt, a seventeen year old runaway from West Virginia drifts into a commune of young revolutionaries. It's a warm, dry place, and the girls are very available. But Hobie becomes involved in an increasingly vicious struggle for power in the group, and in the mounting violence of their political actions. His father Hunter, who has been involved in a brave and dangerous campaign to unseat a corrupt union president in the coal miners union, leaves West Virginia to hunt for his runaway son. To make ends meet, he takes day-labor jobs in order to survive while searching for him. Living parallel lives, their destinies ultimately movingly collide in this sprawling classic of radicalism across the generations, in the vein of Pete Hamill, Jimmy Breslin, and Richard Price.

Generation Debt
By Anya Kamenetz

In this thoroughly researched and rousing manifesto, Anya Kamenetz chronicles and questions the plight of the new "youth class": 18 — to 29-year-olds who are drowning in debt and therefore seemingly unable to "grow up." Many older adults perceive today's youth as immature slackers, "twixters," or "boomerang kids," who simply cannot get their act together, but Kamenetz argues that this perception is a misinformed stereotype. How will we get ourselves out of this mess? By analyzing and explaining the causes of this phenomenon, Kamenetz demonstrates the urgent need for people to begin investing in our nation's youth. Generation Debt will get you thinking in new ways about American values — and America's future.


By Sasha Abramsky

More than four million Americans, mainly poor, black, and Latino, have lost the right to vote. In some states, as many as a third of all African American men cannot take part in the most basic right of a democracy. The reason? Felony disenfranchisement laws, which remove the vote from people while they are in prison or on parole, and, in several states, for the rest of their lives. Award-winning journalist Sasha Abramsky takes us on a journey through disenfranchised America, detailing the revival of antidemocratic laws that came of age in the post-Civil War segregationist

Bread and Roses, Too
By Katharine Paterson

Rosas mother is singing again, for the first time since Papa died in an accident in the mills. But instead of filling their cramped tenement apartment with Italian lullabies, Mamma is out on the streets singing union songs, and Rosa is terrified that her mother and older sister, Anna, are endangering their lives by marching against the corrupt mill owners. From a beloved, award-winning author, here is a moving story based on real events surrounding an infamous 1912 strike.

The Mind at Work

By Mike Rose

Society makes sweeping judgments about the intelligence of the "common worker." But consider the lightning-fast calculations required of any waitress; the complex spatial mathematics of the carpenter; the hairdresser’s ability to turn a client’s vague description into a real hairdo. Ditto the skills and brainpower involved in being an electrical worker, a welder and more. In this impassioned and insightful book, Mike Rose reveals the intellectual skills that physical labor requires and assesses the costs – educational, economic and societal – of ignoring them. Combining the latest research in the cognitive and social sciences with the voices of working people, Rose offers a brilliant, original portrait of America at work.
"An eloquent tribute to our working men and women... It knocked me out."

The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences
By Louis Uchitelle

This compelling, highly-readable book traces the rise and fall of job security in the United States and comes away with the conclusion that government must step in with policies that encourage companies to restrict layoffs and generate new jobs. The author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter for the New York Times, makes clear the ways in which layoffs are counterproductive and rarely promote long-term efficiency or profitability. The job losses are ravaging the country and its middle class, he says.

The Known World
By Edward P. Jones

Set in Manchester County, Virginia, 20 years before the Civil War began, Edward P. Jones's debut novel, The Known World, is a masterpiece of overlapping plot lines, time shifts, and heartbreaking details of life under slavery. Impossible to rush through, The Known World is a complex, beautifully written novel with a large cast of characters, rewarding the patient reader with unexpected conn

By Cynthia Kadohata

In Cynthia Kadohata's lively, lovely, funny and sad novel -- winner of the 2005 Newbery Medal -- the Japanese-American Takeshima family moves from Iowa to Georgia in the 1950s when Katie, the narrator, is just in kindergarten. Though her parents endure grueling conditions and impossible hours in the non-unionized poultry plant and hatchery where they work, they somehow manage to create a loving, stable home for their three children: Lynn, Katie, and Sammy. Katie's trust in, and admiration for, her older sister Lynn never falters, even when her sisterly advice doesn't seem to make sense. Lynn teaches her about everything from how the sky, the ocean, and people's eyes are special to the injustice of racial prejudice. Small moments shine the brightest in this poignant story; told beautifully and lyrically in Katie's fresh, honest voice.

