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As we mark Labor Day and the movement that brought us accepted norms ranging from the 40-hour work week to protections against child labor abuses, here’s some good reads chronicling labor struggles.


The Jackson Project

Phil Cohen’s memoir gets it right. Taking readers inside his local union and the factory floor, Cohen doesn’t flinch from honest portrayals including heartbreaking lessons he reaped.


Solidarity Divided

The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice

A critique of labor’s current crisis that trains a sharp lens on class and race by veteran labor organizers Bill Fletcher and Fernando Gapasin.


A Century of American Labor

Nelson Lichtenstein’s well-crafted account of the labor movement imparts insights to anyone looking for a broad overview .


The Origins of the Urban Crisis

Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

Thomas Sugrue gives a searing account of Detroit’s hidden history of racial violence, discrimination, and deindustrialization that reshaped the American urban landscape and today’s legacy of persistent racialized poverty.


Chaos on the Shop Floor 

A Worker’s View of Quality, Production and Management

Tom Juravich researched this book from the inside a small manufacturing firm where he worked as a mechanic for 18 months and was booted out when the company discovered he was secretly writing a dissertation drawn from his experiences at the plant.

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