Siena Chiang hosts a monthly event, “Author Talks | Learning About Organizing and Labor,” to invite folks into conversation with people writing from across the labor spectrum.
We have been convening author discussions since March, with the goal of creating more spaces in which to learn about the labor movement—past and present—and to think out loud together about what the future holds and how we can make change.
Join us as we continue through a year of monthly author talks with authors, discussing the latest books, essays, journals, and more on the movement and all the big questions you might have about labor broadly. The series is supported by Roy Bahat and Bloomberg Beta.
Time and date changes monthly. Always a weekday afternoon PT / evening ET.
These events are being offered for free. Sign-up for individual salons or book a free series ticket below if you want to be automatically added into all future Learning About Labor book talks.
The Future We Need: Discussing Labor with Erica Smiley (Jobs With Justice) and Sarita Gupta (Ford Foundation) | New Labor Book Series #1
Join us to discuss the future of labor organizing with Erica Smiley and Sarita Gupta, on the eve of the release of their new book: The Future We Need – Organizing for a Better Democracy in the 21st Century.
Fight Like Hell | Discussing the Untold History of American Labor with Kim Kelly – New Labor Book Series #2
Join us to discuss the forgotten, marginalized heroes of the U.S. labor movement with Kim Kelly, on the eve of the release of her new book: Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor.
On the Line | Behind the scenes of building a labor union with Daisy Pitkin – New Labor Book Series #3
Join us for our third book talk on May 26 with writer and long-time organizer Daisy Pitkin, who has chronicled her experiences of building a union with industrial laundry and garment workers in her book, On the Line: A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women’s Epic Fight to Build a Union.
|4||June 23||The Great Stewardess Rebellion | Book Talk with Nell McShane Wulfhart – New Labor Book Series #4|
Join us for our fourth book talk with journalist Nell McShane Wulfhart, to discuss her new book, The Great Stewardess Rebellion, which lays out how flight stewardesses organized and fought for their rights in the 1960s and 70s. We will talk with Nell about why this story is important for the labor movement, past and present, and what organizers and workers can learn from it for today and the future.
|5||August 30||The Work of Living – Talk with Max Alvarez and Courtney Smith | New Labor Book Series #5|
Join us for our fifth author talk, with Max Alvarez and Courtney Smith, to discuss Max’s new book, The Work of Living, a human history of COVID-19—one of the defining events of the 21st century told by the people who lived it. Through a series of interviews conducted in 2020 and 2021, Max spoke with workers—about their lives, their work, and their experiences living through a year when the world itself seemed to break apart. We will be joined by Courtney Smith, a worker Max spoke with. Courtney is a labor organizer and trainer. We will hear from them both about the book, and their perspectives on the current moment and future of worker power.
|6||October 26||What “Salting” is and Why You May Not Know About It – Author Talk with Mie Inouye and Jorge Maldonado | New Labor Book Series #6|
Join us for our sixth author talk, with Mie Inouye and Jorge Maldonado, to discuss the practice of “salting” a workplace. A concept with history that dates back to the early 1900s, a salt is a worker who gets a job at a workplace with the goal of organizing their coworkers. As part of the recent upsurge of worker organizing, salting is also seeing a renewed interest. Salts have played an underreported role in supporting longstanding workers in their recent campaigns at Starbucks and Amazon.
|7||November 30||Someday Mija, You’ll Learn the Difference Between a Whore and a Working Woman – Author Talk with Yvonne Martinez | New Labor Author Series #7|
Join us for our next author talk in our worker organizing series, with Yvonne Martinez to discuss her new memoir, Someday Mija, You’ll Learn the Difference Between a Whore and a Working Woman. The book chronicles Yvonne’s upbringing and family history in a Mexican family in Utah, weaving together how discoveries about family secrets including domestic abuse and child trafficking, led her to a long career as a labor activist, fighting sexual harassment in the labor unions where she works and corruption.
|8||January 10||Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass – Author Talk with Mary Gray | New Labor Book Series #8|
Join us for our next author talk, with Mary Gray, to discuss her book “Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass”. The book chronicles workers’ experiences of on-demand information service jobs—from content moderation and data-labeling to tele-health—work that is essential to the global growth of artificial intelligence and platform economies more broadly.
|9||February 23||Ben Fletcher: The Life and Times of a Black Wobbly | Talk with Peter Cole | New Labor Book Series #9|
Join us for our next in the author talk series, a discuss with Peter Cole on the reissue of his book about Ben Fletcher, an important figure in the early 20th century labor movement. A brilliant union organizer and a humorous orator, Benjamin Fletcher (1890– 1949) was a tremendously important and well-loved African American member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) during its heyday.
|10||March 6||The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America – Author Talk with Saket Soni | New Labor Book Series #10|
Join us for our next in the author talk series, a discussion with Saket Soni about his memoir, The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America. Weaving a deeply personal journey with a riveting tale of 21st-century forced labor, the book takes us into the hidden lives of the foreign workers the US increasingly relies on for cheap skilled labor to rebuild after climate disasters.
|11||April 20||Birth Strike – Author Talk with Jenny Brown – April 20 | New Labor Book Series #11|
Join us for our next in the author talk series, a discussion with Jenny Brown—editor at Labor Notes and author of Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work—about reproductive justice in the worker power context.
|12||June 14||Neon Girls – Author Talk with Jennifer Worley and Marian Solis | New Labor Book Series #12|
Join us for a discussion with Dr. Jenny Worley about her book, Neon Girls: A Stripper’s Education in Protest and Power, which documents Worley’s experiences as a graduate student and stripper at the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, and Marian Solis, current UCLA Labor Studies major and dancer and organizer with the Star Garden campaign in North Hollywood, CA. Amidst management’s discriminatory practices and the rise of hidden cameras stir up tension among the dancers, Jenny was part of organizing the first strippers’ union in the world and journey to take over the club and run it as a co-operative.
|13||July 18||Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class – Author Talk with Dr. Blair LM Kelley|
Join us for a discussion with Dr. Blair Kelley about her book, Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class, which illuminates the adversities and joys throughout the long history of the Black working class in America.
|14||October 12||Young and Restless: The Girls Who Sparked America’s Revolutions – Author Talk with Mattie Kahn |
Join Siena Chiang for a discussion with Mattie Kahn about her book, Young and Restless: The Girls Who Sparked America’s Revolutions, which recounts one of the most foundational and underappreciated forces in moments of revolution in America: teenage girls.