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Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

Dressing America: Tales from the Garment Center

2009
USA
Documentary
Directors: Steven Fischler, Joel Sucher
Writer: Joel Sucher
60 Minutes

This captivating documentary braids past and present, tracing the technological and financial changes in the US garment industry. Rich in ethnic and labor history, Dressing America illustrates the impact of corporate competition, outsourcing, and deunionization on an industry where small and family shops were once prevalent.

 

The Plundering

By Oliver Ressler (40 min.) 2013 Austria

Extreme levels of privatization can only be carried out under conditions where people are under severe pressure, as in the transformation of former Soviet republics towards independence and capitalism. Since the Rose Revolution in 2003, the former Soviet republic Georgia under went such a radical transformation. President Mikheil Saakashvili implemented one of the most extreme neoliberal projects in the world. Today, Georgia is 9th among 185 states on the World Bank list of “Ease of Doing Business” countries. This is creating an unstable situation in a radical, free-market economy with the liquidation of most social safety nets. Most Georgian residents are being driven into un-experienced levels of poverty.

The Plundering focuses on four cases of aggressive, state-property privatization policies in Tbilisi. Through interviews, it discusses the privatization of the water system in Tbilisi and of Tbilisi’s popular market, the Dezerter Bazaar. A newly emerging movement prevented the attempted sell-off of the National Scientific Library, and the destruction and conversion of the historical Gudiashvili Square in Tbilisi’s city center into a shopping mall.

Trailer: http://www.ressler.at/the_plundering/

 

Miners Shot Down (2014)

(85 min) 2014 by Rehad Desai (South Africa)

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers.  What emerges is collusion at the top, spiraling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre. South Africa will never be the same again.
Film Website

 

From the Shadows of Power

This awarding winning documentary is a powerful story set in coalfields of Appalachia, Wales and England. It documents firsthand the turmoil in the aftermath of the British Miners Strike of 1984/85 and the parallel struggle of the UMWA in its long running battle with Pittston Coal. This film brings to life the real struggles of working people at the pivotal moment when state power was used to open the floodgates to global capital, aid the destruction of coalfield communities and its labor institutions. Chronicling the critical role played by working class women in these watershed events, it features economist Helen Lewis, Reverend Jesse Jackson, women miners, Betty Heathfield of Britain’s Women Against Pit Closures, NUMs Arthur Scargill, and Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.

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Directed by: Jean Donohue

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2090505/

http://www.mwg.org

 

 

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Parents of the Revolution

‘Parents of the Revolution’ follows a group of activist parents in the Occupy Wall Street movement who believe that it’s their democratic duty to teach their kids to speak out against injustice. Are they heroes who are bringing up their kids with a civic conscience or agitators who are using their children as human shields? ‘Parents of the Revolution’ follows a group of families who rally against the aggressive behavior of the NYC police towards the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The film chronicles this group’s activities and raises some issues about what it means to teach kids about social justice and how our government ‘parents’ her citizens. As the protests escalate, one of the lead parents, Kirby and her group struggle with their mission. They are accused of “brainwashing their kids” and using them as “human shields.” In the face of these crises, Kirby is able to overcome her past to become a truly great leader who helps bring her community together.

Directed by: Dana Glazer

http://parentsoftherevolution.com/


 

 

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Small Fish

From the producers of In Dreamworks. not far away from Yongkang railway station in Zhejiang province, Huang Caigen – who suffered himself a work related injury – rented a garage and transformed it into the office of “Small Fish”, an NGO providing support and legal advice to the city’s workers. Migrant workers from the poorest Chinese regions come daily for advice. Poorly educated and without any particular working skills. They work in the thousands of metal workshops in Yongkang, the center of production of metal hardware in China. Working conditions in Yongkang are among the worst in the country and work related injuries are common. “Small Fish” has become a point of reference for thousands of “small fishes” seeking support and advice from Huang Caigen and his staff.

Directed by: Tommaso Fachin

 

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Iraqi Workers After The War

For Iraqis the war the U.S. waged there continues with harsh effects, even though for most Americans that war is over and done with.  This short video gives voice to Iraqi workers and union leaders – men and women – as they explain the repression they face, the efforts they are making to secure a new labor law that allows Iraqi workers to form unions, and their call for international labor solidarity. Basra in October 2012.

Directed by: Michael Zweig, Jonathan Levin


 

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One Generation’s Time: The Story of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes

On June 1,1981,Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, two reform officers in Seattle’s Alaska Cannery Workers’ Union, Local 37 of the (ILWU), were gunned down as they worked in the union offices. The men were attempting to reform the union and were calling for better working conditions in the canneries. On the surface, their murders were meant to look like just another gang-related slaying. But later, the killings were revealed to be a hit originating from the Marcos regime. Silme and Gene’s friends, families and colleagues sought justice for the murders, and continued the fight for equality for the months and years to come. This touching and powerful film details the murders, the fight for fair labor conditions, the civil rights movement the murdered men helped foster, and the ensuing efforts to seek justice for their killings.

Directed by: Shannon Gee

 

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Mean Things Happening: PBS Great Depression Series (1993)

PBS Great Depression Series, #5

Producer: WGBH, Boston

Narrator: Joe Morton

51 minutes

This documentary examines the efforts that tenant farmers and steelworkers undertook to organize and unionize amidst The Great Depression of the 1930s. Using interviews, film footage, and historians’ reflections, it recounts the privation and violent conditions facing H.L. Mitchell and the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (STFU), and industrial workers who formed the Steelworkers Organizing Committee (SWOC) of the burgeoning Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Racism, paternalistic company towns, heavy-handed anti-unionism and violent opposition posed grave obstacles to organizers in the Southern agricultural fields and Northern industrial cities alike. A key element to the success of the SWOC and CIO on the one hand, and the failure of the STFU on the other, was the legal framework protecting organizing, rights, and concerted activity for private-sector workers with the passage of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which expressly excluded agricultural and domestic workers who comprised much of the South’s workforce. The result was the rise of powerful unionism in much of the more industrialized North, Midwest, and West, and the concomitant absence of effective unionism from the more agricultural South and Southwest, in the Depression-riddled 1930s.

 

The Creation of the CIO (1935)

7:18; U.S.

Director: March of Time

Synopsis: Newsreel documentary focusing on John L. Lewis and accounting for the reasons behind and early conflicts over the split of the American Federation of Labor in 1935 and the creation of the rival federation, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).  Film is clearly pro-CIO and contains fantastic footage of Lewis, Sidney Hillman, and other major organizational leaders of labor in the Depression years.

 

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