Annelise Orleck is a professor of history, Jewish studies, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States (1995); The Soviet Jewish Americans (1999); Storming Caesar's Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty (2005); and Rethinking American Women's Activism (2014). She is also a coeditor of The Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right (1997), with Alexis Jetter and Diana Taylor, and The War on Poverty, 1969-1980: A New Grassroots History (2011), with Lisa Gayle Hazirjian. Her newest book is entitled "We Are All Fast Food Workers Now": The Global Uprising against Poverty Wages (2018).
This talk traces the resurgence of global labor activism in the second decade of the 21st century, examining how low-wage workers, farmers and farm workers have shaped a distinctively modern labor movement that also echoes strategies and demands of a century ago. Taking as its jumping off point the 2011 hundredth anniversary commemorations of the Triangle factory fire, the talk traces the responses of global labor to the globalization of capital and media, the erosion of labor unions, decline in real wages. It moves from the U.S.-Based Fight for $15 campaign to the global campaign by garment workers from Bangladesh to Cambodia to Honduras, to the global struggles of fast food workers, Walmart workers, farm workers and hotel housekeepers.