Labor and Labor Movements ASA Panels of Interest

OOW members are encouraged to submit to the following sections organized by the Labor and Labor Movements Section:

Race and labor and the 50th anniversary of the Memphis Strike
In February 1968, 1,300 black Memphis sanitation workers struck for safer jobs, better pay, and union recognition, carrying signs that said “I am a man”.  Rev. Martin Luther King visited Memphis repeatedly to support the strike, and on one of those visits, on April 4, 1968, he was assassinated.  Despite vicious union-busting by the city government, the workers went on to win the strike.

Fifty years later, race and racism remain divisive issues among US workers, especially in the US South, where racial divisions have undermined recent organizing drives.  Though migration has reconfigured the racial-ethnic mix of the country, the color line described by Dubois remains strong, as the Black Lives Matter movement and the election of Donald Trump have spotlighted.  As we meet on the 50th anniversary of the Memphis strike, this session will be an opportunity to reflect on race and labor in the United States, and how and why their relationship has changed—and not changed—over the last 50 years.  The session invites both historical and contemporary papers.  We welcome a wide range of race-related papers including those that address organized labor (unions and other labor organization forms), cross movement collaborations, working-class communities and neighborhoods, and the impact of and challenges to racial hierarchies in the workplace (including processes of discrimination and struggles around affirmative action).  We also welcome research that explores intersections of race with gender, ethnicity, class, and other social categories in the world of work.

Citizenship and Labor
This panel invites papers that investigate citizenship and labor in domestic and/or international contexts. Labor has played a mixed role in relationship to citizenship. For example, the AFL-CIO did not embrace new immigrants until 1995, and some unions continue to be exclusionary. However, the Labor Movement has played a historically important role in bringing immigrants into its ranks as witnessed in the garment and textile industries. This panel is especially interested in how labor organizations (unions, worker centers, and other worker organizations) engage in practices that expand or enhance understandings of citizenship, Citizenship is broadly defined to include topics related to belonging and nation-state, the exercising of human and civil rights, civic engagement, or political mobilization.

The full set of Labor and Labor Markets panels can be accessed by clicking on the section’s name at .

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