13m; VHS; year unknown
Produced by SEIU
About Bread and Roses Cultural Project founder Moe Foner, who, years before he went to work for labor unions, had played saxophone in a swing band with his brothers. They did gigs at upstate Borscht Belt retreats and Manhattan hotels, and along the way came to know many other musicians, as well as actors and artists. The Brothers Foner were leftists with a vision; one went on to lead the furriers’ union, two others became renowned historians. Moe worked for several unions before landing at 1199 in 1952, back when it was a small union of pharmacy employees. Even then, he was looking for ways to integrate culture with his union work. He found a sympathetic ear in 1199’s founding president, Leon Davis, one that continues with current union head Dennis Rivera, who oversaw a vastly transformed organization, representing more than 200,000 workers.
The project took its name from the slogan advanced by striking workers in the bitter 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, “We Want Bread and Roses Too.”