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Does America (Still) Need Unions?


Robert H. Zieger

Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, University of Florida

Professor Zieger’s lecture examines connections between the turbulent history of American labor and the present-day circumstances of American workers. Do changing economic conditions and structures of work make organized labor an anachronism in our globalized world? If, on the other hand, a vigorous and autonomous labor movement is a necessary component of a democratic social order, how might knowledge of labor’s struggles in the past be useful in revitalization of the labor movement?


Robert H. Zieger is Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, University of Florida. He is the author, among other books, of American Workers, American Unions (3d ed.; with Gilbert J. Gall; 2002); The CIO, 1935-1955 (1995); and For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America since 1865 (2007). He has twice been the recipient of the Philip A. Taft Prize for the Best Book in American Labor History. He has taught at Kansas State University, the University of Wisconsin, Wayne State University, and the University of Utrecht, as well as at the University of Florida. A full c.v. can be found at

Assigned Reading

Robert H. Zieger and Gilbert J. Gall, American Workers, American Unions: The Twentieth Century (3d ed.; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002); Steven Greenhouse, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker (Knopf, 2008)


A reception will be held at 5pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4335

6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public