About this Site

This digital history is a project of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University. It aims to preserve the history of working people in Washington, D.C., and to make that history accessible to scholars, students, and the general public. The project began in 2010 under the direction of Jennifer Luff, and students enrolled in her 2011 “Working Lives” oral history course conducted the first round of interviews. Since then, we have been collecting documents, artifacts, and interviews, and we formally launched the website in April 2013.

This project is a work in progress. Help us preserve this history! We are still collecting documents and interviewing participants. Please contact us at webmaster@georgetownlaborhistory.org if you have material or ideas to share. Do you know the names of people who are featured in photographs or videos, or have more information about our documents and artifacts? Email and let us know.

Project staff:

Jennifer Luff is the research director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. Before receiving her Ph.D. in American studies from the College of William and Mary, she worked as a strategist for a number of unions, including the Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO, and SEIU. She is the author of Commonsense Anticommunism: Labor and Civil Liberties Between the World Wars (University of North Carolina Press, 2012) and an associate editor of the journal LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas.

Jesslyn Cheong is a program manager with the Kalmanovitz Initiative. She is a 2011 graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international politics. During college, Jesslyn worked as an intern at the International Center for Journalists and as a tutor for D.C. Reads and the D.C. Schools Project. She also worked as a student administrative assistant at the Initiative, and she provided support to the Oral History Project, compiling and editing multimedia and conducting archival research.

Seth Newton Patel is lead negotiator for AFSCME Local 3299, the union of University of California patient care and service workers. He has worked as an organizer for AFSCME, SEIU, and HERE locals in California for the past decade. Seth also served as research coordinator for the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University. His article "Have We Built the Committee? Advancing Leadership Development in the U.S. Labor Movement" appears in the March 2013 issue of WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society.

Mark Waterman is a 2013 graduate of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service.

Maayan Jaffe is a member of Georgetown's class of 2015, studying in the School of Foreign Service.


Jesslyn Cheong
Madeline Collins
Patrick Dixon
Marisa Edmonds
Kevin Flannery
Caitlin Koury
Jennifer Luff
Alanna McAuley
Joseph McCartin
Seth Newton Patel
Jake Sticka
Clare Tilton

Other support:

James Benton
Rachel Milito

We gratefully acknowledge the support and assistance of all our interviewees, and especially Stephen Lerner and the staff and members of SEIU Local 32BJ.