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Prize-Winning Papers

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$250 is awarded each year for the best undergraduate and graduate student papers written on a labor-related topic.

Students may submit their own papers, or faculty members may nominate outstanding papers they have read during the course of the year.

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"A World Apart": Union Member Residence Patterns and Political Preferences

Amanda Clayton, Department of Political Science

Examining the ILWU, Teamsters and Maritime Union of Australia, Clayton shows that locals have often been able to achieve a higher degree of unity and a militant political culture when their members live in the same neighborhoods. The paper examines the history and residence patterns of select locals from the three unions and gives in-depth data on these 'occupational communities.'

Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper, 2012-2013

Accumulating Disadvantage: The Growth in the Black-White Wage Gap Among Women

Raine Dozier, Department of Sociology

Over the past two decades, regardless of the economic climate, wage gaps between black and white women have doubled. Black women suffered most in the chilly economic climate of the 1980s and benefited least during the economic expansion of the 1990s. Raine Dozier examines these trends using the sociological research methods of decomposition and relative distribution.

Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper, 2006-2007

The International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America: Organizing Precarious Workers in the CIO Era

Leo Baunach, Jackson School of International Studies

Based on rare records held in the Labor Archives of Washington, Leo Baunach's paper examines a Seattle-based union that once represented more than 25,000 fishermen and cannery workers, the International Fishermen and Allied Workers of America. Only the second scholarly treatment of the IFAWA, the essay explores questions of race and ethnicity in the union and adds to the literature on the history of left-led unions expelled from the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The paper also won the UW Library's 2013 Undergraduate Research Award.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2013-2014

1948 West Coast Maritime Strike: Solidifying the ILWU

Ashley Lindsey, Departments of History and Political Science

Ashley Lindsey's paper tells the story of the ILWU's seminal 1948 strike. Taking place at the height of the Red Scare, the successful strike managed to defy the odds, allowing the ILWU to survive and escape the fate of many other left-led unions of the era. Lindsey's paper also won the UW Library's 2013 Undergraduate Research Award, as well as the Best Paper Award given by the UW Department of History.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2013-2014

Policy by Contract:
Social pacts in Australia and New Zealand

John S. Ahlquist, Department of Political Science

Between 1983 and 1996, Labor governments came to power in both New Zealand and Australia. In Australia, organized labor strengthened its economic and political power, signing a formal pact with the government. Labor fared worse in New Zealand as the government pursued radical deregulation. Speaking with policy makers in both countries and drawing on theories of contracts and social pacts, John Ahlquist explains the different experiences of labor in these two otherwise similar countries.

Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper, 2007-2008

The Precariousness of Life: Undocumented and Migrant Farming through the Perspectives of Ethics, Religion, and Spirituality

David Chen, Comparitive History of Ideas

Rooted in the narratives of four activists – an undocumented woman, a migrant farmworker, and two Catholic allies/supporters – this essay seeks to understand migrant farming and immigration activism through the lenses of ethics, religion, and spirituality. Chen explores three moments of immigration – Movement, Indignities, and Action – through the lenses of the writing of Giorgio Agamben and Judith Butler, and two sites of immigration: Sakuma Brothers Farm and the Northwest Detention Center.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2014-2015

Pushed Ashore: Coast Guard Screening on the Seattle Waterfront

Elizabeth Poole

In 1951, the United States Coast Guard published new guidelines requiring all Seattle dockworkers and merchant seamen to apply for security clearance passes. While the program claimed to be screening labor for Communism in the name of national security, the program was in fact aimed at breaking the strength of waterfront unions. Providing a history of the program through a study of local cases on the Seattle waterfront, Elizabeth Pool recounts how workers responded with campaigns in both the public areana and the courtroom. In addition to the Best Paper in Labor Studies, Poole's paper recieved the UW Library's 2011 Undergraduate Research Award.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2011-2012

Racial Inequality in Wealth: Do Labor Unions Matter?

Jon Agnone, Department of Sociology

A large disparity of wealth exists between black and Hispanics households and white households in the United States. Jon Agnone explores the effect of union membership on the ability of workers to accumulate wealth, and asks whether the benefits of union jobs help to narrow this racial disparity in wealth.

Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper, 2009-2010

'Speak out when others grow silent:' The Messenger,
the IWW and Debates over New Negro Radicalism

George Robertson, History Major

Following World War I, African American labor radicals sought to develop new theories and new practices in the face of increasing racism and political repression. Looking at The Messenger, the era's largest and most influential leftwing black monthly, George Robertson surveys the political debates among African American labor radicals, and studies their relationship with the predominantly white radical labor organization, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2007-2008

State Austerity Measures and the New Challenge to Collective Bargaining: Outcomes of Anti-Union Legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington State

Christopher Stockwell, Political Science Major

Stockwell provides a broad look at the current wave of austerity measures and attempts to crush public sector unions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Washington. The paper studies inequality, other socioeconomic factors, union density and the political climate in creating the recent turn toward state-level anti-union legislation.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2012-2013

'There Were Years of Neglect:' The Ship Scalers Union and Seattle's Racial Progressivism in the 20th Century

Adam Farley

By allying itself with civil rights organizations, using its union hall as a meeting place for activism, and allowing both communists and African Americans to be freely admitted to its ranks, Seattle's Ship Scaler's Union, Local 541 emerged as a progressive voice and effected some of the most significant civil rights reform in the city, both within and outside of the shipyards. Adam Farley's paper, also recipient of the UW Library's 2011 Undergraduate Research Award, tells the story of the union from the mid-1930s until its dissolution in 1986.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2011-2012

Virtual Soldiers, Affective Laborers: Video Game Designers go to Basic Combat Training

Robertson Allen, Department of Anthropology

Since 2002, the military has released an official video game called America's Army to help with public image and recruitment. The game itself and the working conditions of the workers who designed the game speak to the increasing militarization of American culture and business. Their experiences as civilian contractors working for the military also reflect the shifting boundaries between labor and leisure, virtual and material, and promotion and propaganda. Allen uses interviews and observations of the game development team to examine these trends in the American economy.

Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper, 2010-2011

Wage Theft in Washington: An Examination of Labor & Industries Claims 2009-2013

Isaac M. Sederbaum, Evans School of Public Affairs

Sederbaum uses data from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries to shed light on the state of wage theft in both King County and Washington State. The report creates a detailed snapshot of the current issues regarding wage theft and recommends what can be done to protect workers from employers’ abuses.

Awarded Best Graduate Student Paper, 2014-2015

Waterfront Unionism in Seattle and Tacoma, 1887-1958

Nowell Bamberger, Political Science major

Despite sharing economic, geographic and political environments, Local 19 (Seattle) and Local 23 (Tacoma) of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union took different paths in their early history - one radical, the other more conservative. Yet despite their divergent histories, the union locals today appear to be in very similar situations. Nowell Bamberger examines the differences and similarities of the two locals, looking for insights into union democracy and solidarity.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2005-2006

Why Washington State Doesn't Have an Income Tax: The 1930's Campaign for Tax Reform and Origins of Washington’s Tax System

Nathan Riding

In the 1930s, a movement for tax reform gained significant support in Washington State amidst the Great Depression and an aging tax system that disproportionately targeted farmers. Capitalizing on widespread discontent with economic conditions, the Washington State Grange led the charge for an income tax throughout the 1930s. Faced with staunch opposition from the governor and businesses-people, their efforts were thwarted and Washington established a new tax system that still lacked an income tax. Nathan Riding explores the reasons for the movement's failure and the ramifications for today's recession.

Awarded Best Undergraduate Student Paper, 2010-2011

Prize-Winning
Papers

A complete listing of all prize-winning papers in Labor Studies, in reverse chronological order from the present to 1992.

Complete Listing

2012-2013

    Best Undergraduate Papers

    State Austerity Measures and the New Challenge to Collective Bargaining: Outcomes of Anti-Union Legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington State
    Christopher Stockwell, Political Science

    Best Graduate Paper

    "A World Apart": Union Member Residence Patterns and Political Preferences
    Amanda Clayton, Political Science

2011-2012

    Best Undergraduate Papers

    'There Were Years of Neglect:' The Ship Scalers Union and Seattle's Racial Progressivism in the 20th Century
    Adam Farley

    Pushed Ashore: Coast Guard Screening on the Seattle Waterfront
    Elizabeth Poole

