Thursday, September 1, 2011

Remembering the role of Italian Americans in the Labor Movement

As we embark upon the Labor Day weekend filled with cookouts, parties, weddings and trips out of town, it is easy to forget the reason for this Federal holiday.  This day that many of us have off from work, commemorates the hard work of the labor movement.  Everyone has their own opinion on labor, which has been caught in crossfires across the country this past year.  However, we should remember the benefits that we still enjoy today that were brought to us by the movement - the weekend, a 40 hour work week, and minimum wage, among others.

In addition, many Italians who immigrated to the U.S. during the height of the European immigration worked in cities across the United States in blue-collar jobs.  They contributed a lot to this country, along with laborers from all over the world.  Of course, many still do today as evidenced by Italian American Labor Councils in cities like Chicago and New York.  If you have some free time this weekend, here are a list of links from around the web where you can read about Italian American involvement in the labor movement.  Happy Labor Day!

NIAF: Milestones of the Italian American Experience

Journal of International Labor and Working Class History: The Lost World of Italian-American Radicalism: Labor, Politics and Culture

NYU: Guide to the Records of the Italian American Labor Council (1941-1996)

Cornell University: Photos at an Italian American Labor Council Concert in NYC (1942) The Fire that Changed America (Bonvicini)

Please leave your comments about these articles, leave suggestions of other articles, or just your memories on the movement.

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