About Ron Verzuh

Independent Labor Historian Oregon Trustee, Pacific Northwest Labor History Association.

PNLHA keynote speaker on KBOO radio

250px-George_Heyman_portraitWhat can be done if corporate America and its politicians don’t take climate change more seriously? British Columbia legislator George Heyman comments on this and other environment issues on KBOO radio. Heyman, a social, environmental and labour activist, also spoke with interviewer Bill Resnick about what Vancouver, B.C., is doing and must do to combat climate change. Here’s the interview link: http://kboo.fm/media/49703-facing-climate-change-vancouver-bc .

Oregon member publishes articles on the Bridges and IWW

Lionel Youst’s article on West Coast Longshore union leader Harry and Agnes Bridges has been published in the current edition of the Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Lionel, a PNLHA member from Coos Bay, Oregon, has been a perennial conference presenter.

His article, “Harry and Agnes Bridges: A Couple at Odds,” presents the story of Bridges and his first wife Agnes Brown of Coos Bay. It is an expanded version of Lionel’s presentation to the 2015 Seattle conference. Youst on the Bridges

Lionel also had his 2014 PNLHA presentation on the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)  published in Columbia, the magazine of northwest history. Youst in Columbia

Both articles are posted here with the author’s permission.

New film on Greeks at Ludlow

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 9.06.11 AMThe new film Ludlow–Greek Americans in the Colorado Coal War documents the role of Greek-American workers during the Ludlow, CO, strike and subsequent Ludlow Massacre.

“Many lives were saved [at Ludlow] because the Greeks were armed,” said one person interviewed for the film. “They knew how to use rifles. They knew how to fight. They knew how to engage in guerrilla combat,” said another.

See a film trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meNu7XCkW-8

BC Labour Heritage Centre launches online map

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Helen’s Café mural in Kitimat, BC, depicts the role the workers in building the northern community.

The British Columbia Labour Heritage Centre has developed a new online map of places associated with the history of working people in BC that includes information from 143 locations so far.

The map features plaques remembering workers killed on the job, geographic location names, recognition of individuals who championed the rights of working people and the union movement, says a BCLHC call for new additions. “Each point contains photos, locations, descriptions, and further links for people to learn more of our shared past, and new sites are added every week.”

Go to http://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/workermemorialmap/ to view what is said to be the first such inventory in BC. If you know of a dedication, memorial, or commemoration to any working person or people that is not included in the map, contact plaques@labourheritagecentre.ca.

LAWCHA labor history award winners for 2016

James GreenJames Green, professor emeritus of history at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has won LAWCHA’s Award for Distinguished Service to Labor and Working-Class History.

“Professor Green has opened new avenues of scholarly inquiry and pioneered new ways to communicate historical narratives to broad audiences,” notes the award citation. Green has provided “models for other labor historians to follow,” including his role in documentaries of working-class history such as “The Mine Wars,” aired nationally this year in PBS’s distinguished “American Experience” series.

“As an activist, Jim has been part of nearly every struggle for social justice over the past five decades,” writes LAWCHA president Jim Gregory, adding that Green is a founding member of LAWCHA and was its president in 2003 when he helped launch Labor.

Other award winners:

– 2016 David Montgomery Award (LAWCHA/OAH) – Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie (University of Illinois Press, 2015)

– 2016 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award (LAWCHA/Cornell ILR) – Talitha L. LeFloria, Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South (University of North Carolina Press, 2015); Nancy Woloch, A Class by Herself: Protective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s (Princeton University Press, 2015)

– Herbert G. Gutman Prize for Outstanding Dissertation – Stephen C. Beda, “Landscapes of Solidarity: Timber Workers and the Making of Place in the Pacific Northwest, 1900-1964” (University of Washington, 2014)

The prize for the best Labor article went to Sarah F. Rose and Joshua A. T. Salzmann, “Bionic Ballplayers: Risk, Profit, and the Body as Commodity, 1964-2007” (11:1- Spring, 2014)

 

LAWCHA meeting set for April in Rhode Island

cranesolidarityChristianity and capitalism, the war on poverty, and labor power in Hollywood are just three of the sessions on offer at the annual meeting of the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA) annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, April 7-10.

The meeting, which will host LAWCHA’s annual awards, also features sessions on agriculture and capitalism; labor in the Gilded Age; women’s role in political, social and labor organizing; interactions between labor and environmentalism; and paid domestic work; and early American labor history. A contemporary and historical labor tour is also offered. Also of note, among other PNLHA-related presenters, is Washington trustee Mike Honey who will show and discuss his film “Nonviolence Leadership: The Life and Times of Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.”

