The library will be closed Monday, May 27th, for Memorial Day

Memorial Hall Library

MHL Will Be Closed 9/2-9/4 for Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day is an opportunity to honor the men, women and children whose hard work has paid off in the form of a 40-hour work week, a standard 9 to 5 workday, protective child labor laws and many other benefits we tend to take for granted. MHL will be closed Saturday, 9/2, Sunday 9/3, and Monday 9/4 in observance of Labor Day, but here are some books you can check out before we close for the holiday weekend!

Every day that people are working, labor history is still being made. Just this summer, UPS drivers won the right to drive trucks with air conditioning. All summer long, Screen Actors Guild members around the country have been on the picket lines fighting for their fair share of residuals from streaming platforms and other sources of revenue that flow disproportionately away from the writers and actors and to the executive suite. New technologies, new types of work, new climate challenges, expanded access for previously marginalized groups and an ever-evolving global marketplace all mean that the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers are continuously reconsidered through direct action, laws and corporate policies. The history of the American workplace is a rich and varying story. The companies, organizations, labor leaders and politicians who brought the American economy to where we are today is a riveting cast that lays claim to significantly changing the course of history at hundreds of junctures in time. Take a look at the books and films from our MHL collections that highlight some of the most impactful issues and events in the life of the American workforce. Did we forget a good one? Let us know what you think. Email us!

Fight like hell : the untold history of American labor
Fight like hell : the untold history of American labor
by Kim Kelly

This history of the labor movement examines the workers and organizers who risked their livelihoods to fight for fair wages, better working conditions and an eight-hour workday.
Moving the needle : what tight labor markets do for the poor
Moving the needle : what tight labor markets do for the poor
by Katherine S. Newman

Moving the Needle examines what happens when conditions favorable to workers create market pressures that boost wages at the bottom, improve benefits, pull the unemployed from the sidelines to the center of a burgeoning job market, lengthen job ladders, and dampen credentialism. Utilizing 79 years of quantitative and historical data, as well as fieldwork among employers, jobseekers, and long-time residents of poor neighborhoods, this book explores how profoundly positive tight labor markets are for labor and recommends policies that would keep that momentum moving when the conditions that spur it forward no longer hold.
Newsies
Newsies

The film version of the 1992 musical drama. In turn of the century New York, the boys who distribute newspapers, known as Newsies, organize to challenge an unscrupulous newspaper publisher.
Matewan
Matewan

Dramatized version of the battles which took place in the coal fields of West Virginia in the 1920s when the union and the coal companies were at odds
Going down Jericho Road : the Memphis strike, Martin Luther King's last campaign
Going down Jericho Road : the Memphis strike, Martin Luther King's last campaign
by Michael K. Honey

Provides an in-depth history of the final crusade of Martin Luther King, Jr., against the economic injustices, racism, and lack of political power that marked 1968 Memphis and transformed the city into a struggle between the white upper crust that sought to prevent change and the black workers, activists, unionists, and black-power advocates that sought to bring about equality.
Equal partners : improving gender equality at home
Equal partners : improving gender equality at home
by Kate Mangino

A gender expert and professional facilitator presents a practical guide for readers and their partners to help foster gender equality in their homes in the wake the upheaval of COVID. 
North country
North country

After enduring relentless abuse from co-workers, a woman sues the mining company, wins and makes legal history.
Murder in the garment district : the grip of organized crime and the decline of labor in the United States
Murder in the garment district : the grip of organized crime and the decline of labor in the United States
by David Scott Witwer

Deeply researched and grounded in street-level events, this gripping true account of racketeering and union corruption in mid-century New York is told through the lens of the murder of a union organizer at the hands of a mob assassin.
Bread & roses
Bread & roses

This film retells the Justice for Janitors labor movement of the 1990s, with a special focus being given to undocumented and/or female workers especially. The title also pays tribute to the Lawrence Textile Strike or the “Bread and Roses” Strike with the title, highlighting that workers should be paid enough not only to survive, but to thrive and enjoy life.
Working : people talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do
Working : people talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do
by Studs Terkel

This book is a classic oral history of Americans’ working lives—and the inspiration for Barack Obama’s new Netflix series about work in the twenty-first century. In WorkingMen and women representing a variety of occupations, describe the daily routine of their jobs and express their grievances, aims, and dreams.
Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America
Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich

Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job--any job--can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. 
American made : what happens to people when work disappears
American made : what happens to people when work disappears
by Farah Stockman

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist tells the story of three workers who lost their jobs when a factory in Indianapolis shut down and details the devastating effects of that loss on the community.
A history of America in ten strikes
A history of America in ten strikes
by Erik Loomis

