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labor Labor Podcasts and Audio Documentaries

There’s a wealth of podcasts and audio documentaries now available, from single episodes to miniseries and weekly shows. 

Fragile Juggernaut podcast

There’s a wealth of podcasts and audio documentaries now available, from single episodes to miniseries and weekly shows. We listed some of those in a November 2020 post, but new ones are now available!

The Labor Radio Network lists over 200 shows, but here are a few highlights (with links in bold):


Fragile Juggernaut: What was the CIO?  Haymarket Originals

What is there to learn from the history of industrial workers’ struggles in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s? This is the question taken on across twenty or so episodes by the six hosts of the podcast: Tim Barker, Andrew Elrod, Ben Mabie, Alex Press, Emma Teitelman, and Gabriel Winant—we like to call ourselves the Fragile Juggernaut Organizing Committee. Fragile Juggernaut will present the odyssey of American labor as a historical narrative, but also as a source of inspiration and example, a litany of strategic innovations and acts of courage and compromise, and a site of interpretive and political disagreement. How can we appropriate their triumphs and defeats as lessons for our moment?

Organize the Unorganized with Benjamin Fong, Jacobin

There have been many moments of labor upsurge in America: the influx of members into the Knights of Labor in 1886, the dramatic growth of unions during and after World War I, and the great wave of public sector unionism in the 1960s and ‘70s. But none matches the period of the 1930s and ‘40s, when millions of workers unionized under the aegis of the great labor federation, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO. If we’re looking to get millions of private-sector workers into the labor movement today, there’s no better example than the ascendant period of the CIO.

Reinventing SolidarityCUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies and the New Labor Forum

The podcast features scholars, activists, and artists on the front lines of movements for social and economic justice.

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Black Work Talk, with Bianca Cunningham and Jamala Rogers, Convergence Magazine

Black Work Talk is a show that elevates the voices of Black labor, workers, leaders, activists, and intellectuals in discussions on the connections between race, labor, capitalism and culture in the struggle for progressive governing power. On season three of Black Work Talk, new hosts Bianca Cunningham and Jamala Rogers explore the impact of 2023’s strike wave in conversations with rank and file workers from unions that have fought or are still fighting for better, more equitable contracts in 2023; including the UAW, Teamsters, Writers Guild of America and more. Where did the energy for this wave of labor movements come from, what does it mean for black workers, and where does it go from here? They also open the conversation by calling in the 90% of American workers who have yet to organize in their workplace with an ongoing accessible and educational series on the process of organizing and filing to start a union from scratch. (Seasons 1 and 2 hosted by Steven Pitts)/.

Working People PodcastMaximillian Alvarez, In These Times

This is a podcast by, for, and about the working class today (in partnership with In These Times magazine). Working People is a podcast about working-class lives in 21st-century America. In every episode you'll hear interviews with workers from around the country, from all walks of life. We'll talk about their life stories, their jobs, politics, and families, their joys and hopes and frustrations. Working People aims to share and celebrate the diverse stories of working-class people, to remind ourselves that our stories matter, and to build a sense of shared struggle and solidarity between workers around the country.

Class MattersAdolph Reed

Working people in the United States, to an alarming degree, have lost faith in government’s ability to serve our needs. That is an understandable outcome of nearly a half-century of bipartisan government-bashing and attacks on public goods in service to a neoliberal agenda of retrenchment, privatization, and attacks on unions and workers’ rights. If we cannot effectively address working people’s concerns with concrete, plausible programs and initiatives, those dangerous political tendencies are likely to grow in strength. Class Matters: The Podcast exposes the propaganda undermining worker faith in government and provides a forum to discuss a strategic road map for building a country that works for working people.  We advocate a strategy based on solidarity, or what unites us, not what divides us. Join us for in-depth, insightful discussions with union leaders and members, with academics and with activists.

Workers RockAmorette Miller

Workers Rock is a podcast that focuses on the fact that we can change the future of work across the globe. Meet workers' rights defenders, advocates, historians, union leaders and human resources professionals who have one thing in common, the desire to change what is work for the masses.

