(Stewart Bird, Deborah Shaffer, US 1979, 89 min., DCP)
Founded in Chicago in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) took to organizing unskilled workers into one big union and changed the course of American history. This compelling documentary of the IWW (or “The Wobblies” as they were known) tells the story of workers on the docks and in factories, sawmills, wheat fields, forests, mines as they organize and demand better wages, healthcare, overtime pay, and safer working conditions. In some respects, men and women, Black and white, skilled and unskilled workers joining a union and speaking their minds seems so long ago, but in other ways, the film mirrors today’s headlines, depicting a nation torn by corporate greed. Filmmakers Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Bird weave history, archival film footage, interviews with former workers (now in their 80s and 90s), cartoons, original art, and classic Wobbly songs (many written by Joe Hill) to pay tribute to the legacy of these rebels who paved the way and risked their lives for the many of the rights that we still have today. Restored by the Museum of Modern Art and recently inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, this new version represents the best way to see this classic labor film.
Introduction and post-screening discussion led by Jon Garlock, labor historian.
Upcoming Events in this Series
Labor Film Series This compelling documentary of the Industrial Workers of the World (or “The Wobblies” as they were known) tells the story of workers on the docks and in factories, sawmills, wheat fields, forests, mines as they organize and demand better wages, healthcare, overtime pay, and safer working conditions. Introduction and post-screening discussion led by Jon Garlock, labor historian.
Labor Film Series In 2014, Chinese billionaire Cao Dewong opened a Fuyao auto glass manufacturing plant near Dayton, Ohio, six years after General Motors shuttered their plant there. For the local workforce, this represented a new opportunity for hope, to once again earn regular employment and security for their families.
Labor Film Series A documentary about the American Dream, Family Business focuses on a single family in Muncie, Indiana. Howie Snyder has seemingly done everything right. After serving his country in the US Marine Corps, he returns home to his wife and nine children hoping to start his own business, purchasing a franchise in the Shakey’s Pizza chain.