John L. Lewis

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper: The Long, Slow Death Spiral of America’s Labor Movement
June 06, 2012

Many commentators have correctly observed that the reelection of Governor Scott Walker is a grave blow to unions, especially public sector unions. They went all in to defeat Walker and, despite the great outpouring of protest last year against his collective bargaining bill, he won by a greater margin this time than he did in 2010. But something else was exemplified by the Wisconsin results. It’s not that unions can’t win a defensive fight.

In TNR, the Working Class Has Disappeared
September 06, 2010

Once upon a time, The New Republic ran detailed, empathetic articles about the lives, ideas, and activism of American workers. “They seem easygoing, good-humored and straightforward Southerners,” wrote Edmund Wilson in a 1931 essay about the coal-miners of West Virginia, “so much in the old tradition of American backwoods independence that it is almost impossible to realize they have actually been reduced to the condition of serfs.” In 1966, Maury Maverick Jr. joined a mass march by Texas farmworkers that ended on Labor Day, on the steps of the state capitol building.

Change to Lose
April 14, 2010

There will be a mixed reaction to Andy Stern’s forthcoming resignation as the head of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Many in the labor movement, even inside SEIU, will rejoice that he is out. But many friends of the labor movement like myself, who share its ideals but don’t have to live with its daily travail, will regard Stern’s departure with foreboding—as another step downward in labor’s descent. During the last decade, Stern, who took the helm of SEIU in 1996, burnt many of his bridges inside the labor movement.

Creation Myth
September 10, 2008

In late October 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.

Creation Myth
September 10, 2008

IN LATE OCTOBER 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.

The Next Four Years
November 25, 1936

This is the first of a series of articles on various aspects of the next four years in American life. The other contributors are: Secretary Henry A. Wallace, Under-secretary Rexford G. Tugwell, Morris L. Cooke, John L. Lewis, Dr. Arthur E. Morgan, Professor Thomas Reed Powell, Bruce Bliven and George Soule.—THE EDITORS. In a cloudburst of votes, the people washed away "Jeffersonian" Democrats, assorted big shots, newspapers, in a deluge of hilarious bitterness—and when the sun rose bright and shiny, there was Franklin D.