The 1950s Were Not a Golden Age for Detroit’s Autoworkers

The Industry’s Booms and Busts Brought Instability That Kept Workers From Getting Ahead

In the popular as well as the political imagination, the 1950s were a golden age for American industrial workers, especially for the hundreds of thousands who toiled in Detroit’s auto factories. The story holds that lucrative contracts negotiated by the United Automobile Workers resulted in rising wages and improved benefits like pensions and health care. A blue-collar elite emerged: primarily white male, industrial wage earners who stepped up into America’s middle class and bought homes in the suburbs, eagerly purchased new cars, owned cabins “up north” in Michigan, and sent …

How the South Uses Its ‘Anti-Union Arsenal’ to Keep Workers From Organizing

At a Mississippi Nissan Plant, New Global Owners Wield Old Local Politics Against the United Auto Workers

The crushing rejection on August 5 of a United Auto Workers bid to organize a 6,500-worker Nissan assembly plant near Canton, Mississippi seemed to present the proverbial déjà vu …

Cesar Chavez Was a Whole Lot More Interesting Than ‘Cesar Chavez’

Biopics Always Play Fast and Loose with the Facts, But This One Doesn’t Even Capture Its Subject’s Humanity

Most great men have one. Malcolm X has one. Gandhi has one. Mandela got one last year. And now, Cesar Chavez has his.

The biographical film or “biopic”—like Cesar Chavez, which …

Driving Cesar Chavez

The Unforgettable Day I Took the Union Leader Through Pennsylvania Coal Country

Of all the stories I’ve held on to from my time working for Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers, the one I like to tell is not from the fields of …

Taking on Mexico’s Most Fearsome Cartel Leader

President Peña Nieto Arrests “La Maestra,” Teachers’ Union Boss, Neiman Marcus Profit Center

Mexicans were stunned, and united, by the news last week. Across all segments of society, conversations invariably turned to the same subject. “Can you believe it?” people would ask each …

Where Failure is the New Normal

Are Teachers Unions Quashing Needed Reforms?

Steven Brill’s journey into the American public school system began at an epicenter of failure and dysfunction: New York City’s “rubber rooms,” the “temporary reassignment centers” where teachers sat in …