Death at the Haymarket
By James Green

The bloody Haymarket riot of May 4, 1886, changed the history of American labor and created a panic among Americans about (often foreign-born) "radicals and reformers" and union activists. The Haymarket demonstration, to protest police brutality during labor unrest in Chicago, remained peaceful until police moved in, whereupon a bomb was thrown by an individual never positively identified, killing seven policemen and wounding 60 others. Labor historian Green (Taking History to Heart) eloquently chronicles all this, producing what will surely be the definitive word on the Haymarket affair for this generation. reserved.

Black Americans and Organized Labor: A New History
By Paul D. Moreno

Paul D. Moreno offers a bold reinterpretation—truly a "new history"—of the role of race and racial discrimination in the American labor movement. Moreno's sweeping reexamination stretches from the antebellum period to the present, integrating relevant biographical details of principal figures such as Frederick Douglass and Samuel Gompers, Isaac Myers and Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. Du Bois and A. Philip Randolph.

January 1905
By Katharine Boling

This novel offers a close look at the harsh realities of life in a mill town during the early 20th century. The story centers on 11-year-old sisters, each envious of the other's "easy" life. Arlene, who was born with a "monster foot," is lonely tending house while Pauline works at the cotton mill with the rest of the family and other children. In alternate chapters, the twins narrate their parallel experiences. The story has a strong message about walking in another person's shoes. When Pauline injures her foot, she learns what it is like for her sister to live with a deformity. Arlene fills in at the mill for the injured boy and finds that there is no end to sweeping and lint. In the end, the girls recognize that their best opportunity for friendship is between themselves.

Orange County Housecleaners
By Frank Cancian

Orange County Housecleaners documents the lives of seven women who make their livings cleaning houses in Orange County, California. Of the seven, five are Latina immigrants and two are Orange County natives. Sara Velazquez came to the United States alone when the youngest of her four children was ten, and found ways to get all of them and her husband from Mexico to Orange County. Sharon Risley earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1990--twenty-six years after a teenage pregnancy destroyed her plans to go from high school to art school. Mimi Lopez was alone on Thanksgiving 1985 when her twin daughters were born in the Miami home where she worked as a nanny. Each chapter combines a woman's life story told in her own words with Frank Cancian's recent photos of her family, work, and other activities.

It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics
By Franscesca Polletta

Activists and politicians have long recognized the power of a good story to move people to action. In early 1960 four black college students sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and refused to leave. Within a month sit-ins spread to thirty cities in seven states. Student participants told stories of impulsive, spontaneous action—this despite all the planning that had gone into the sit-ins. “It was like a fever,” they said. Francesca Polletta’s It Was Like a Fever sets out to account for the power of storytelling in mobilizing political and social movements.

Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassrotts, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
By Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitas Zuniga

Here's what you need to know. Kos and Jerome are lefties who built two of the most interesting communities on the "Internets." Their book isn't about liberal policies; it's about how and why the Democrats and liberals, whose individual policies are preferred by most Americans, nevertheless keep losing elections. The compelling answer has to do much more with a total lack of organization and infrastructure within the party and the movement, than it does with substantive ideology.

Coming On Home Soon

By Jacqueline Woodson, E.B. Lewis

Set during World War II. Ada Ruth waits for the return of her mother, who left home in search of a job. "They're hiring colored women in Chicago since all the men are off fighting in the war." Perfectly matched words and illustrations masterfully bring to life all the emotions that the girl is experiencing as she, her grandmother, and a stray kitten that has come to stay all try to comfort and console one another. …A tender, heartfelt story that will touch readers





Videos and DVDs

Union gatherings and classes with films that humanize workers issues. Films from the U.S., Europe, Central America and Asia that deal with workers compensation, the Memphis Sanitation Strike, Michael Moore, unemployment, politics, technological change and labor history. You may purchase these videos and DVDs at or

9 to 5

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton kidnap their sexist boss and take over the department. (1980, 110 min.) VHS $20 DVD $25

Almost Broken

(Producer: Christine Pietz, 2005, MIN min). This is the story of Larry Nign, a worker who was injured and put through the wringer by the State Compensation Insurance Fund, and fought back.

