In discussions about the last global pandemic, the “Spanish flu,” we never hear about the strike wave that kicked off at the exact same time. But in 1919, one-fifth of American workers walked off the job. We shouldn’t be surprised that labor militancy is spreading during today’s coronavirus pandemic.
Joshua Freeman is a professor of history at Queens College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author most recently of Behemoth: The History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World.
Mass unionization in the public sector wasn’t inevitable. New York labor leader Victor Gotbaum helped make it happen.
The resolution of New York City’s fiscal crisis became a template for neoliberals around the world.