Continent of Resistance, by Kevin Lin & Kriangsak Teera-Hong, Asian Labour Review

Continent of Resistance features conversations about strategies of building power within Asian labour movements. We talk with grassroots organizers and researchers from across Asia, followed by highlights from the world of work in Asia. The monthly podcast is co-produced and co-hosted by Kevin Lin (Managing Editor of Asian Labour Review) and Kriangsak (Kiang) Teera-Hong (Managing Director of Just Economy and Labour Institute). 

The Solidarity Center Podcast, Shawna Bader-Blau, Solidarity Center AFL-CIO

Billions of Us, One Just Future. Conversations with workers (& other smart people) worldwide. Shaping the workplace for the better.


At Sword's PointNew England Public Media

American labor unions have seen an incredible resurgence in recent years, which begs the question: why were they in decline in the first place? "At Sword’s Point" revisits a pivotal moment in American history, when the furious power of Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare found its first true target, and when the dismantling of American organized labor began. But this isn’t a story of workers caving in the face of mass hysteria; this is the story of a rural town where, against all expectations, the workers fought back. This hour-long radio documentary, hosted by public historian Tom Goldscheider, recounts these dramatic events of the early 1950s, while also providing important context on the machine tool industry of Greenfield, Massachusetts — once a center of global innovation — as well as the origins of the United Electrical Workers Union, or UE.

Practical RadicalsDeepak Bhargava and Stephanie Luce, Episode 3: Base-Building in the Labor Movement with Greg Nammacher of SEIU Local 26

Today’s episode focuses on base-building in the labor movement, especially the thrilling upsurge in Minnesota, where workers next week (March 2-9, 2024) are preparing to launch a massive, unprecedented general strike. Our guest is Greg Nammacher, president of SEIU Local 26, which represents janitorial, security, airport, and retail workers, and is a key player in this upcoming week of action. When he came to the local sixteen years ago, it was led by Javier Morillo, who wanted to usher in a new era of union democracy and militancy. And it worked! Local 26’s membership has doubled, and by embracing base-building and a “bargaining for the common good” framework, and not being afraid to strike, they’ve won astonishing victories that point the way for union success around the country. Nammacher’s interview is full of gems organizers need to hear: how to foster unity when members speak many languages; how to build “alignments,” not just coalitions or alliances; how to make organizing fun; and how to use social media smartly to build worker networks.  Greg says American labor is in “an incredible moment, and we won’t get a lot of these. And so how do we make the most of it, so that our members can have better lives and we can have a long-term voice of power in this country?”

An Organizer Reflects on Where Labor Stands NowJane McAlevey reflects on her life's work, The Brian Lehrer Show

Jane McAlevey, labor organizer, columnist for The Nation and the author of several books, including (with Abby Lawlor) Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Union Negotiations (Oxford University Press, 2023), reflects on her life’s work in organizing and recent wins for labor, and what she sees as crucial for workers to do if they want to continue the positive streak for unions.

Left on RedsSusan Kang and Stylianos Karolidis, "Episode 88: Organizing at Amazon with Amazonians United, featuring Dylan Maraj & Brendan Radtke"

Dylan has been a package handler for Amazon for 3 years and recently joined DSA. Brendan has worked at Amazon for 3 years first as a package handler and now he works as a delivery driver. He joined DSA in 2020. Both are workers organizing the independent union Amazonians United (AU) in Queens NYC.

DeconstructedThe Intercept, Shawn Fain on How the UAW Whipped the Big Three

In late October, after a six-week strike, the United Auto Workers reached a historic contract deal with the big three Detroit automakers. This week, as membership votes to approve the contract are underway, President Joe Biden rallied with the UAW president in Illinois to celebrate the tentative agreement between the union and the automakers. This week on Deconstructed, UAW President Shawn Fain joins Ryan Grim to discuss the victory. Fain was elected president of the union earlier this year by the union membership, in the first UAW election in which members could directly vote for the union president. Fain discusses the recent win, the union election that led to his victory, corruption inside union ranks, and the broader labor reform movement for direct democracy within unions.