Carlson School of Management

Video Projects

Organizing Strikes and Other Campaigns

APWU: Organizing the Mail

This original LES documentary follows the hard work, risks, victories and defeats of these workers organizing private mail haulers in Greensboro, NC, Pittsburgh, PA and De Moines, IA.

Postal Workers Strike Back

On July 1,1996 postal workers across the nation rallied to express their concerns and inform the public about conditions in the U.S. mail service, especially the threat posed by privatization. Locals from 50 cities sent videotapes to Labor Education, where Howard Kling edited a “Day in America” impression of demonstrations from coast to coast.

Return Our Work /Organizing for Change, Changing to Organize

On May 27, 1998, postal workers across the nation rallied against privatization. APWU members from 26 areas contributed videotapes of the event for this look at the impact of transferring work from public employees to private companies

Immigrants Organizing: Changing the Workplace, Changing the Union

In the spring of 2000, Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 17 staged a strike against Minneapolis area hotels that attracted national attention. The majority of the 1300 workers were immigrants who spoke 17 different languages. Immigrant issues were among the union's core demands, including English classes, compensation for translators and a floating holiday to accommodate diverse religious observances. Labor Education Service videographers followed the strike, taping rallies and interviewing participants to explore union efforts to integrate and unify members from many countries and rectify their working conditions. HERE members came to realize that their union had to change to adapt to foreign-born members, creating some internal conflicts and challenges for their leadership. Ultimately, the struggles of this local influenced the international union and the AFL-CIO to reverse longstanding hostility to immigrants and to support their rights to equal treatment.

A Line in the Sand

In 1992, hotel workers at the Normandy Inn in downtown Minneapolis were terminated from their jobs. Their union, HERE Local 17 fought back with picketing that continued even when a blizzard stopped the buses. The struggle culminated in a sit-down occupation of the lobby, harkening back to the 1930’s, that won back the workers’ jobs and set a milestone in Minnesota labor history.

*Labor's Turning Point

This exciting 43-minute documentary follows the 1934 Minneapolis Truckers Strike. The film relates how this bloody, massive campaign transformed the city from a bastion of the anti-labor Citizens Alliance to a union town. This pivotal struggle was also a catalyst for passage of the National Labor Relations Act, the foundation for today's labor law and collective bargaining in the United States.

cost: $20

*Minneapolis Truckers Make History

This 18-minute program on the 1934 strike summarizes the highlights of Labor’s Turning Point, together with footage of contemporary campaigns and footage of recent installations memorializing the conflict. The program is especially suitable for use in classrooms and is linked to an on-line curriculum.

cost: $20

Organizing for Economic Justice: Parts 1 & 2

Part 1: "Why Organize? Working Conditions and What We Can Do About Them" presents first-person stories about bad treatment on the job and why workers turn to collective action to correct these inequities. Part 2: "Obstacles to Organizing" reveals the tactics used by employers to prevent workers from unionizing, highlighting the experience of Head Start workers in the Twin Cities and Dayton-Hudson employees in the Detroit area.

Organizing for Economic Justice: Part 3

Part 3: "How to Get There: Voices of Hope, Images of Justice" shows successful organizing strategies, emphasizing labor coalitions with religious and other community groups to gain recognition of workers' rights. In the second segment,

Saying "Yes" to an American Dream

Current Minnesota state law excludes many children of undocumented immigrants from higher education by classifying them as "out-of-state" students, even though they may have attended K-12 in Minnesota. The Dream Act would permit these students to qualify for lower in-state tuition rates, opening the doors to college and a greater range of careers and opportunities. The experience and testimonies of several students combine with rallies, lobbying days and the remarks of both Republican and Democratic legislators to make a case for the legislation. The bill passed both houses during the 2005 legislative session, only to be withdrawn after Governor Pawlenty threatened to veto an entire appropriation bill if it retained the provision. Proponents later won a victory in the Minnesota Community Colleges, which dropped the two-tier tuition policy that penalized immigrant students.

