1989 Pittston miners’ strike, 10 minutes (civil disobedience)
This film produced by The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) gives a taste of the post WWII politics that led to the Taft-Hartley Act that restricts the ability of workers to join unions.
Newsreel, 6 minutes
A wave of strikes occurred in 1946 after World War II ended and wartime wage-price controls began to erode. Here we see clips on labor disputes at Western Electric, Western Union, the auto industry, railroads, coal, ships, and trucking. The strike wave set the stage for passage of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which included injunctions for national emergency disputes.
Newsreel, 4 minutes
A strike in the coal industry during World War II leads to government intervention. After the war, another strike creates a pension fund. This video, made by the the United Mine Workers union UMW), features the union president, John L. Lewis, including congressional testimony. You can spot a brief shot of Congressman Richard Nixon at one point. Coal was a key industry in this era, supplying steel mills, railroad locomotives, electrical generators, and homes for heating.
Episode 4 (60 min.)
By 1934 challenges to the New Deal came from both sides of the political spectrum. In California Socialist Upton Sinclair ran for Governor promising to turn idle land and factories into self-governing cooperatives. Sinclair’s campaign ended in defeat, but one year later President Roosevelt’s signing of the Social Security Act signaled America’s emergence as a modern welfare state.
Episode 3 (60 min.)
In his first one hundred days in office, in a effort to stem the effects of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created many new federal agencies giving jobs and relief to people and transforming the American landscape with public works projects. Nowhere was this transformation more apparent than in Mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s New York City. Together Roosevelt and La Guardia expanded and redefined the role of government in the lives of the American people.
episode 1 (60 min.)
Just before the advent of the Great Depression, Henry Ford controlled the most important company in the most important industry in the booming American economy. His offer of high wages in exchange for hard work attracted workers to Detroit, but it began to come apart when Ford hired a private police force to speed up production and spy on employees. After the depression hit in 1929, these workers faced a new, grim reality as unemployment skyrocketed.