Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Few regions have experienced a labor history as dramatic or as consequential as the Pacific Northwest. Unions and labor radicals have helped shape Washington, Oregon, and Idaho since the late 19th century.

This project assembles the most extensive online collection of materials about labor history for this, 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.

Labor Yearbooks

We have also compiled year-by-year chronicles of labor activism for certain decades. These Labor Yearbooks are a unique resource. In detail never before attempted we have sifted the key labor newspapers of Washington State creating a database of hundreds of strikes, boycotts, organizing campaigns, and other labor initiatives for each year. Digital copies of original news items are part of the Yearbook.

Labor Press

Labor journalism has always been an important subset of American media and one of the keys to effective organizing and labor's political influence. Here are profiles of more than 50 union and radical newspapers that have published in the region since the 1890s.

Photos, Newsreels, Films

Here are hundreds of digitized historical photographs and several important films and newsreels.

Mapping Labor History

Here are interactive maps, including a walking tour of Seattle General Strike sites, locations of Hoovervilles, CCC camps, and waterfront workers history. In addition, there are more than a dozen maps tracking racial and ethnic distributions.

Subject Areas

Below are links to more than one hundred essays, maps, timelines, and photo collections organized in the following categories.

Timber Workers
Farm Workers
Cannery Workers
Longshore Workers
Maritime Workers
Shipyard Workers
Aerospace Workers
Construction Workers
1919 Seattle General Strike
1934 Longshore Strike
Unemployed and Hoovervlles
Public Works and Workers
Latino Workers
Women Workers
Black Workers
Asian-American Workers
Industrial Workers of the World
Communist Party
Washington Commonwealth Federation
Black Panther Party
Red Scares and Anti-Labor Action
Labor Culture, Labor Arts
Labor Newspapers
Harry Bridges

About the project

. This site is one of a collection of Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects based at the University of Washington under the direction of Professor James Gregory.