Stand for Security, Stand for Justice

The security officers of SEIU Local 26 waged an historic contract campaign and won an unprecedented victory. The union gained widespread community support and used innovative, confrontational tactics in their struggle. Officers were arrested in two actions, the first time security workers in the United States had ever engaged in civil disobedience The program follows the campaign from the strike vote, to rallies, the arrests and the ratification of a contract that provides lower-cost health coverage, increased safety protections, greater job security and higher wages for the workers who keep Twin Cities buildings safe

Seeking Higher Ground: Stories from New Orleans

In September 2008, hurricanes again threaten New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, stimulating highly publicized fundraising for displaced people and repair of potential damage. The needs of those recently evacuated and billions of dollars in damage deserve our attention. But little has been said about the unmet needs of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Almost nothing has appeared in the media about deliberate government policies that have kept hospitals, schools and public housing closed three years after the storm. A group of 70 labor journalists went to New Orleans in October of 2007 to find and report on these and other accounts of the situation of working people in the city two years after Katrina. This show presents some of these stories.

Voices on the Line - Part One

The program takes viewers to the picket lines of striking University of Minnesota clerical workers in 2003. Hear the strikers' first-person stories. Also hear from students and faculty, as well as the University administrators' side of the dispute. This program covers the first week of the strike, up to the student sit-in and includes footage of actions on the Duluth campus.

Voices on the Line - Part Two

This program covers the second week of the strike, the student sit-in and the tentative agreement that ended the strike, plus reflections on the events' significance.

Workers' Rights Are Human Rights

Lance Compa, a professor at Cornell University and 15-year union organizer, authored a report, "Unfair Advantage: Workers' Freedom of Association in the United States Under International Human Rights Standards," published by the Human Rights Watch. In an MAW interview, Compa explains how common U.S. business anti-union practices violate not only American laws, but international standards. He advocates changing the frame of debate in this country from narrow questions of employer/employee relations to globally recognized human rights as an important step in the fight to gain these economic freedoms for American workers.

*The Willmar 8 Revisited

What motivated eight women, living in a small town, to take on the powerful banking industry? Twenty-five years after their groundbreaking strike at a Willmar bank, three of the women involved in this historic struggle recall the issues behind the walkout and talk about the effect it is still having today. The strikers, all women, became known as the Willmar 8 and attracted international attention. Parts of the popular, award-winning original film, The Willmar 8, are used with permission of director, Lee Grant.

cost: $20

 

International/Immigration/globalization

*From Field to Factory: Sugar Beets, Trade and the Future of the Red River Valley/

LES documents the harvesting and processing of sugar beets in the Red River Valley along the Minnesota/North Dakota border, highlighting the central importance of this industry to the region and the potentially devastating impact of the proposed Central American Trade Agreement to this industry and the area's economy.

cost: $20

From Field to Factory Update

UM-LES returned to the sugar beet farmers, processors and the local Main Street businesses to document the region-wide impact of the sugar industry and gauge the effect of the recently passed Central American and Caribbean Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) on the region.

*The FTAA and the Miami Model: Free Trade, Foul Repression

See the police state reaction to November protests in Miami against the Free Trades Area of the Americas talks and hear about the threats to our economy and democracy posed by this potential agreement.

cost: $20

Immigrants Organizing: Changing the Workplace, Changing the Union

In the spring of 2000, Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 17 staged a strike against Minneapolis area hotels that attracted national attention. The majority of the 1300 workers were immigrants who spoke 17 different languages. Immigrant issues were among the union's core demands, including English classes, compensation for translators and a floating holiday to accommodate diverse religious observances. Labor Education Service videographers followed the strike, taping rallies and interviewing participants to explore union efforts to integrate and unify members from many countries and rectify their working conditions. HERE members came to realize that their union had to change to adapt to foreign-born members, creating some internal conflicts and challenges for their leadership. Ultimately, the struggles of this local influenced the international union and the AFL-CIO to reverse longstanding hostility to immigrants and to support their rights to equal treatment.

Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride

In September-October 2003, buses originating from ten cities and carrying over 900 people crossed the United States to raise awareness and build support for immigrants' rights. This documentary follows the 90 riders from Minnesota and Wisconsin on their way to Washington, DC and New York City. We learn of the hardships and dreams that led them to make the journey and the work that remains to reunite families, achieve workplace equity and make sense of a broken immigration policy.

Saying "Yes" to an American Dream

Current Minnesota state law excludes many children of undocumented immigrants from higher education by classifying them as "out-of-state" students, even though they may have attended K-12 in Minnesota. The Dream Act would permit these students to qualify for lower in-state tuition rates, opening the doors to college and a greater range of careers and opportunities. The experience and testimonies of several students combine with rallies, lobbying days and the remarks of both Republican and Democratic legislators to make a case for the legislation. The bill passed both houses during the 2005 legislative session, only to be withdrawn after Governor Pawlenty threatened to veto an entire appropriation bill if it retained the provision. Proponents later won a victory in the Minnesota Community Colleges, which dropped the two-tier tuition policy that penalized immigrant students.

Voices of Worthington

This documentary presents the human side of the December 2006 Swift packing plant raids in six states, including the one in Worthington, MN. About 1,300 immigrant workers were detained and hundreds arrested, leaving children home alone and their families not knowing what happened to their loved ones. MAW presents workers, their friends, union officials, religious leaders, attorneys and others to convey the raid’s impact on this southwestern Minnesota community.

WTO: Making Way for a New Agenda

The protests in Seattle around the World Trade Organization conference forced political leaders and the media to recognize workers’ rights and environmental protection as fundamental to discussions of international trade - issues which formerly had often been excluded from WTO negotiations and mainstream reporting. This program features footage from the streets, as well as reports and analysis from Minnesotans who were there.

Politics

Hot Buttons

This original quiz show style comedy pokes fun at divisive issues which politicians and their consultants use to polarize voters and get them to vote narrowly, against their own economic self interests and against the greater good of the country.

Vote? What Difference Does It Make?

This seven-minute video is an ironic comedy that fights cynicism with cynicism to show that voting makes a big difference. Most people agree with the opening jabs at politicians but have second thoughts as the actor ends up in a stage of complete political detachment.

The Goodness of Our Country is Community

In his speech to the 2000 Minnesota AFL-CIO State Convention in Rochester, Senator Paul Wellstone repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet with his passionate trademark oratory. The senator cited contemporary labor struggles and warned about pending anti-worker bills masked by such benign titles as the Team and Safe Acts. The core of Wellstone's speech was his concern over the prevalent current attitude that "you're on your own," no matter what one's needs or circumstances. In contrast, he advocated a society in which citizens support one another and workers have the right to organize for decent wages, health care and education.

Educational

Getting It Together

Intended to let middle and senior high school students know what unions do, this show follows three young people as they meet union workers in different industries to learn why people join unions and how these organizations benefit their members.

*Minneapolis Truckers Make History

This 18-minute program on the 1934 strike summarizes the highlights of Labor’s Turning Point, together with footage of contemporary campaigns and footage of recent installations memorializing the conflict. The program is especially suitable for use in classrooms and is linked to an on-line curriculum.

cost: $20

*Twin Cities Assembly Plant: A Job and a Family

History of the Ford/UAW plant in St. Paul from its founding in 1924 to the present, as told by workers and managers employed there.

cost: $20

*Marty Levitt: A Dirty Business

A detailed examination of the union busting industry by a former practioner.

cost: $20

*Words from a True Friend: Hubert Humphrey’s Last Speech to Labor

One of the last public appearances by former Senator and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, summarizing his vision of American society and the work of unions that make that vision possible.

cost: $20

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