U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023)

Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Violence at Work in the North American Auto Industry, 1960–80. By Jeremy Milloy. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press by arrangement with UBC Press, 2017, 171 pp., $28.89 hardback and paperback.

In Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Violence at Work in the North American Auto Industry, 1960–80, author Jeremy Milloy uses employee diaries, police reports, union documentation, interviews, and newspaper stories to reveal “a historical relationship between structural violence and individual violence in the workplace setting, as well as how levels of violence changed over time because of changes in the labour process.” Although the author does a good job of introducing the overarching theme of workplace violence and the many ways in which it was perpetrated (e.g., by management against workers, by workers against management, or among workers themselves), his analysis of the various circumstances and motivations of the perpetrators is not always clear. For example, Milloy jumps rapidly from discussing United Automobile Workers (UAW) organizations in the United States to describing UAW counterparts in Canada, often without drawing a clear demarcation between the two or without announcing which union is discussed. Further, while the book’s goal is to document an attitudinal shift in the labor force—namely, how the powerlessness caused by violence accounts for “why we stopped fearing class war and began fearing the lone gunman”—the evidence for that shift is largely anecdotal and sometimes lost in the storytelling.

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According to Milloy, unions in the United States were strong in the first half of the 20th century, but they began to weaken in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly because of management decisions and actions. The dynamics of U.S. auto-factory employment layered many problems, usually beginning with unsafe working conditions and intensive productivity demands and often ending in individual violence. Workplace safety hazards and ever-increasing production quotas played a large role in the rise of injury rates throughout the period. The weakening of unions, combined with other social problems such as racism, sexism, and substance abuse (all exacerbated by the decline in, and fracturing of, collective bargaining), led to more workplace violence. This violence took various forms, including physical confrontations among production workers, between production workers and their supervisors, and among workers of different races or sexes.

The book first lays out very bleak statistics both on changing rates of accidents and incidents at automotive factories and on changing workforce demographics at the time. When White automotive workers in Detroit went on strike to demand better safety and pay, Black workers were hired at lower wages to fill their dangerous jobs. This led to management actively pitting Black and White workers against each other and to union members reacting in often violent and racist ways to their new coworkers. Because of racial tensions in the UAW, which was frequently hostile to non-White workers, some African American workers in Detroit formed the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM). Although racial issues predated these developments, Chrysler executives exploited the heightened tensions in order to undermine the power of both the UAW and DRUM. Instead of collectively demanding better pay and safer work conditions, Black workers often fought against UAW protections for their members because these protections tended to keep African Americans in the least skilled and most dangerous factory work. Since competing unions did not exist across the U.S. northern border, the Canadian UAW was more effective in negotiating with management, securing worker protections for both Black and White members.

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To illustrate the effects of unions on workplace violence and injury levels, Milloy examines the differences between two UAW branches in locations with Chrysler plants: one in Detroit and another just across the northern border, in Detroit’s sister city of Windsor, Canada. Given cross-country variations in union power and protections, as well as changing dynamics of unionization in the United States at the time, this comparison represents a natural experiment aiming to show the dampening effects of strong unions on the incidence of violence and injury in the workplace. Although Milloy notes that violence did occur on the Canadian side of the border, he observes that the racial and economic issues there were less pronounced than those in the United States. A more powerful union in Canada managed to secure stronger worker protections, largely mitigating the type of worker discontent that could have bubbled over into individual violence. In his own words,

“…violence was not an aberration or a freak occurrence but an understood part of the industrial culture and working-class manhood at Windsor Chrysler. However, different racial dynamics, the greater economic stability of Windsor Chrysler plants, a more effective union, and a safer city limited the atomization and brutalization of workers and thus limited the incidence of individual violence compared with the crisis of violence that exploded in Detroit Chrysler plants.”

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After addressing factory violence in general, the palliative effects of inclusive union negotiations with management, and the individual violence that often results from denying protections to certain groups of workers, Milloy turns to examining changes in the perceptions of workplace violence in the courts and the press. He addresses this shift in the context of the civil rights movement and the decline in union strength in the 1970s, recounting three shooting-incident court cases, each characterized by very different legal defenses.

