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Featured Research

About

Since 1999, the Bridges Center has sponsored many different web-based projects.

Web-based research has become an increasingly important tool for making labor studies materials widely available, to educators as well as the general public.

WA State Labor Research

In-depth labor policy and industry analysis in Washington State

Labor Studies Research

Important faculty and graduate student research across disciplines

Prize-Winning Papers

The best Labor Studies graduate and undergraduate papers

Working Groups

Original research based in faculty/community partnerships

Working Papers Series

Lectures and scholarly papers published by the Bridges Center

Other Projects

Conferences, forums and other special projects


Pacific Northwest
Civil Rights and Labor History Projects

Directed by

James N. Gregory, Professor of History, Harry Bridges Endowed Chair of Labor Studies (Emeritus)

These online oral history and research projects explore the labor and civil rights history of the Pacific Northwest region. The seven projects bring together nearly one hundred oral history interviews and several thousand photographs, documents, and digitized newspaper articles. They also feature more than one hundred research reports written by undergraduate and graduate students who have participated in classes linked to the projects.

The civil rights and labor history projects have been profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education (5/24/02) and rated among the 250 most important online U.S. history resources by the authors of History Matters: A Student Guide to U.S. History Online. The National Council on Public History calls one project "the most complete set of resources about civil rights struggles for any city outside the South".

These projects have been quoted in scholarly studies and major newspapers and they are currently used in numerous history and social studies classes at the college and k-12 level. Collectively, these sites have been visited by more than one million online users.

Click on a project title below to visit it.

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

This online multimedia project explores the history of movements for racial and economic justice in Seattle and western Washington state.

The civil rights movement in Seattle started well before the celebrated struggles in the South in the 1950s and 1960s and the Seattle movement relied not just on African American activists but also Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and some elements of the region's labor movement.

This online resource features more than 80 oral history interviews with former activists as well as hundreds of photographs, documents, and research reports.

STRIKES! Labor History Encyclopedia for the Pacific Northwest

STRIKES! assembles the most extensive online collection of materials about labor history for the Pacific Northwest, or any other, region. Here you will find detailed information and primary sources about key historical events, including the Seattle General Strike of 1919, the unemployed movements and labor crusades of the 1930s, farmworker campaigns from the 1930s to 1980s, timber worker unions, waterfront strikes, Filipino cannery worker unions, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the history-making WTO confrontation of 1999.

Among the site's many features include a year-by-year compilation of labor activism for select decades, creating a databse of hundreds of strikes, boycotts, organizing campaigns and other labor initiatives for each year. Additionally, a survey of labor newspapers offers digitized copies of eight different publications, along with historical reports on specific papers.

Waterfront Workers History Project

The Waterfront Workers History Project explores the history of the men and women who have worked in the ports, the inland waterways, the fisheries, canneries, and other waterfront industries of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.

The site features numerous videos, photos, digital reproductions of important labor publications, and much more. Highlights include more than 250 photographs of waterfront workers and union activities; a complete digital collection of the historic Waterfront Worker newspaper; and an an important collection of videos about Harry Bridges and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

Great Depression in Washington State Project

The Great Depression first shattered and then rebuilt the economy of Washington State, leaving it with roads, bridges, dams, and a new electric grid that set the stage for rapid industrial growth. It rearranged the state's politics, ending decades of Republican rule, setting up a powerful labor movement, a new Democratic Party, and a new set of political priorities. It ended prohibition and launched new cultural institutions. It saw the creation of parks and trails and the realization of a long struggle to create the Olympic National Park. By the end of the 1930s, Washington was a different place, its future beginning to come clear even before World War II turned the state into an aerospace center and industrial powerhouse.

This multimedia website explores this important decade. On it you will find detailed accounts of issues, incidents, institutions, and people, along with hundreds of photographs, documents, and news articles from the period.

Pacific Northwest Antiwar and Radical History Project

Antiwar movements have never been separate from movements for civil rights, union recognition, and social change. In the Pacific Northwest, labor unions and socialists played a large part in the movement against World War I, while civil rights activism paved the way for the growth of the antiwar movement during the Vietnam era.

This project multimedia web project chronicles the rich history of antiwar activity in the Northwest with video oral histories, hundreds of photographs and documents, GI underground newspapers, movement biographies, and research reports.

Communism in Washington State - History and Memory Project

Communism made a larger impact on Washington than almost any other state. "There are forty-seven states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington," Postmaster General James Farley joked in 1936. The remark, for all its exaggeration, had some foundation.

This online project explores the controversial history of the Communist Party in the Pacific Northwest from 1919 to the present. It features streaming video oral history interviews with Party members, hundreds of newspaper articles and photographs, and a detailed history of the CP in Washington State.

Seattle General Strike Project

The Seattle General Strike of 1919 was the first city-wide strike anywhere in the United States to be proclaimed a "general strike." This online multi-media project explores the strike and the early 20th century history of labor and radicalism in the state of Washington. It features rare film footage, dozens of research essays, photographs, and documents.

Seattle Black Panther Party - History and Memory Project

The Black Panther Party for Self Defense established its Seattle chapter in the spring of 1968. It was one of the first to be created outside of California.