American Dream

Barbara Kopple's second Academy Award-winning documentary focuses on the 1984 strike at the Hormel processing plant in Austin, Minnesota. (1992, 98 min.) VHS $25

At The River I Stand

Documents the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike and the historical forces which came together with the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. (1994, 58 min.) VHS $49

The Big One

Armed with a camera and a sharp sense of humor, Michael Moore asks why companies are laying off workers while they are reaping huge profits. (1998, 90 min.) $25

Billy Elliot
The heartwarming story of a young boy from a working class family whose newly discovered passion for ballet changes his life. Nominated for 3 Academy Awards. (2000, 111 min.) $25

Brassed Off

British coal miners prepare for the big brass band competition as the government plans to close the pits. Stars Ewan MacGregor and Tara Fitzgerald. (1997, 101 min.) VHS $25

Bread & Roses

(Director: Ken Loach, 2000, 110 min). Maverick British filmmaker Ken Loach personalizes the plight of countless invisible service workers through the struggle of Rosa and her fellow office cleaners to gain dignity and respect on the job. Though the story is fictional, it is based on the real Justice for Janitors campaign by Los Angeles janitors, organized by SEIU, to win recognition and a contract.

Business as Usual

Glenda Jackson and John Thaw star in this story of a union's reaction to sexual harassment in a Liverpool dress shop. (1987, 89 min.) VHS $25

Cradle Will Rock

Tim Robbins wrote and directed this based-on-a-true-story account of political attempts to stop the production of a Federal Theatre Project musical drama in the 1930s. The cast includes Hank Azaria, Joan & John Cusack, Bill Murray, Susan Sarandon. (1999, 134 min.)VHS $15 DVD $30)

Chicken Run

A hilarious story of organizing in the henhouse, brought to life with clay animation. Voices by Mel Gibson and others. (2000, 84 min.) VHS $15 DVD $27

Dreadful Memories: The Life Of Sarah Ogan Gunning

Intersperses Sarah's most affecting songs with rare documentary film clips, photographs, and interviews with friends such as Pete Seeger. (1988, 38 min.) VHS $25

Esperanza Del Barrio

(Filmmaker: Sabina Gonzalez, 2004, 17 min). This short video documents the birth of Esperanza del Barrio, a street vendors' association and community organization in East Harlem (El Barrio). Tired of police harassment and determined to defend themselves, a group of Mexican street vendors founds Esperanza, hoping to organize more vendors and improve the conditions they live and work in.

Eyes On The Fries: Young Workers In The Service Economy

(Filmmakers: Casey Peek & Jeremy Blasi, 2004, 21 min). This film looks beyond the stereotypes of carefree and undeserving youth to uncover a reality that millions of young working people know all too well: no matter how hard you work and how well you do in school, it can be difficult to stay afloat when you're coming of age in a "McJob" economy.

Farenheit 911
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore's searing examination of the Bush administration's actions in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11.
(2004 DVD, $19.99)

Fighting Walmartization
(Filmmaker: Steve Zeltzer, 2005, 26min). A recent proposal to site a Wal-Mart store in Pajaro has local folks pondering the pros and cons.

The Full Monty
In this comedy, six unemployed steel workers make money by putting on their own striptease show. (1997, 95 min.) VHS $20 DVD $15


Gerard Depardieu and Miou-Miou star in this film version of Emile Zola's classic novel about a mining strike. In French with English subtitles. (1994, 158 min.) $25

Grapes of Wrath

Henry Fonda stars in John Ford's Academy Award-winning film about Dust Bowl refugees who lose their farms in Oklahoma & become migrant laborers in California. (1940, 129 min.) VHS

Harlan County USA

Barbara Kopple's Academy Award-winning documentary about a United Mine Workers strike in Kentucky. (1976, 103 min.) VHS $30

Harlan County War

Holly Hunter stars as a coal miner's wife who fights for her community during the Harlan County strike. (2000, 104 min.) VHS $20

How Green Was My Valley
Winner of 5 Academy Awards, Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara and Roddy McDowall star in John Ford's classic about a Welsh mining town. (1941, 118 min.) VHS $25

The Inheritance

Still the greatest! Originally produced by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers in the 1940's this film captures the dramatic story of immigrant workers in search of the American Dream. While focused primarily on the needle trades, this film speaks to the general story of America's working class struggles to organize and win improved wages and working conditions. VHS, B&W, 55 min., Institutional $50.00

It's Hard To Tell The Singer From The Song

Hazel Dickens-interviews, archival footage, recent performances and 16 of her most powerful songs. (2000, 60 min.) VHS $25

Justice In The Coal Fields

The story of the Pittston coal strike.

The Killing Floor

In 1917 a young black man from rural Mississippi comes north to work in a Chicago meat-packing plant and joins the union. (1985, 118 min.) VHS $35

Lewis County: Hope and Struggle

(Filmmaker: Anne Fischel, 2005, 90 min). This film is a work in progress about a community's attempt to come to terms with a suppressed history of labor struggle. In 1919, in the town of Centralia, Washington, members of the American Legion attacked the union hall of the Industrial Workers of the World. 4 Legionnaires were killed in the battle and in its aftermath, an IWW organizer, Nathan Wesley Everest, was tortured and lynched.