In the first case, which involved Black autoworker James Johnson, who shot two foremen and a coworker in 1970, the media reactions showed that “many recognized that individual violence at work was an outgrowth of the brutal processes of Detroit factory labour and the racial and other hierarchies that were central to how this labour was organized and carried out.” Johnson was declared temporarily insane—allegedly because of unfair and dangerous workplace conditions exacerbated by racism—and was eventually awarded worker’s compensation from Chrysler.

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The second case, in 1973, dealt more directly with conflict within the UAW. A Black union leader, David Mundy, shot a skilled-trade worker who had violently objected to a contract deal between Ford Motor Company and the UAW. The deal allowed unskilled employees to work overtime in skilled-labor positions. Unlike Johnson, Mundy was politically involved and held considerable power in the UAW. He could not easily be thought of as a highly stressed and vulnerable employee subjected to aggression by a leadership with no regard for his safety or security. Instead, he became violent after being squeezed by both management and the rank and file, a situation suggesting that “with no simple narrative of worker versus company to present, Mundy’s action was seen as symptomatic of workplace conflict, not produced by it.” Essentially, Mundy had too much power to be considered a victim of his circumstances, although these circumstances had implications for violence and racial tensions similar to those of Johnson.

The third case is that of Black autoworker Clarence Talbot, who, after being fired in 1977, shot and killed Charlie Brooks, the president of a local union who was beloved and widely seen as fair. Talbot was described as an illiterate bully who grew up in a bad neighborhood. Although it was clear that Talbot had been the victim of racial animus from a young age, very few of those talking or writing about the shooting at the time had sympathy for his plight. Talbot’s lawyer refused to let him testify and did not address racism during the trial. Instead, his defense claimed medical, not circumstantial, insanity, a strategy that confined him to a mental hospital (instead of a prison) and did not require any changes in the practices of the UAW or the automotive factories. Two civil rights lawyers, Charles Roach and Michael Smith, tried to investigate Talbot’s experience with racial inequities and to provide their findings to his defense team. However, they ended up being investigated themselves, with Talbot’s court-appointed lawyer accusing them of trying to steal his client. These three cases illustrate a shift in public perceptions about workplace violence—from seeing Johnson’s insanity as a consequence of systemic racism to constructing the image of the lone gunman fighting demons beyond the context of the workplace.

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Milloy’s book shows that “violence was a crucial variable in labour processes and workplace cultures of the automotive industry.” Furthermore, there was a change over time in who was perpetrating the violence, who was its target (managers, workers, or union officials), and what factors were responsible for it (systemic inequities and dangers or individual grievances). Although violence was partly driven by systemic causes, the blame for it gradually shifted from the collective to the individual, with management seeking to dilute union power and to pit individuals against one another. While violence was present in both U.S. and Canadian factories, its causes, levels, and outcomes differed across the border. In both countries, however, there was a shift toward individual blame over time. I recommend Milloy’s book to anyone trying to understand the dynamics of increasing workplace violence, the historical decline in collective bargaining power, the effects of racism and class divides on workplace conflict, and the systemic issues created by stifling the negotiating power of labor.


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Who has the highest employment rate in the US? ›

South Carolina. South Carolina has the highest employment rate in the United States of 97.7% (an unemployment rate of 2.3%).

What percentage of the labor force is white? ›

Composition of the labor force

By race, Whites made up the majority of the labor force (77 percent). Blacks and Asians constituted an additional 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a Federal government agency and everything that we publish, both in hard copy and electronically, is in the public domain, except for previously copyrighted photographs and illustrations.

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The BLS Public Data Application Programming Interface (API) is an application designed to allow third party programmers, developers, and organizations to retrieve published historical time series data in JSON data-interchange format or as an Excel spreadsheet.

What state is the hardest to find a job? ›

Hardest-Working States in the U.S.
Overall Rank*StateTotal Score
1North Dakota67.80
4South Dakota60.47
46 more rows
29 Aug 2022

What race has the highest unemployment rate? ›

African Americans have the highest overall unemployment rate

unemployment rate
Unemployment is measured by the unemployment rate, which is the number of people who are unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (the total number of people employed added to those unemployed). Unemployment can have many sources, such as the following: new technologies and inventions.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Unemployment
as compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

Which state in USA has most jobs? ›

National rankStateEmployment rate in % (total population)
2North Dakota67.7
48 more rows

What race is the most employed? ›

Employment rate in the United States in 2021, by ethnicity
CharacteristicEmployment rate
Mexican American61.2%
4 more rows

What percentage of blacks are unemployed? ›

In 2021, the unemployment rate of African Americans in the United States stood at 8.6 percent. This was over the national average of 5.3 percent.
Unemployment rate of African Americans in the United States from 1990 to 2021.
CharacteristicUnemployment rate
9 more rows
3 days ago

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Yes. All employers who receive a survey form must respond to the survey, even those in State-Plan States.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is an American government agency tasked with collecting and disseminating a range of economic and employment data. The BLS is responsible for two key inflation indicators: the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI).

