The Power of Unions Past and Present

Flyer of The Power of Unions - details of program, bottom left headshot of author Lane Windham and bottom right book Cover of Knocking on Labor's door, teal and white background

Posted in Event Announcements G+JI Events Lectures

When: 03/23/2021 @ 12:00pm-1:15pm EST Where: Zoom

A Book Talk and discussion on the power of union organizing with DC-based organizers.

This program is sponsored by the  Gender+ Justice Initiative and the DC Public Library.

Join us in hosting Dr. Lane Windham, organizer and historian, for a discussion on her book Knocking on Labor’s Doors, Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide (UNC Press 2017). 

Knocking on Labor’s Doors received the Organization of American Historians’ 2018 David Montgomery Award

Dr. Windham will be in conversation with two organizers from DC Jobs with Justice. Drawing from Dr. Windham’s research,  the discussion will explore past and present workers’ organizing and unionizing and highlight the contributions of women, people of color, young workers, and those too-often erased by dominant narratives. In addition, speakers will share their work supporting workers’ rights and advancing intersectional labor justice amid a global health and economic crisis.


Dr. Lane Windham (she/her), Historian, Organizer and Associate Director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor 

Ina Padua (they/them), Organizer, DC Jobs with Justice

Eliana Rondon (she/her), Organizer, DC Jobs with Justice

About the author:

Lane Windham is an experienced organizer, educator, historian and activist. She holds a doctoral degree in U.S. history and her book about union organizing in the 1970s, Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide, was awarded the Organization of American Historians’ 2018 David Montgomery Award. Windham spent nearly twenty years working in the union movement, including as media outreach director for the national AFL-CIO and as a union organizer in the South. Windham’s current research focuses on the intersection of gender, race and class, and how working people can build power by forging a new social contract. She has published widely on issues of class, race, gender, economic justice and the future of work, and is a frequent guest commentator in the media. She is active with the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA) and is on the Advisory Committee of Labor and Research Action Network (LRAN). Windham directs WILL Empower, an ambitious collaborative project with Rutgers University to promote women’s leadership in the labor movement and the struggle for economic justice.  

Book summary:

Knocking on Labor’s Doors (2017): Recounting how employees attempted to unionize against overwhelming odds, Knocking on Labor’s Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor’s future. Windham’s story inspires both hope and indignation, and is a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women’s history.

More info and purchase the book