The Boss Who Fought for the Working Class

  by Walter Brasch   He was born into poverty in New Hampshire in 1811. His father was a struggling farmer. His mother did most of the other chores. He was a brilliant student, but the family often moved, looking for a better life—a couple of times so the father … Continue reading

Labor Day Assignment: Educating the Uninformed

    by Walter Brasch   It’s Labor Day weekend, the schools have been in session about a week, and the disgruntled voices of a minority drone on. Their screeching refrain, often in letters to the editor and talk show call-ins, is familiar: –Teachers only work half a year. –Teachers … Continue reading

Look for the Union Bunny

Bullied, harassed, and lied to, District 1 of the Amalgamated Association of Easter Bunnies, AFB-CIO (American Federation of Bunnies–Cottontails International Organization) went on strike, forcing a halt to this year’s Easter egg hunts. At Bunny Headquarters, Solomon P. Bunny, union executive secretary, and a militant corps of Easter bunnies were … Continue reading

You Can’t Wash Away Fracking’s Effects

José Lara just wanted a job. A company working in the natural gas fields needed a man to power wash wastewater tanks. Clean off the debris. Make them shining again. And so José Lara became a power washer for the Rain for Rent Co. “The chemicals, the smell was so … Continue reading

University Governance Doesn’t Represent the People

  by Walter Brasch   About 800,000 Pennsylvanians are members of labor unions, and the state has a long history of union rights and activism, neither of the two largest university systems has a labor representative on its governing board. The only labor representative on the Board of Governors of … Continue reading

Don’t Count Out the Labor Movement

  by Walter Brasch   Almost every conservative political columnist, pundit, commentator, blogger, and bloviator has written about the decline and forthcoming death of the labor movement. They happily point to Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker shortly after taking office in January 2011 took advantage of a Republican majority … Continue reading

American Patriotism in Hyper-Drive

  by WALTER BRASCH  It’s midway between Flag Day and Independence Day. That means several million copies of full-page flags printed on cheap newsprint, June 14, have been burned, shredded, thrown away, or perhaps recycled. It’s an American tradition.  Flag Day was created by President Wilson in 1916 on the … Continue reading

Mission Impossible: Finding a Mini-Van Made in America by Union Workers

  by WALTER BRASCH   Last year, not one of the 491,687 new minivans sold in the United States was made in America by unionized workers. Some were manufactured overseas by companies owned by non-American manufacturers. The Kia Sedona, with 24,047 sales, was built in South Korea, Russia, and the … Continue reading

Labor Pains: A Fable for Our Times

Once, many years ago, in a land far away between two oceans, with fruited plains, amber waves of grain, and potholes on its highways, there lived a young man named Sam. Now, Sam was a bright young man who wanted to work and save money so he could go to … Continue reading

Stories We Will Still Have to Write in 2012

  by WALTER and ROSEMARY BRASCH   In January 2009, with a new president about to be inaugurated, we wrote a column about the stories we preferred not having to write, but knew we would. Three years later, we are still writing about those problems; three years from now, we’ll … Continue reading