Will the US Department of Labor call you? ›

L&I employees do not call, text, or email individuals and say they are investigating fraud. L&I employees will never contact individuals and ask for their full Social Security numbers.

Who runs the Bureau of Labor Statistics? ›

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Agency overview
Annual budget$655 million (2021)
Agency executivesWilliam Beach, Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski, Deputy Commissioner
4 more rows

WHO publishes the Bureau of Labor Statistics? ›

Established in 1915, the Monthly Labor Review (MLR) is the principal journal of fact, analysis, and research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor.

What does the US Department of Labor do? ›

Our Mission

To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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A Web API or Web Service API is an application processing interface between a web server and web browser. All web services are APIs but not all APIs are web services.

Which state works the most hours? ›

The results
States (most overworked to least overworked)Average hours workedScore
1–New York38.4/wk.30.7
2–New Jersey38.7/wk.35.6
46 more rows

What is the best state to make money in? ›

Full Ranking of All 50 States
RankStateMedian Income
32 more rows
22 Apr 2022

Who are the hardest workers? ›

Top 10 Hardest Working Countries in the OECD:
RankCountryAverage hours worked in 2021:
2Costa Rica2,073
4South Korea1,915
6 more rows

What state has the highest unemployment rate? ›

Here are the 10 states with the highest unemployment rate: Alaska - 4.50% New Mexico - 4.50% Delaware - 4.40%
Unemployment Rate by State 2022.
StateUnemployment Rate - July '22Unemployment Rate - July '21
New York4.40%6.90%
New Mexico4.50%7.00%
46 more rows

Who is the most unemployed? ›

Here are the 10 countries with the highest rates of unemployment:
  • South Africa - 29.20%
  • Djibouti - 26.10%
  • Equatorial Guinea - 25.00%
  • Botswana - 24.90%
  • Grenada - 22.90%
  • Eswatini - 22.70%
  • Lesotho - 22.40%
  • Gabon - 20.40%

Why is unemployment so high? ›

One reason behind India's endemic unemployment despite high growth is the country's leapfrogging from a primarily farm economy to a booming services economy - in no other country of India's size has growth been led by services and not manufacturing.

What is the best state to live in USA 2022? ›

Massachusetts topped 2022's list, touting a score of 62.65 out of 100. New Jersey came in second, dropping from the top spot last year. New York, Idaho and Virginia fill out the rest of the top five states to live in, in that order.

Where is the best job market in the US? ›

15 Best Cities for Job Seekers in the US
  • Raleigh, North Carolina. ...
  • Tampa, Florida. ...
  • Seattle, Washington. Overall Score: 67.8. ...
  • Boise, Idaho. Overall Score: 66.5. ...
  • Phoenix, Arizona. Overall Score: 66.3. ...
  • Denver, Colorado. Overall Score: 64.0. ...
  • Salt Lake City, Utah. Overall Score: 59.3. ...
  • Portland, Oregon. Overall Score: 59.1.
12 Jul 2022

Which state has the best government jobs? ›

States where the most people work for the government
  • Indiana.
  • Illinois.
  • New Hampshire.
  • Florida.
  • Massachusetts.
  • Rhode Island.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Nevada.
13 May 2019

Who is the most unemployed in America? ›

In 2024, 8.6 percent of the Black or African-American population in the United States were unemployed, the highest unemployment rate

unemployment rate
Unemployment is measured by the unemployment rate, which is the number of people who are unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (the total number of people employed added to those unemployed). Unemployment can have many sources, such as the following: new technologies and inventions.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Unemployment
of any ethnicity. In 2021, the national unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent.

What is last hired first fired? ›

Said to be “last hired, first fired,” African Americans were the first to see hours and jobs cut, and they experienced the highest unemployment rate during the 1930s.

