Labor History

This region has a vibrant and active labor legacy, however it has not been fully documented online, as some articles and books on labor history in this region can be difficult to locate, unless you already know who and what to search for on various sites.

On this page I provide links and resources which uncover the rich contribution of labor,

milestones in local labor history, the contributions of ethnic groups in our past and present workforce, plus biographies of notable persons in local labor history.

I would like to thank Jim Kelly (and the Labor Studies Department at San Jose City College), for inspiration and generosity in sharing his knowledge and resources.

Please see my "Industry & Architecture" and "Water & Agriculture" Pages for more information on historic, local industries. (This page is under construction.)

Architecture, Public Works, and Monuments: 

  • In 1935 the Daughters of the American Revolution transcribe the U.S. Census as a WPA project. This link is for the Santa Clara County portion of that project. 
  • The San Jose Main Post Office, another WPA Project listed in this PAC San Jose online collection of heritage San Jose buildings. 
  • Living New Deal, a U.C. Berkeley Dept. of Geography blog, has a listing of WPA projects in San Jose with informative text, but not all projects listed have related images. 

Ethnic Groups in Labor:

Famous Names in Local Labor History:

  • Jack London's Bay Area Roots - A San Jose Mercury News article which includes references to Jack London's advocacy of socialism during lectures to students involved with producing "The Normal," a publication of San Jose State Normal School's English Studies students. (Early San Jose State University, a teacher's college, was referred to as, "The Normal.") The article also covers London's trips to San Jose. 

Farm Workers and Agribusiness:

  • Factories in the Field - A book on the plight of Dust Bowl families, migratory farm workers, and the growth of Agribusiness in California.
  • The Brocero History Archive - Web site covering the history of the Federal Brocero program, which brought millions of guest Mexican workers to the United States, from 1942 to 1964.

General Regional Labor History:

ILWU and Longshoremen:

---Catherine Alexander Bright,