Calls for Contributors

Call for Contributors for November 2017 Issue on “Organized Labor”

The Activist History Review invites proposals for articles that address the theme of “organized labor” to be featured in the November issue.

The Activist History Review invites proposals for articles that address the theme of “organized labor” to be featured in the November issue.

Since 1983, membership in unions has declined from 20.1 percent to just above 10 percent. Public-sector workers are five times more likely to be unionized (34.4 percent) than private-sector workers (6.4 percent). Conservative politicians and their industry allies continue to attack both the work and the ideology of organized labor through right-to-work laws and other legislative restrictions on the right to organize. In this environment, unions have struggled to sustain themselves and expand.

yale union
Yale graduate workers protesting at the home of university president Peter Salovey. Courtesy HuffPost.

A recent front in this struggle for solidarity has emerged on college campuses, as adjunct faculty and graduate students have organized and affiliated with existing national unions. Hunger strikes at Yale and administrative opposition at places like Boston College illustrate that, despite the presumption of academia, school administrators continue to put profits over the rights of workers, be they students, hourly or salaried staff, and faculty.

Journalists, political candidates, and policymakers have of late devoted much attention to the rural and white segments of the “working class,” but have focused mainly on aspects of political culture. Few in the national conversation make the overt connection between workers’ shrinking shares of the economic pie and the decline in union membership and rise in anti-union legislation nationally. The economic future of the United States and its workers is directly affected by the present state of organized labor. Unions’ historical role in the development of the modern American economy illustrates the symbiotic relationship between economic growth and expanded workers’ rights. TAHR seeks essays that explore the current state and future of organized labor with a historical lens. Accepted articles will consider the historical roots of organized labor and its opponents and the modern ramifications of these historical processes.

union women
Union women at the 6th Biennial Convention of the National Women’s Trade League in 1917. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  •      Organized labor in American history.
  •      Right-to-work legislation.
  •      De-industrialization.
  •      The rise of the service economy.
  •      Conservative and libertarian economic thought in American politics.
  •      The roots of anti-communism and anti-labor politics.
  •      Civil rights and worker rights.
  •      Industry, individuals, and the state’s monopoly on violence.
  •      Gender, Race, and Labor intersections.

Proposals should be no more than 250 words for articles from 1250-2000 words, and should be emailed to William Horne at horne(dot)activisthistory(at)gmail(dot)com by Friday, October 13, at 11:59PM. Please also include a short bio of less than 100 words.

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