Presents a timely account of 10 moments in history when labor challenged the very nature of power in America. 
Head, hand, heart : why intelligence is over-rewarded, manual workers matter, and caregivers deserve more respect
Head, hand, heart : why intelligence is over-rewarded, manual workers matter, and caregivers deserve more respect
by David Goodhart

A leading political analyst looks at the imbalanced distribution of status and work in Western societies and how it devalues qualities such as character, compassion, craft and physical labor in favor of intellectual endeavors. 
Bread and roses : mills, migrants, and the struggle for the American dream
Bread and roses : mills, migrants, and the struggle for the American dream
by Bruce Watson

An account of the 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, draws on newspaper accounts, magazine reportage, and oral histories to identify the strike's key figures and events, from the walkout of 23,000 workers to the evacuations of their children to Manhattan. 
The edge of anarchy : the railroad barons, the Gilded Age, and the greatest labor uprising in America
The edge of anarchy : the railroad barons, the Gilded Age, and the greatest labor uprising in America
by Jack Kelly

The award-winning author of Band of Giants chronicles the widespread railroad labor uprisings of 1894, sharing insights into the issues that shaped the disputes, including the rivalry between model town developer George Pullman and industrial union founder Eugene Debs.
Beaten down, worked up : the past, present, and future of American labor
Beaten down, worked up : the past, present, and future of American labor
by Steven Greenhouse

The award-winning labor correspondent and author of The Big Squeeze examines the income inequalities and declining social mobility endured by today's workers, contrasting decades of worker power reductions against the increases of political and economic control by the wealthy.
The great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912 : new scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike
The great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912 : new scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike
by Robert Forrant

"In Lawrence, Massachusetts, fully one-half of the population 14 years of age or over is employed in the woolen and worsted mills and cotton mills". Thus begins the federal government's Report on Strike of Textile Workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912 . This book follows up, one hundred years later. The story's retelling offers readers an exciting reexamination of just how powerful a united working class can be.
Pride 
Pride 

When a group of gay and lesbian activists begin to raise money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984, they initially face resistance but when they give their donations directly to a small village in Wales, a surprising alliance forms.
Blood runs coal : the Yablonski murders and the battle for the United Mine Workers of America
Blood runs coal : the Yablonski murders and the battle for the United Mine Workers of America
by Mark A. Bradley

Documents the 1969 assassination of the Yablonski family amid a campaign to oust the corrupt president of the UMWA, in a timely account that reflects the violent labor movements, industrial transformations and socioeconomic realities of fossil-fuel dependency.
Made in Dagenham
Made in Dagenham

Dramatizes the story of Rita O'Grady who became the leader of a strike by the women of the Ford plant in Dagenham, England for pay equal to their male counterparts
A collective bargain : unions, organizing, and the fight for democracy
A collective bargain : unions, organizing, and the fight for democracy
by Jane McAlevey

From longtime labor organizer Jane McAlevey, a vital call-to-arms in favor of unions, the only force capable of defending our democracy.
Essential Labor : Mothering As Social Change
Essential Labor : Mothering As Social Change
by Angela Garbes

The acclaimed author of Like a Mother returns with an investigation into the current state of caregiving in America and how motherhood can help spearhead change and create a more equitable society. 
Norma Rae /
Norma Rae /

Grinding out her life in a small Southern town as a worker in a non-union textile shop, Norma Rae joins forces with a New York labor organizer to unionize the mill.
Roger & me
Roger & me

Michael Moore is a hometown hero who tries to get to the man at the top, General Motors Chairman Roger Smith, to visit Flint, Michigan and do something about the hard times that have come there.
Made in China : a memoir of love and labor
Made in China : a memoir of love and labor
by Anna Qu

Taking us on a journey from Wenzhou to Xi'an to New York, a Chinese American writer presents this powerful debut memoir in which she, forced to work in a Queens sweatshop, calls child services on her mother– an act with consequences that impact the rest of her life.
Collision course : Ronald Reagan, the air traffic controllers, and the strike that changed America
Collision course : Ronald Reagan, the air traffic controllers, and the strike that changed America
by Joseph Anthony McCartin

Examines the events surrounding and leading up to the 1981 air traffic controllers strike.
The crusades of Cesar Chavez : a biography
The crusades of Cesar Chavez : a biography
by Miriam Pawel

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Union of Their Dreams draws on thousands of documents and interviews to examine the myths and achievements marking the life of the iconic labor leader and civil rights activist, portraying him as a flawed but brilliant strategist who was often at odds with himself. 
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