I know, you’ve seen them before: hard-hitting documentaries about
workplaces, filled with candid interviews and tough, unstinting
footage of workers organizing and management tactics to forestall
them. The problem is, the unions usually lose these days, one way
or another. We are left with those fleeting moments of courage
and solidarity as our only inspiration.
When Aya de León started as a lecturer in African American
Studies at UC Berkeley and director of its Poetry for the People
program, she was excited to join AFT Local
1474. She’s been working since she was a teenager, de
León says, but this is the first job where she has a union to
When she was younger, the idea of being in a local seemed very
adult to her, and now being a member of one makes her feel she
has arrived, she says. That’s just one reason she’s excited to be
a union member.
Writer, photographer and veteran UFW union organizer David Bacon
frequently refers to “people who travel with the crops,”
agricultural workers who move from place to place to cultivate
and harvest California’s fields. They are the subject of his
newest work of photojournalism, In the Fields of the North/En los
campos del norte. Bacon is a frequent contributor to California
Teacher. Below are excerpts from an interview with Capitol &
Read the whole article here.
Jimmy Kelly comes from a union family in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, where his grandfather, father and two brothers were
all union members. “I grew up in a different era, in a town that
traced the origin of its labor movement to the great strikes in
the steel mills,” he recalls. “We learned labor terms in fourth
In February, Berkeley teachers posted 1,000 “Black Lives
Matter” signs in classrooms, hallways, administrative offices and
on school grounds to highlight recent court decisions on the
police shootings of young black men. They are also distributing
“Black Lives Matter” lesson plans and resources to teachers in
every grade level at the nearly 20 district sites.
Fred Lonidier’s artwork depicting the lives and struggles of
maquiladora workers was banished from the Autonomous University
of Baja California in 2005. This month artwork telling the story
of that censorship will go up on the walls of New York’s
prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art as part of its
renowned Biennial exhibition.