What percentage of the US is Black? ›

What percentage of Americans are white? ›

Persons 65 years and over, percent 16.8%
Female persons, percent 50.5%
Race and Hispanic Origin
White alone, percent 75.8%
54 more rows

What are jobs most commonly held by American workers? ›

What are the jobs most commonly held by American workers, and which gender holds these jobs? The most commonly held jobs are managerial and professional specialty jobs and more men hold these type of jobs than females.

Which workers are most likely to be demanded in the future? ›

Some of the fastest projected growth will occur in the healthcare, healthcare support, construction, and personal care fields. Together, these four occupational groups are expected to account for more than 5.3 million new jobs by 2022, about one-third of the total employment growth.

How does race affect employment? ›

Considerable racial inequality and discrimination is still pervasive in the U.S. labor market. Compared to white individuals, black individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed, and earn nearly 25 percent less when they are employed. Race-based employment discrimination may be a cause of these disparities.

What is the US unemployment rate right now? ›

US Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate
Unemployment is measured by the unemployment rate, which is the number of people who are unemployed as a percentage of the labour force (the total number of people employed added to those unemployed). Unemployment can have many sources, such as the following: new technologies and inventions.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Unemployment
Falls to 3.5%

The US unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% in July 2022, the lowest since February 2020, from 3.6% in the previous period, while analysts expected it to be unchanged.

What is the Native American unemployment rate today? ›

Unemployment rate for American Indians and Alaska Natives at 7.9 percent in December 2021 : The Economics Daily: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The .

What does Bureau of Labor Statistics do? ›

Answer: The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making.

Who runs the Bureau of Labor Statistics? ›

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Agency overview
Annual budget$655 million (2021)
Agency executivesWilliam Beach, Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski, Deputy Commissioner
4 more rows

What is the most important statistic for unemployment and why? ›

Employment Report. The most important statistic is the Jobs Report. Every month, the BLS reports on how many jobs have been created. It also details which sectors of the economy are hiring.

Is the Bureau of Labor Statistics independent? ›

In 1884, the Bureau of Labor was established in the Department of Interior. In 1888, it became an independent department for nearly 15 years before being incorporated into the Department of Commerce and Labor in 1903.

Is Bureau of Labor Statistics survey mandatory? ›

Nearly all of our surveys are voluntary, which means the individuals, households, and organizations selected for our survey samples can choose whether to participate.

Which type of data are not published by BLS? ›

Although BLS publishes a wide range of information about workplace injuries and illnesses, BLS does not publish the costs associated with workplace injuries. BLS publishes data on consumer prices, which can be found at www.bls.gov/cpi. BLS publishes data on producer prices, which can be found at www.bls.gov/ppi.

What information does the Bureau of Labor Statistics used to determine the CPI? ›

The CPI uses data from the Consumer Expenditure (CE) survey to determine the weights of the different categories of goods and services in the CPI. The CE survey collects data on the out-of-pocket expenses spent to acquire all consumer products and services.

Which countries have the highest unemployment rate? ›

The unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of unemployed workers in the total labor force.
Here are the 10 countries with the highest rates of unemployment:
  • South Africa - 29.20%
  • Djibouti - 26.10%
  • Equatorial Guinea - 25.00%
  • Botswana - 24.90%
  • Grenada - 22.90%
  • Eswatini - 22.70%
  • Lesotho - 22.40%
  • Gabon - 20.40%

What is the Department of labor responsible for? ›

How often does the Bureau of Labor Statistics update? ›

The economic, employment, and labor force projections are updated annually; the most recent projections are for 2021–31 and were released on the BLS web site on September 8, 2022. The projections also are published in the Monthly Labor Review .

What are the 4 types of unemployment? ›

Unemployment can be classified as frictional, cyclical, structural, or institutional.

What are the main causes of unemployment? ›

Unemployment is caused by various reasons that come from both the demand side, or employer, and the supply side, or the worker. Demand-side reductions may be caused by high interest rates, global recession, and financial crisis. From the supply side, frictional unemployment and structural employment play a great role.

Are retirees considered unemployed? ›

In addition, students, retirees, the disabled, homemakers, and the voluntarily idle are not counted in the labor force. The labor force as the percentage of the total population over the minimum working age is called labor force participation rate.


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