Learning about Labor
Have you ever wanted to learn more about Labor history? Most of us know the impact being part of a union family has had on our lives, but we haven’t had the opportunity to learn much about where we come from, the impact we’ve had on all workers, or how unions strengthen the economy. We’ve gathered some books (some for kids!), movies, and videos for you to watch or share with your friends, children, or new co-workers.
Books for kids
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type : by Doreen Cronin
A delightful childrens book (ages 3 to 7) with a union message! The cows say no milk until they get electric blankets. Union families say their children love and cherish this book
Joelito’s Big Decision : by Ann Berlak
When Joelito and his family go out for burgers, his friend is with his parents outside the restaurant with picket signs. The story of how Joelito reacts is told in both Spanish and English. For ages 6 to 1
Our Community of Workers Coloring Book
This coloring book is about moms, and dads at work—in offices, on constriction sites, in factories, hospitals, and more. The book is a product of the Rochester (NY) Central Labor Council.
The Big Picture: Strengthen Unions
In less than three minutes, this eye- catching video tells a clear story. Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, “speed draws” while explaining why strong unions are good for everyone.
What Have Unions Done for US?
This American version of a television as by Australian unions illustrates in a very entertaining way what unions have done for Americans.
A Brief History of Unions
This video from the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO provides, in less than 2 minutes, a lesson on the history of organized labor. It is fun, simple, and informative.
The Union Member’s Complete Guide: Everything You Want- and Need- to Know About Working Union by Michael Mauer
An easy-to-read, thorough explanation of what unions are and how they work, the book covers the structure of the labor movement, how contracts are negotiated, the grievance process, the unions role in communities, and a lot more.
From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend; A Short Illustrated History of Labor in the United States by Priscilla Murolo and A. B. Chitty
This excellent narrative surveys the historic efforts and the sacrifices that working people made to win the rights we take for granted today, form minimum wage and overtime protections to health and safety guarantees to even the weekend itself.
Whether you’re talking to your know-it-all brother-in-law, skeptical co-workers, or anyone else, They’re Bankrupting Us! And 20 other Myths about Unions by Bill Fletcher, Jr. gives you responses to the myths most often cited by anti-union propagandists.
Based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899, shows how young newspaper sellers fought a cut in their commissions. There is lots of high-energy music as well as characters with whom kids can identify.
Bread and Roses
A gripping and inspiring story of two young Latina sisters who work as cleaners in an office building and fight for the right to unionize. Based on the historic Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles, it features Academy Award winner Adrian Brody.
Sally Field won the best actress Academy Award for playing a factory worker who becomes involved in an organizing effort at a textile mill. Watch for the unforgettable scene where Fields stands on a work table holding a sign that simply says “Union”—powerful.