Oct 20, 2011
From staff reports
Tim Smith of Ohio University Libraries will speak on the history of the "Wobblies" on Wednesday, Oct. 26, as part of the University Libraries Diversity Committee's Culture Showcase Series.
The event will take place 2-3 p.m. in the Friends of the Libraries Room located on the third floor of Alden Library
The "Wobblies," more formally known as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), is a radical labor union founded more than 100 years ago. Though most dynamic in the early 20th century, the Wobblies are still an active organization today. Smith's presentation will be an introduction to the influential group including the conditions that led to its rise, the group's philosophies, personalities and historical events.
"Over the years I've developed a greater and greater appreciation for what the Wobblies and other unions have done for this country. I truly believe that if it weren't for them, we wouldn't have the middle class as we know it," says Smith.
The theme of this quarter's Culture Showcase - Labor and Labor History, serves to balance the concentration of media on businesses. It gives a historic look at worker's issues from the formation of labor unions to the issues today.
"Think about the media: it's all business all the time," says Smith. "There are countless publications that focus on business. There are entire TV networks whose focus is business. Labor issues and workers, when they are covered at all, are likely to be covered as a problem, an expense to be minimized (or outsourced) so that the corporations can make even larger profits."
Smith has an M.S. degree in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Ph.D. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and he has served as a reference librarian at Ohio University for 26 years. He has a long-term amateur's interest in the IWW and the plight of labor unions.