20th Century Labor History


History can provide critical lessons for today. Through the exploration of recent labor history, learn not only the ‘what’ but the ‘how’ and ‘why’ unions and workers’ rights have evolved to what we know today. Explore the U.S. labor movement’s modern victories and defeats, seeking lessons to point a way forward.

Topics include:

  • How the National Labor Relations Act came about
  • The surge of labor organizing in the 1930s and 1940s
  • The growth of unions in the public sector
  • The impacts of the PATCO strike, globalization, and the transformation of work
  • Signs of future labor movement renewal

Class Details

What is an on-demand institute?

On-demand institutes have an open, ongoing online registration. Participants can access the course 24/7, for up to six months after registration. The course is divided into units with various readings, short videos, and supportive documents to explore a set topic. Faculty are available for support or questions via the online platform e-mailing system.



Registration is always open! Participants will receive access to the online course within 5-10 business days and have six months to complete the course.


Payment and tuition

Tuition is only $99. Payment is due at time of registration and is accepted only online at charge.wisc.edu/schoolforworkers.