LAWCHA president Jim Gregory, a Washington PNLHA member, encourages PNLHA members to attend. The event is jointly sponsored with the Organization of American Historians (OHA). For more go to http://lawcha.org/wordpress/event/labor-at-the-oah/ .

Image from LAWCHA site links: British artist Walter Crane’s “Labor’s May Day,” with its depiction of the worker as male, but united across nations and color lines, and inspired by freedom and entitled to leisure.

Miners’ Memorial Weekend in BC

MMW_logo_2015PNLHA members who attended the 2014 conference in Cumberland, BC, will recall the excellent music and presentations on Miners Memorial Weekend. This year the annual celebration of workers and their families is set for June 16-18, 2016, and you’re invited.

The event pays tribute “to those injured and killed while at work, those who have fought to improve the safety and quality of life of workers everywhere, and the history of resistance and activism from workers and their families,” says BC PNLHA VP Brian Carleton.

Some of the highlights: a screening of the newly released documentary Goodwin’s Way, an oral history workshop, a book reading by Richard Somerset Mackie, a plaque dedication in honor of organizer Joe Naylor, a presentation of Ginger Goodwin: A Worker’s Friend by graphic novelist Laura Ellyn, the ceremony at Goodwin’s graveside, and the community supper with guest speakers and performers.

To register for the Oral History Workshop, or to find out more about participation in the Listening Booth oral history project, click here. For more, go to www.cumberlandmuseum.ca/events. Search ‘31st Annual Miners Memorial Weekend’ on Facebook for on-going updates.

 

New labor history awards

LBL_fcov_72rgb_522_630_90Canadian wins ILHA book award

Canadian labor historian Craig Heron has won the International Labor History Association (ILHA) Book of the Year Award for 2015 for Lunch-Bucket Lives, Remaking the Workers’ City (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2015). The ILHA describes the book as “a remarkably thorough study of workers and their city of Hamilton, Ontario, over a fifty-year period, 1890-1940.” The ILHA statement adds that Lunch-Bucket Lives reveals “the inner dynamics of labor situated in an environment of deep anti-labor hostility, political struggles, community cross-pressures, societal and economic upheavals that, taken together, drove changes in the labor sphere. The limits of labor power are explored and close attention to the political actors given, including conservative, liberal, socialist, communist, and independent progressive tendencies, yet without a worn, cold-war ideological framework.”

NYLHA history awards announced

The New York Labor History Association has announced its award competition for 2016. The awards “recognize series study in labor and work history.” Available are the Barbara Wertheimer Prize for the best undergraduate research paper and the Bernard Bellush Prize for best graduate student research paper. Both awards offer a $250 award. Entrants should send (email acceptable) one copy of their paper to Brian Greenberg, Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ 07764, bgreenbe@monmouth.edu . The deadline is June 15, 2016. For more, visit NYLHA Wertheimer and Bellush Prizes .

Success in correcting Oregon labor history

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 2.07.31 PMOregon trustee Norm Diamond has succeeded in correcting the labor history surrounding a new Portland bar named after the notorious Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen (4Ls).

“After extensive exchanges with the bar owner,”, Diamond provided the real story behind the 4Ls for posting to their web site. The site now includes some of his suggested wording: http://loyallegionpdx.com/about/where-did-the-name-loyal-legion-come-from/

The welcome changes came after Diamond published his comments in the March 16 Northwest Labor Press.

“The 4Ls was far from a union in any meaningful sense,” wrote Diamond. “It was a World War I-era organization specifically created by the U.S. War Department to undermine labor organizing in the woods (IWW) and mills (AFL).” In fact, the 4Ls, founded in 1917, broke a logger and lumber workers’ strike jointly orchestrated by both labor organizations.

“It’s important to hold onto our heritage and not let it be distorted,” Diamond concluded. “That history is all around us.” As an example, he notes that the building where the bar is located “hosted Ku Klux Klan rallies when the KKK was a Portland political power in the 1920s.”

See the full story here: https://nwlaborpress.org/2016/03/return-of-the-loyal-legion/

PNLHA members’ work at California film festival

rosiereelWashington trustee Michael Honey and Oregon vice-president Ron Verzuh have films entered in official competition at the 2016 Reel Work Labor Film Festival this spring in Santa Cruz, CA.

Honey’s Love and Solidarity, a portrait of civil rights movement veteran Reverend James M. Lawson Jr., will be screened on Friday, April 22, under the theme “Labor History For Working People.”

rwtitleVerzuh’s two short documentary films, Joe Hill’s Secret Canadian Hideout and Remembering Salt, about the controversial 1950s film Salt of the Earth, will be screened on Monday, April 25, Santa Cruz, CA.

For a full schedule visit www.reelwork.org .