Labor Studies Prof Brings Knowledge to U.K.
Tom Juravich, professor of labor studies and director of the Labor
Center, was in London, March 11-15, teaching a course on “Strategic Corporate Research and Campaigns” for the Trades Union Congress, the U.K.'s labor federation. Addressing union leaders from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, Juravich adapted his model for research and campaigns that has been used by unions across the U.S.
Juravich, originally a mechanic, received his PhD in sociology from
UMass Amherst in 1984. After nine years as an assistant professor at Penn State, he joined the UMass Amherst faculty in 1994. Juravich is also an accomplished folk singer, whose lyrics are grounded in labor movement activism. He has released four CDs, is the author of Chaos on the Shop Floor and Commonwealth of Toil, but remains best known for his book, Ravenswood: The Steelworkers' Victory and the Revival of American Labor, co-authored with Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor research at Cornell.
Ravenswood chronicled a twenty month lock out of 1700 workers in an aluminum plant in West Virginia, and the creative strategic campaign that the Steelworkers Union used to beat one of the richest men in the world. Juravich built on this research and developed a framework and method for conducting strategic research and strategic campaigns that is used through the labor movement in the United States.
Outside the academic setting, Juravich has shown a significant interest in labor culture through music, poems, photography, folk art and stories. For several years, he has been collecting the folk songs and picket line music from the American labor movement. Dovetailing his interest in labor culture and academics, Juravich is collaborating with photographer Paul Shoul on a collection of oral history and workers' stories to be accompanied by photographs of workers and their workplaces. The project, "Bread WithOUT Roses," is a play on the phrase "bread and roses," a call for dignity and workplace respect commonly associated with a 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This book, which documents worsening conditions on in the American workplace, will be out in 2007.
March 26, 2007