Live Nude Girls Unite!

Follows the quest of dancers at the Lusty Lady Club to form the first ever Exotic Dancers Union.
(2000, 72 min.) VHS $25 DVD $30

Made In Thailand

(Directors: Eve-Laure Moros and Linzy Emery, 1999, 33 min). In Thailand, women make up 90 percent of the labor force responsible for garments and toys for export by multinational corporations. This powerful, revealing documentary about women factory workers and their struggle to organize unions exposes the human cost behind the production of everyday items that reach our shores.

Mardi Gras: Made In China

(Producer: David Redmon, 2005, 61 min). This documentary is a story of globalization told through humor and sadness, hope and violence. The owner of a bead factory in China, the largest Mardi Gras bead distributor in the world, gives a brutally honest interview. Carnival revelers who exchange beads during Mardi Gras and four teenage sweatshop workers in China who make Mardi Gras beads each get a glimpse of the others' lives.


John Sayles' movie about the struggles of coal miners in post-World War I West Virginia.
(1987, 130 min.) DVD $25

The Molly Maguires

Sean Connery is the leader of a secret society of militant miners; Richard Harris is the undercover detective working for the coal operators. Directed by Martin Ritt. (1969, 123 min.)


Disney musical based on a 1899 newspaper boys' strike in New York City against Joseph Pulitzer (played by Robert Duvall). (1992, 125 min.) VHS $15 DVD $30

Norma Rae

Sally Field won an Oscar for her performance as a textile worker in the South who organizes a union in her mill. (1979, 113 min.) VHS $20 DVD $25


The story of the 21-day living wage sit-in by Harvard University students on behalf of university service workers. Narrated by Ben Affleck. (2002, 113 min.) VHS $25

One Day Longer
Documentary celebrating the solidarity and courage of the workers at the Frontier Hotel during their extraordinary 6-year strike. (1999, 46 min.) VHS $39

Out of Darkness: the Mine Workers' Story
Directed by Barbara Kopple and Bill Davis with music by Tom Juravich. (1990, 100 min.)

The Proud Valley

Paul Robeson stars as a black stoker who finds work in a Welsh coal-mining town and sings with the local choir. (1940, 77 min.) VHS $25

Roll On Columbia: Woody Guthrie And The Bonneville Power Administration
Documentary about the most prolific moment in Guthrie's extraordinary career, during which he 26 songs in 30 days. (2000, 56 min.) VHS $25

Roger and Me
Michael Moore's humorous documentary about his efforts to interview General Motors Chairman Roger Smith. (1989, 91 min.) VHS $20

Salt of the Earth

Classic 1953 film about a New Mexico miners' strike with most of the roles played by the strikers and their families. (94 min.) VHS $35

Cher and Meryl Streep star in this story of Karen Silkwood, a union member working for safety in her plutonium processing plant. (1983, 134 min.) VHS $20 DVD $15

Stolen Childhoods
(Producer: Len Morris, 2003, 85 min). Meryl Streep narrates this documentary about the plague of child labor that today is robbing 246 million children of their youth. In extraordinary footage of their working conditions, child slaves, bonded laborers and laboring poor children from eight countries (including the US) tell their own stories.

The Take

(Filmmakers: Avi Lewis & Naomi Klein, 2004, 87 min). In the wake of Argentina's spectacular economic collapse in 2001, Latin America's most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. In suburban Buenos Aires, 30 unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave. All they want is to restart the silent machines. But this simple act -- the take -- has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Documentary film about the WTO protests in Seattle with narration by Susan Sarandon and Michael Franti. Music by Rage Against the Machine, Anne Feeney, Company of Prophets and others. (2000, 70 min.) $25

Uprooted: Refugees Of The Global Economy
Story of three immigrants illustrating how the global economy has forced people to leave their home countries. Produced by the National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Music by Jon Fromer and Francisco Herrera. English and bi-lingual versions available. (2002, 28 min.)

Wal-Mart's War On The Workers

(Producer: UFCW, 2002, 15 min). Go behind the closed doors of management's secret meetings and find out the grim reality that Wal-Mart covers up with its smiling face. Intimidation, threats, profiling, surveillance, illegal firings and Orwellian double talk are integral parts of a corporate-wide culture and continuous campaign to crush worker organizing efforts according to Wal-Mart managers and workers interviewed in this film.

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