The Best Pro-Union Writers to Follow

By Michael Messinarobert-reich

Here at Labor 411 we have to be on top of all the current labor news in the country. Admittedly, that news can often be quite dry, so I rounded up a few guys who love to talk labor, economics and the like, and make the topic accessible and often fun. And we just happen to share a similar point of view. Enjoy!

Five Awesome Union Songs That We Love

By Sahid Fawaz

Few things get us as charged up at Labor 411 as a great union song! The energy in the singers’ voices and the captivating and honest lyrics in the songs are part of what makes them so great. We enjoy these songs so much that we’ve picked five of them to share with you. If you have a personal favorite, let us know in the comments!

1. Billy Bragg, “There is Power in a Union”

Five Festive Union-made Halloween Treats

ghost peeps1. Peeps: These guys go all out for the holidays and Halloween is no different. They have an assortment of spongy confections that includes chocolate-dipped orange chicks, marshmallow pumpkins (also come in chocolate-dipped variety), marshmallow ghosts and chocolate mousse flavored cats.

The Medicine Cabinet

By Guest Blogger Ashley Beard-Fosnowill-woman-taking-temperature

A couple of nasty bugs are going around in our neck of the woods. I was awoken one night last week by the sentence I dread hearing most, "Mommy, I feel sick." -- followed by 24 hours of vomiting. I try to keep the medicine cabinet stocked for just this occasion. The following is a great list of Union Made products from the Labor 411 Directory to cure whatever ails you:

Three Reasons Why America Needs Unions More Than Ever

union labor

1.    Workers’ real incomes are declining

Americans are working harder and more hours than ever, yet their real incomes have been in decline over the last decade and have not moved up at all over the last twenty years.  Without the negotiating power that comes from collective bargaining, many workers simply don’t have the leverage to stop the decline of their purchasing power – even as their productivity increases and their employers get richer.

real income

New Tasty Brews Added to Our List. Cheers.

By Michael MessinaRed Tail Ale

I am a beer drinker. I like the tastes and aesthetic qualities that make up a good pint of ale, lager, porter, whatever. I got a book on beer for Christmas one year, but that doesn’t make me a connoisseur or beer professor by any means. For example, picking out subtle notes of exotic spices is not something I pride myself on, but I do appreciate the way a beer smells as I drink it.

Begrudgingly, my personal taste tends to conflict with a few of the mainstream brews that we promote as “union made” here at Labor 411. Will I drink a Budweiser or Miller? Of course, when the situation is right, like if it’s ice-cold and I’m floating down the river with the sun scorching and my cares to the wind, or if I’m washing down a salty hot dog at the ball park. On those occasions I’m game, but when I’m out with my buds (pun definitely intended) I prefer to have the barmaid draw me a pint with more of a micro-brew personality.

Twenty-Five Awesome Labor Quotes

Cesar ChavezLooking for some great inspirational quotes and words of wisdom about the labor movement? We’ve put together twenty-five of our favorite from activists, presidents, and more!

"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

"You are never strong enough that you don't need help." - Cesar Chavez (image)

"Every piece of progressive social legislation passed by Congress in the 20th century bears a union label." - George Meany

Make it Union-Made for Food Drives

By Ashley Beard-FosnowUnion food drive

If we purchase Union Made, we support the true American spirit of opportunity for people. Buying Union-made products provides more good jobs for our citizens, which in turn means more tax dollars for our schools, roads, and services like police, fire departments, and public health programs. Additionally, buying Union-made sends a displeased message to businesses who exploit workers overseas.

5 Labor Movies Everyone Should Watch At Least Once


by Sahid Fawaz

1. Norma Rae 

Nominated for a number of Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this 1979 film focuses on the organizing efforts of a textile factory worker in a small town in North Carolina. A moving and heartfelt film, Norma Rae is one of the most definitive union films ever produced. Not to mention that Sally Field does an incredible job playing the lead role – enough so that she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her part.

2. Matewan

This 1987 film provides a gritty look at the events of the Battle of Matewan, which was a coal miner strike in Matewan, WV in 1920. The movie provides a harsh glimpse into life in a company town and the conditions that led men and women to fight to the death for union representation. Nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography, Matewan is also recognized for its terrific camera-work in capturing the tough, dirty, and dangerous conditions that marked the lives of coal miners.

3. Roger and Me

A controversial and unflinching look at Flint, MI as it struggled with the outsourcing of good paying automotive jobs. This documentary by Michael Moore captivates from the beginning to the end and shows the effects of unrestrained corporate greed on American communities.

4. Harlan County, USA

This 1976 Oscar-winning documentary provides an unwavering glimpse into the Brookside Strike - a 1973 coal miner strike in the hills of Kentucky. Shot brilliantly and with no narration, the film is a tense journey into the tough fight by coal miners against powerful companies. This is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys documentaries.

5. Silkwood

One of Meryl Streep’s best performances, this Academy Award nominated movie depicts the tragic life of a plutonium plant worker and labor union activist who fought for safety improvements for workers. Gripping from beginning to end, and based on a true story, this movie is a must-see for those interested in labor history and great cinema.

Have a recommendation for a great labor movie? Let us know in the comments!