Author Talk with Jamie McCallum

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Join us for an in-person talk with award-winning sociologist Jamie K. McCallum on his latest book, Essential: How the Pandemic Transformed the Long Fight for Worker Justice.

About the Book
In Essential, McCallum uncovers the deep roots of essential workers’ rage and reveals how their fight for better jobs during the pandemic revolutionized US labor politics. The outbreak of COVID-19 may have thrown American working life into a tumult, but McCallum shows that decades of inequality and austerity had already left essential workers vulnerable to employer abuse, lacking government protections, and increasingly furious. When the pandemic hit, they were primed to revolt.

Through firsthand research conducted as the pandemic unfolded, McCallum tracks the evolution of workers’ militancy, showing how their struggles for safer workplaces, better pay and universal health care, and the right to unionize benefitted all Americans and spurred a radical new phase of the labor movement. In other words, during the pandemic, workers breathed new life into the old slogan: An injury to one is an injury to all.

Co-hosted by IRLE, the Labor Center, and Berkeley Sociology

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 | 4:00 pm
UC Berkeley Labor Center
IRLE Director’s Room
2521 Channing Way, Berkeley CA