Depictions of Workers and Power:
Russell Bufalino’s Fight with the Garment Workers and Their Union
January 20, 2019
The real-world efforts of The Irishman’s Russell Bufalino to exploit and control women garment workers in Pennsylvania’s coal country met with fierce opposition by the members of the Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and Min Matheson, the woman who led them. Their story provides an historical alternative to the hyped-up masculinity that dominates Hollywood’s depiction of labor and working people.
The Irishman, Hollywood, and America’s Hostility to Unions
Hollywood’s fixation on corruption and criminal personalities in depictions of labor (The Irishman, Hoffa, F.I.S.T.) distorts the historical truth of unions and their power, and undermines our understanding of the goals and struggles of America’s working people. These distortions cement negative stereotypes of unions and their ideals for a new generation of viewers.
Why Jimmy Hoffa still casts a long shadow over labor
David Witwer, November 19, 2019
On a summer afternoon in 1975, the most notorious labor leader in the United States disappeared, the presumed victim of a mob hit. Today, the case remains unsolved, Hoffa’s body has never been found, and his story continues to fascinate the public. Martin Scorsese’s new film, “The Irishman,” about a mob hitman who claims to have killed Hoffa, is only the most recent in a long line of film and TV productions about the one labor leader most Americans have ever heard of.