2010-2011

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Why Washington State Doesn't Have an Income Tax: The 1930's Campaign for Tax Reform and Origins of Washington's Tax System
    Nathan Riding

    Best Graduate Paper

    Virtual Soldiers, Affective Laborers: Video Game Designers go to Basic Combat Training
    Roberston Allen, Anthropology

2009-2010

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Brotherhood across the sea: Black internationalism and transnational labor solidarity in the National Union of Marine Cooks and Stewards, 1945-1955
    George Robertson, History

    Best Graduate Paper

    Racial Inequality in Wealth: Do Labor Unions Matter?
    Jon Agnone, Sociology

2008-2009

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Press Openness in China: A Comparative Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of Labor Disputes
    Vi L. Nahn, Political Science and International Studies

2007-2008

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    'Speak out when others grow silent:' The Messenger, the IWW and Debates over New Negro Radicalism
    George Roberston, History

    Best Graduate Paper

    Policy by Contract: Social pacts in Australia and New Zealand
    John Ahlquist, Political Science

2006-2007

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    The Trend of Union Density in the United States and Canada: Why the Divide?
    Melanie Harding, Political Science

    Best Graduate Paper

    Accumulating Disadvantage: The Growth in the Black-White Wage Gap Among Women
    Raine Dozier, Sociology

2005-2006

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Waterfront Unionism in Seattle and Tacoma, 1887-1958
    Nowell Bamberger, Political Science

    Labor, Culture, and the Roots of an Asian American Radical Tradition: The Case of Filipino Workers during the Interwar Years
    Simeon Man

    Best Graduate Paper

    The Context of Discrimination: Workplace Conditions, Institutional Environments, and Race and Sex Discrimination Charges
    Elizabeth Hirsch and Sabino Kornrich, Sociology

2003-2004

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Ages, Regions, Finances & Efficiencies: An Examination of an ILWU Constitutional Amendment and its Affect Upon Union Democracy
    Devin Kelly, Sociology

    Best Graduate Paper

    No Separate Peace: Militant Protest, Civil Disorder, and the Struggle for Affirmative Action in the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Unions
    Trevor Griffey, History

2002-2003

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Pike Place Market: The Transformation of the Cultural Landmark
    Erin Peinado

    Best Graduate Paper

    'So much life': Retrenchment in the Cold War
    Roberta Gold, History

2000-2001

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Essay documenting how little most employees could expect from stock options
    Bryan Rogowsky

    Best Graduate Paper

    Research on the affect of immigrants on the metropolitan work force
    April Linton

1999-2000

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    La Raza Comes to Campus: The New Chicano Contingent and Grape Boycott at the University of Washington, 1968-69
    Jeremy Simer, Political Science

    Best Graduate Paper

    Together and Unequal: Nonlinear and Interaction Effects of Occupational Sex Composition on Men's and Women's Wages
    Erich Steinman, Sociology

1997-1998

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Huelga!: The Yakima Valley Hop Strikes of 1970
    Tino Castañeda

    Best Graduate Paper

    Seattle's 'Restaurant Maids': An Historic Context Document for Waitresses' Union, Local 240, 1900-1940
    Carole Davison, Urban Planning

1996-1997

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    Power Plays - A Tail of Two Strikes: The Evolution of the Seattle Guild and its Changing Relationship with Teamster Leader David Beck in 1936 and 1937
    Dan O'Neill

    Best Graduate Paper

    Green Havoc: Panama Disease, Environmental Change and the Organization of Production in the Central American Banana Industry
    Steve Marquart

1994-1995

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    At-Will Employment: A freely Entered Contract Allowing for Employer Intrusion into Employees' Private Lives
    Alissa Eden Halperin

1993-1994

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    A Virtual Revolution
    Susan Brown, Political Science

    American Labor, Bibliographical Essay
    Linda Anderson, Political Science

    Best Graduate Paper

    Democracy without Rights: Corporate Legal Theory, Freedom of Speech, and the Possibilities of Workplace Cooperation
    Richard Marens, School of Law

1992-1993

    Best Undergraduate Paper

    From Neocorporatism to Neoliberalism: Spanish Domestic Politics in the European Community
    Tiffany Meyers, Political Science

    Best Graduate Paper

    The Legitimation of Reproduction: Contested Meanings of Pregnancy in the American Workplace
    Mark Edwards, Sociology