LABOR HISTORY FILMS
Free to Stream Online
Salt of the Earth (1954) | 92 minutes
Salt of the Earth, based on the 1951 strike against Empire Zinc Company, follows Mexican-American union miners and their wives as they go on strike in New Mexico for decent working conditions equal to white miners. After the mining company presents the Taft-Hartley Act, stating union members can be arrested for picketing, the union minors wives continue the strike on their husbands’ behalf. Receiving critical response from the Hollywood establishment and the United States House of Representatives for advancing the feminist social and political point of view, Salt of the Earth was ultimately blacklisted for 10 years as only 12 theaters agreed to screen the film.
Union Maids (1976) | 51 minutes
Union Maids is an American documentary nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film is based on three women union organizers in the Depression era from Chicago who discuss and reminisce on their involvement in the labor movement.
10,000 Black Men Named George | 89 minutes
10,000 Black Men Named George is based on how organizers battled racism and corruption in their efforts to unionize railway porters into the first Black-controlled union. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
The Golden Lands, Working Hands series is an introduction to California’s labor history, the diverse working populations, and efforts to find common ground for social justice.
1877: The Grand Army of Starvation | 30 minutes
1877: The Grand Army of Starvation focuses on the nationwide rebellion that brought the U.S. to a standstill when 80,000 railroad workers went on strike to protest the excesses of railroad companies amid a four-year economic depression. This movement brought a new period of conflict that defined America in the industrial age.
Harvest of Loneliness | 57 minutes
Millions of people were employed in the temporary contract worker program known as the Bracero Program from the 1940s to the 60s. Harvest of Loneliness explores how the program was designed to undermine farmworker unions as it imported millions of Mexico’s men and women to work as cheap, controlled, and disposable labor.
The Inheritance| 52 minutes
The Inheritance explores life for workers in America from the turn of the century through the Civil Rights era. Gain insight on each generation’s fight to preserve and extend our nation’s freedoms. The struggle to put down roots, form unions, endure wars, and build better lives has shaped our country in ways that are still felt today.