Workers Comp Zone


The Oscars.

Looks like “No Country For Old Men” has smoked the intense period piece “Atonement” and the social justice thriller “Michael Clayton”.

Oscars is a sacred night for many of us. Perhaps you grew up watching Doris Day flirt with Rock Hudson. Or trying to figure out what Michelangelo Antonioni was saying in all those art house films. Or watching Indiana Jones escape from the jaws of doom. Or you’re really from Gen Next…you cut your teeth listening to the South Park brats curse the bastards who killed Kenny again.

Me? Growing up in the Camel City, North Carolina (better known as Winston-Salem), labor themed films weren’t exactly the favorite for Saturday nights at the drive-in.

But unless you’re a cultural hermit, along the way you’ve probably seen a labor themed flick or two. Some of them are worth revisiting.

Lots of them were themed around labor-management strife. “On the Waterfront” . “Hoffa” . “Last Exit to Brooklyn”.

We love coal miner films. “Matewan”. “Harlan County”. More arcane is “Salt of the Earth”, about a New Mexico mining strike done by Herbert Biberman, one of the blacklisted Hollywood 10 in the McCarthy period of the early 1950’s.

Tales about struggling workers. “Norma Rae”. “9 to 5”.

Workers struggling to make sense of the corporate world. “Roger & Me”.

Workers who aren’t always heroic. “Clerks” (1994):

Bored and restless office workers. Mike Judge’s 1999 masterpiece, “Office Space”. Don’t know it? Here it is:

“Il Posto”, a flick about Italian youth trying to adjust to work in the corporate world:

Documentaries. “Rosie the Riveter”.

Here’s a good data base-“Blue Collar Filmography” by Julia Lesage- if you’re interested in checking out more labor themed cinema: … ovies.html

California’s disabled workers sometimes star in movies. Movies taken by undercover investigators, most of which don’t really show all that much.

Perhaps someday there’ll be a worthy script to get disabled workers’
stories on the silver screen.

What’s your favorite film featuring labor or disabled persons’ issues?

Stay tuned.

Julius Young

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Category: Understanding the CA WC system