A young Irish woman working at a spinning wheel. Engraving by Francis Holl

How War Revolutionized Ireland’s Linen Industry

During the Napoleonic Wars, Irish women, who had traditionally only spun flax into thread, took over the traditionally male job of weaving linen as well.
A black and white image of a person trapped behind glass

How YouTube Is Shaping the Future of Work

Americans expect our jobs to provide us with not just money but fulfillment. For many, YouTube represents exactly that promise.
Illustration of Mexican agricultural laborers forming a raised fist of solidarity

How “Measured Militancy” Empowered California’s Fieldworkers

When Mexican-American fieldworkers' strikes didn't net results, César Chávez led the Ventura County Community Service Organization in alternate tactics.
The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

Sharing economy firms like Lyft and Airbnb promised community, but the ideas they promoted as overturning the status quo are the status quo.
black lung coal mining

The Militant Miners Who Exposed the Horrors of Black Lung

This grassroots movement brought occupational health to American labor, paving the way for the creation of OSHA.
Bisbee deportation

The Bisbee Deportations

According to one scholar, the 1917 deportation in Bisbee, AZ wasn't "about labor relations or race or gender: it was about all of them."
aerial view of beach with people

Why Europeans Have Such Long Summer Vacations

In the 1920s, politicians saw workers’ time off as a way to mold society, encouraging workers to engage in politics and patriotism during their time off.

The American Art Style that Idolized the Machine

Precisionism, a modernist art style that emerged in the early 20th century, glorified the machine age, all but erasing the presence of people.
Child laborers

The Campaign for Child Labor

Why did David Clark lead a successful campaign to keep kids working in the early 20th century? For one thing, child labor benefited his interests.
WV teachers strike

The Teachers’ Union Boomerang

Today's teacher's strikes in places like Oklahoma and West Virginia are the result of labor battles back in 2010, and the declining presence of unions across the economy generally.