This project explores the history of the Seattle Chapter. Included are video oral history interviews with 13 former members, a detailed account of the party's early history, more than 100 photographs, documents, and BPP publications, digitized newspaper articles from 1968-1978, and a copy of the transcripts and exhibits from 1970 Congressional hearings into the activities of the chapter.

Chicano/a Movement in Washington State History Project

This multi-media project documents a generation of activism by Chicano students and community activists from the mid 1960s to the 1980s. It comprises the most comprehensive online resource for exploring the history of Latino activism in the Pacific Northwest.

Included are more than a dozen video oral histories, several photographic collections, a detailed history of the movement, rare documents, important essays, and an archive of digitized newspaper articles, nearly 300 in number.

United Farm Workers in Washington State

The purpose of this project is to share the personal stories of farm workers and those involved in the struggle for farm worker rights in Washington State. This site is by no means comprehensive and is in fact a very small beginning, but we hope that the interviews and photographs spur interest in the rights of farm workers and give a voice to the people who have been key to the success of agricultural business in Washington State - the workers themselves.

The interviews contained on this site give unique insight into the thoughts and lives of the people actively struggling for respect and dignity in farm work. This is our attempt at sharing personal stories from the grape boycott of the 1960s through the strike and success at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, to the current concerns of legal health protections and unionization of other farm workers.

The Labor Press Project

Labor media has been a critical part of American labor movements since the early 19th century and an equally critical part of the history of American journalism. This online project brings together information about the history and ongoing influence of newspapers and periodicals published by unions, labor councils, and radical organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

Workers and Unions of UW

More than 30,000 people work at the University of Washington, making UW one of the largest employers in the state. More than 10,000 of UW's employees belong to unions or professional organizations.

This project is a resource for learning more about the University of Washington and the people who make it work. Here you will find information about the work experiences of employees, about the unions and associations that represent them, and about issues and events affecting academic workers.

Web-Based Projects

Since 1999, the Bridges Center have sponsored ten different web-based projects.

Click on a project title to the right to visit it.

Brand Responsibility Project

depts.washington.edu/brandrp/

The Brand Responsibility Project is a working group funded by the Bridges Center to to develop an oral and digital history project documenting the recent and historic dispute settlement between Nike Inc. and the Central General de Trabajadores of Honduras (CGT).

The working group has developed a website based on materials collected for an archive housed at the University of Washington. The site documents key negotiations in the Nike case as well as two other apparel industry cases (involving Russell Athletics and Gear for Sports) in which global brands have changed labor practices in direct response to pressure from universities.

Available on the website are audio and video of interviews conducted by the Project. Additionally, the site features a collection of media coverage of the apparel labor disputes, as well as numerous links to relevant resources and organizations.

Race, Class, & Work-Life Balance: Exploring Intersectionality in the Domains of Work and Care

depts.washington.edu/sswweb/bridgesctr/

In 2005, the Bridges Center undertook a major initiative to expand scholarship, activism, and awareness on the subject of caring labor. The caring labor initiative not only produced a major conference, but also was the seed of many productive conversations across faculty and graduate students from various departments a cross campus.

The "Race, Class, & Work-Life Balance: Exploring Intersectionality in the Domains of Work and Care," first funded in Fall 2006 carries this focus on caring labor in to the next several years. The website includes the original concept paper, information on past events, links to relevant articles, and more.

Tacoma Community History Project

content.lib.washington.edu/tacomacommweb/

The Tacoma Community History Project gathers oral histories created by University of Washington Tacoma students enrolled in courses taught by Professor and Harry Bridges Chair Emeritus Michael Honey.

Since 1990, the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program has offered courses in oral history at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. In these classes, students learn the methodology of conducting oral history, interview community members, and compile projects that document the history of local individuals, organizations, and communities. The collection includes over sixty projects on churches, labor unions, military institutions, ethnic communities, neighborhoods, businesses, civic leaders, and prominent citizens in Tacoma and the South Puget Sound. Over fifty are now available digitally through the UW Libraries Digital Collections.

Union Democracy Reexamined

depts.washington.edu/ilwu

The Union Democracy Reexamined project explores the ILWU historical stance and the great strides taken ensure its democratic tradition. It also examines the willingness of the ILWU to affiliate with unions domestically and internationally, which demonstrates a commitment to worldwide labor solidarity. Union rank-and-file efforts have entrenched the same ethic in the character of the ILWU. Furthermore, it also examines controversies in the history of the ILWU for evidence of democratic governance by studying union documents and third party records.

This website includes full-color posters, presentations, scholarly papers, and the latest updates on the project's progress.

WTO History Project

http://depts.washington.edu/wtohist/

The WTO History Project, a joint effort of several programs at the University of Washington - the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, the Digital Initiatives project and the Manuscripts, Special Collections and University Archives (MSCUA) division of the University Libraries - seeks to make a wide array of resources available to researchers and the interested public via the Internet.

The project is dedicated to ensuring that any account ever written of the WTO protests be attentive to the range of people who turned out, the varieties of strategies and issues they brought to the streets and meeting rooms, and the coalitions that emerged and failed. By its very existence, the WTO History project ensures that serious scholars and journalists must pay attention to the many facets of this multi-faceted and historical set of world events.