Category Archives: Public Sector

Wild River (1960)

110m; U.S.

Director: Elia Kazan

Cast: Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick and Jo Van Fleet

Synopsis (IMDB): A young field administrator for the TVA comes to rural Tennessee to oversee the building of a dam on the Tennessee River. He encounters opposition from the local people, in particular a farmer who objects to his employment (with pay) of local black laborers. Much of the plot revolves around the eviction of an elderly woman from her home on an island in the River, and the young man’s love affair with that woman’s widowed granddaughter.



Working for American Workers (2010)

55m; U.S.

Director: College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Synopsis: Documentary highlighting labor turbulence in the 60s and 70s through the eyes of former Labor Secretaries Willard Wirtz and Bill Usery. Includes the pilots strike among other events, and shows “vividly how labor secretaries can differ in interests and style, with very different effects on labor.”

Contact: College Executive Director Susan Wan 202-955-8225



You May Call Her Madam Secretary

58m; U.S.

Director: Robert & Marjory Potts

Synopsis: Biography of the first woman cabinet secretary and “mother” of Social Security, Frances Perkins.



Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Labor Struggle in the Post Office (1980)

By Tami Gold, Dan Gordon, Erik Lewis
1980, 45 minutes, Color and B&W, Video

On July 21, 1978 thousands of postal workers across the country walked off their jobs when their contract expired, saying “No” to mandatory overtime, forced speedups and hazardous working conditions. As a result of this wildcat strike, six hundred thousand postal workers won a better contract. But two hundred workers were arbitrarily fired by management to teach all postal workers a lesson.

SIGNED, SEALED and DELIVERED… is the story of the struggle these postal workers waged to win back their jobs. It follows their fight into the streets, onto the floor of the American Postal Workers Union’s National Convention and among workers and communities nationwide. But it took the tragic death of Michael McDermott, a 25 year old mailhandler who was sucked into a conveyor belt and crushed to death, to bring their hazardous working conditions to national attention.

SIGNED, SEALED and DELIVERED… speaks loudly and clearly to people everywhere who are organizing for safe and humane conditions in the workplace.


Sudden Wake (2009)

11m; Egypt

Director: Mahmud Farag

Synopsis: The story of the struggle of Egypt’s first independent trade union – the Real Estate Tax Authority Union (RETA). RETA was formed in December 2008, one year after tax collectors there held a two-week sit-in in front of the Cabinet Building. They face constant harrassment from the Egyptian government as well as the country’s official labour federation, the ETUF.

Contact: Hamza Ashra



Taking the Heat: the First Women Firefighters of New York City (2006)

Director: Bann Roy

What if your gender barred you from applying for a job, and once you were allowed to apply, the rules changed to make it impossible for you to qualify? What if you took legal action to be considered fairly for the job but then faced overwhelming discrimination and hostility from your co-workers? Welcome to the world of Captain Brenda Berkman and the first women to join one of the most celebrated—and macho—lifesaving organizations in the world: the New York City Fire Department.

TAKING THE HEAT: The First Women Firefighters of New York City tells the story of Berkman and the small group of women who dared to want a “man’s job.” Through one-on-one interviews, filmmaker Bann Roy exposes the loneliness, violence and even sexual abuse these women endured to serve their communities.

Home and educational video copies of TAKING THE HEAT: The First Women Firefighters of New York City are available from:
Anjali Films




Tasuma, the Fighter

90m; Africa

Director: Kollo Daniel Sanou

Synopsis (NYT): Sogo Sanou (played with dignity and reserve by Mamadou Zerbo) is a veteran of the French colonial army who saw battle in Indochina and Algiers. Long retired to his tiny village, atop a rock-strewn hill in a distant outback, Sogo has been patiently waiting for his pension from the French government. But each time he makes the arduous trip to town, bumping his bicycle along dirt roads, he is met with blank stares at the government offices. No, his name is not on the list today. Maybe tomorrow.


Teachers (1984)

107m; U.S.

Director: Arthur Hiller

Cast: Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams and Judd Hirsch, Morgan Freeman, Laura Dern

Synopsis (IMDB): A teacher overcomes his frustration in a high-school full of flunkies. As he attempts to educate his students, his attempts to help them gets him into trouble with the school board, which only adds to his problems. With the support of his students he beats the school board and his frustration.


The Big Sell Out (2007)

94m; Germany

Director: Florian Optiz

Synopsis: This film exposes the role of the IMF and World Bank by showing the effect of their policies on the lives of working people from around the world. They include an UK RMT railroad activist fighting to protect the UK railroad system, a Bolivian community activists fighting water privatization and a South African activist fighting to keep the lights on in Soweto which leads to a fight against the ANC government. This international film draws the connection of the policies of global capitalism of privatization and deregulation to the destruction of public services and the ruination of the environment and the people of the world.

Contact: Florian Opitz is a freelance documentary filmmaker, author and journalist. He was born in Saarbrücken, Germany in 1973. Since 1998 he has been working as a freelance filmmaker and journalist for several European TV stations, including for ARD, ARTE and ZDF. His work includes numerous political and historical documentaries, such as the made-for-TV features Tibet – Myth and Reality (Tibet – Mythos und Wirklichkeit, 2001) and Arabs – History of a Perceived Enemy (Die Araber – Geschichte eines Feindbildes, 2003).


Rail Against Privatization (2005)

60 min; U.K.

Director: Platform Films

Synopsis: British Rail workers fight to end privatization of rail system.

Contact: Link to rail union website: