2021 Schedule
  New Films
  Speakers &
Classic Films 
Submitting a Film
About Us
Contact Reel Work

Reel Work Labor Film Festival


Please enjoy these fine labor films, many of which have screened at the Reel Work Labor Film Festival over the past two decades.




Friday nights 6-8 pm in Santa Cruz County on Comcast Channel 27 & Charter Channel 73 or live-stream programming.

Friday, April 2, 2021, 6-8 pm

Mother Jones

(Laura Vazquez & Rosemary Feurer, 2007, 24 min)
The life and times of labor activist and heroine Mary Harris Jones.

What The Hell Is A Labor Union?

(Paul Russell Laverack, 2014, 57 min, USA)
LA hospitality workers and Swedish citizens illustrate this lively primer.
Reel Work selection 2015

Mark of a Free Society

(Robert Grieves, 2018, 3 min, UK)
Animated short history of British labor movement to further workers rights.
Reel Work selection 2019

A Living Wage

(Dan Albright & Andy Keyes, 2016, 21 min, USA)
A fry cook and a barista at the front lines of the fight in Boston for $15 an hour.
Reel Work selection 2016

Learning to Bend Steel

(Alex Johnston, 2009, 9 min, USA)
Labor historian Archie Green's first day at work on the San Francisco dry docks in 1940.
Reel Work selection 2009


Friday, April 9, 2021, 6-8 pm

Triangle Fire

(PBS American Experience, 2011, 55 min)
The 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich Village in which 146 immigrant women workers perished prompted sweeping workplace safety laws.
Reel Work selection 2011

Eyes On The Fries

(Casey Peek & Jeremy Blasi, 2004, 21 min)
Young workers in the service economy.
Reel Work selection 2005

Holding Out

(Rebecca Gourevitch, 2016, 20 min, San Francisco)
The tension between tenants, developers and City Hall in San Francisco's eviction crisis.
Reel Work selection 2017

Sisters in the Brotherhood

(Dan Schultz and Sue Schultz, 2015, 18 min, USA)
A realistic view of what it's like to be a woman in the carpentry trade.
Reel Work selection 2016


Friday, April 16, 2021, 6-8 pm

Democracy in the Workplace: All About Collectives

(Margot Smith and Bob Purdy, 1999, 28 min)
Three worker-owned businesses show how to work collectively.
Reel Work selection 2009

In The Weeds: Waiting for a Living

(Cheryl Hess and Melissa Thompson, 1996, 25 min)
An irreverent and humorous look at the waitressing profession.
Reel Work selection 2007

Greek Cleaning Ladies

(Lucas Meijer, 2016, 8 min, Greece)
When the government privatized janitorial services, these feisty women formed a union.
Reel Work selection 2016

Last Stand at Nymboida

(Jeff Bird, 2010, 56 min)
Faced with dismissal in 1975, Australian coal miners staged a daring worker rebellion.
Reel Work selection 2012


Friday, April 23, 2021, 6-8 pm

Hasta La Victoria: Documentary on the Occupation

(United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers Union, 2008, 19 min, USA)
Workers occupation of the Republic Door & Window factory in Chicago 2008.
Reel Work selection 2009

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

(Brent Adams, 2017, 15 min, California)
Through on-camera interviews, the lived experience of people who sleep outside in West Coast cities.
Reel Work selection 2017

Freedom Sleepers

(Israel Dawson, 2016, 20 min, Santa Cruz)
Tuesday night sleep-in protests at Santa Cruz City Hall to bring an end to the sleeping ban..
Reel Work selection 2017

Hammering It Out

(Vivian Price, 2000, 54 min, Los Angeles)
Experience of women in the building trades on the LA Century Freeway.
Reel Work selection 2003


Friday, April 30, 2021, 6-8 pm

La Huelga: The Story of the UFW

(Filmmaker: Alexander Ivany, 2009, TRT 17:28)
The legacy of Cesar Chavez and the union movement he inspired.
Reel Work selection 2009

The Willmar 8

(Director: Lee Grant, 1980, TRT 50:27)
Sex discrimination at work drives apolitical women into the forefront of the struggle for women's rights.
Reel Work selection 2009

Fare Share

(Adrienne von Wolffersdorff, 2016, 30 min, USA)
The challenge of protecting workers' rights in Seattle's ride-share industry.
Reel Work selection 2017

Since Salazar

(Victoria Fong & Leilani Montes, 2005, 17 min, USA)
Filmmakers: Victoria Fong & Leilani Montes Ruben Salazar, unsung trailblazer for unfiltered news coverage.
Reel Work selection 2005


Friday, May 7, 2021, 6-8 pm

WEconomics: Italy

(Melissa Young & Mark Dworkin, 2015, 19 min, Italy, USA)
A glimpse of how cooperatives can help create a more equitable society.
Reel Work selection 2016

Secrets of Silicon Valley

(Alan Snitow & Deborah Kaufman, 2001, 60 min, USA)
Shocking exposé of the hidden downsides of the Internet revolution.
Reel Work selection 2008

Esperanza Del Barrio

(Sabina Gonzalez, 2004, 17 min, USA)
East Harlem street vendors organize to empower immigrants.
Reel Work selection 2005

We Are The 99 Percent

(Shabnam Hameed, 2012, 26 min)
(Extra)ordinary working people struggle to change the system that the 1% broke.
Reel Work selection 2012


Friday, May 14, 2021, 6-8 pm

Ants That Move Mountains

(Jodi Milano, 2002, 14 min, Nicaragua)
In the wake of Hurricane Mitch, Nicaraguan women literally build a sewing cooperative from the ground up.
Reel Work selection 2009

Love, Women & Flowers

(Marta Rodriguez, 1988, 52 min, Colombia)
Women workers stand up to the toxic flower industry in Colombia.
Reel Work selection 2004

The Motherhood Manifesto

(Laura Pacheco and John de Graaf, 2006, 60 min, USA)
The double-career pressures our society places on women.
Reel Work selection 2007

Roofers Union 36 Speaks Out

(Cliff Smith, 2020, 3 min, USA)
Statement of the Business Agent for Roofers Union Local 36 in Los Angeles on the latest developments in the US.


Friday, May 21, 2021, 6-8 pm

Uprooted: Refugees of the Global Economy

(Sasha Khokha, Ulla Nilsen, Jon Fromer, & Francisco Herrera, 2001, 28 min, International)
Corporations' devastation of third world countries forces workers to emigrate.
Reel Work selection 2004

This Land Is Your Land

(National Day Laborers Organizing Network, 2018 6 min, USA)
Los Jornaleros del Norte performance of Woody Guthrie's classic gives it new meaning.

5 Factories

(Dario Azzellini & Oliver Ressler, 2006, 81 min, Venezuela)
Workers control production in Venezuela.
Reel Work selection 2008


Friday, May 28, 2021, 6-8 pm

Morristown: In the Air and Sun

(Anne Lewis, 2007, 60 min, USA)
East Tennessee, home and destination for immigrant workers.
Reel Work selection 2007

A Day's Work, A Day's Pay

(Jonathan Skurnik, 2002, 57 min, USA)
NYC welfare-to-work program participants organize for better conditions.
Reel Work selection 2004



UNRESTRICTED – Free streaming from the Internet: YouTube, Vimeo & others
KANOPY – Free signup with your library card or student ID at kanopy.com
PAID STREAMING SERVICE – Requires paid subscription such as Netflix or Amazon Prime


American Factory (2019)

Full film on FshareTV

Directors: Steven Bognar & Julia Reichert
Runtime: 110 min
Actors: Cho Tak Wong, Robert Allen, Junming Jimmy' Wang, Sherrod Brown
Synopsis: actions of the time and the current state of the labor movement. Accompanied by a lot of vintage folk music.


Union Maids (1976)

Director: Julia Reichert
Runtime: 50 min
Stars: Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, Sylvia Woods
Synopsis: Actions of the time and the current state of the labor movement. Accompanied by a lot of vintage folk music.


Mother Trucker The Diana Kilmury Story (1992)

Director: Sturla Gunnarsson
Runtime: 92 min
Synopsis: A truck driving woman's successful fight for grass-roots democracy in her union.
Reel Work selection 2003.


Bread and Roses (1992)

Full film on HDFY

Director: Ken Loach
Runtime: 106 min
Synopsis: Based on Justice For Janitors organizing campaign in LA.
Reel Work selection 2002 & 2005.


The Take (2004)

Made available through Films for Action

Filmmakers: Avi Lewis & Naomi Klein
Runtime: 87 min
Synopsis: Argentine workers take back their abandoned factories.
Reel Work selection 2005.


Harlan County (1976)

Director: Barbara Kopple
Runtime: 104 min
Synopsis: Miner's wives sustain Kentucky coal strike against Duke Power. Oscar for Best Docunmentary in 1976.
Reel Work selection 2002.


Worker's Republic (2012)

Full film at InsurgentProductions

Filmmaker: Andrew Friend
Runtime: 60 min
Synopsis: Workers at Rupublic Windows and Doors in Chicago were given 3 days notice that their factory was closing. What did they do? The 260 workers took over the factory and eventually made it their own.
Reel Work selection 2009.


With Babies and Banners (1978)

Director: Lorraine Grey
Runtime: 45 min
Synopsis (IMDB): From December 1936 to February 1937 members of the United Auto Workers organized a sit-down strike inside the General Motors Fisher Body 1 and 2 plants in Flint, Michigan. They ultimately won recognition of their union and improved wages and conditions. "With Babies and Banners" tells the story of the Women's Emergency Brigade, composed of female GM workers and the wives of men involved in the sit-down strike, which not only provided support services (like running the union kitchens that provided food to the strikers occupying the plants) but did picket duty themselves. It intercuts footage from 1937 with interviews with the same women 40 years later, still active in union politics and still pressuring the UAW to acknowledge women as equals.
Reel Work selection 2002 & 2012.


Bound For Glory (1976)

Full film at christiebooks.co.uk/anarchist_films

Director: Hal Ashby
Cast: David Carradine, Ronny Cox and Melinda Dillon
Runtime: 147m
Synopsis: Film biography of American folksinger Woody Guthrie.
Reel Work selection 2010.


We Were There

Performers: Bev Grant and the Brooklyn Women's Chorus
Runtime: 5 min
Synopsis: Theme song by Bev Grant, written for a multi-media show by the same name, about women's labor history.
Reel Work selection 2014.


Ann Kore Moun (2012)

Director: Andre Vanasse
Runtime: 36 min
Synopsis: What are unions for? Haitian union leaders explain the role of unions and why civil society is necessary for a country to develop itself. The documentary shows unions in action, in different sectors of society like the peasantry, schools, hospitals, transportation, municipal services, garment factories in Haiti's free zones. Social protection, public services and the necessity of the rule of law are also discussed. Best short documentary in the 'Regards d'ici' section at Vues d'Afrique, the most important French language film festival for African and Creole films outside of Africa.
Reel Work selection 2014.


Bonita: Ugly Bananas (2011)

Director: Jan Nimmo
Runtime: 23 min
Synopsis: A powerful eyewitness account of what happens to workers who dare to stand up against a powerful oligarch.


Iraqi Workers After The War (2012)

Director: Michael Zweig, Jonathan Levin
Runtime: 6 min
Synopsis: For Iraqis the war the U.S. waged there continues with harsh effects, even though for most Americans that war is over and done with. This short video gives voice to Iraqi workers and union leaders – men and women – as they explain the repression they face, the efforts they are making to secure a new labor law that allows Iraqi workers to form unions, and their call for international labor solidarity. Basra in October 2012.


Can't Take No More (1979)

Director: Mark Catlin
Cast: Studs Terkel
Runtine: 29 min
Synopsis: Studs Terkel narrates this fast-paced history of occupational health and safety in the U.S. from the Industrial Revolution to the 1970s, which OSHA produced in 1979. Rare archival footage and photos illustrate the problems behind dramatic tragedies as well as the daily dangers that put workers at risk for long-term health problems. It also connects the health and safety movement with the civil rights and environmental movements. This is one of three wonderful films produced and distributed by OSHA during the administration of Dr. Eula Bingham – Can't Take No More; Worker to Worker; and OSHA. Then in 1981, the new head of OSHA, under the Reagan Administration, Thorne Auchter recalled most copies and they disappeared. A few copies were kept alive by union officials who refused to return their copies. The penalty for being discovered in possession of one of these films was losing all OSHA funding for their safety and health programs.


One Day Longer – Mine Mill CAW Local 598 Strikes Falconbridge (2001)

Director: Stuart Cryer
Runtime: 8 min
Synopsis: The strike of the mineworkers of Mine Mill CAW Local 598 against Falconbridge is into its sixth month. The community is fighting back.


Union Women, Union Power: From the Shopfloor to the Streets

Filmmakers: Dina Yarmos and Sandra Jeong-In Lane
Runtime: 30 min
Synopsis: Highlighting five rank and file union women from different sectors across Philadelphia, "Union Women Union Power" introduces viewers to recent fights for democracy in Philadelphia workplace. The film was produced to spur intergenerational dialogue and engage younger women in the labor movement.


Bread and Roses: The Lawrence Textile Strike

Runtime: 6 min
Synopsis: The Lawrence Textile Strike was a strike of immigrant workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912 led by the Industrial Workers of the World. Prompted by one mill owner's decision to lower wages when a new law shortening the workweek went into effect in January, the strike spread rapidly through the town, growing to more than twenty thousand workers at nearly every mill within a week. The strike, which lasted more than two months and which defied the assumptions of conservative trade unions within the American Federation of Labor that immigrant, largely female and ethnically divided workers could not be organized, was successful; within a year, however, the union had largely collapsed and most of the gains achieved by the workers were lost.


Deadline for Action (A 1946 Call To Action Pt 1)

Runtime: 21 minutes
Synopsis: This film produced by The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) gives a taste of the post WWII politics that led to the Taft-Hartley Act that restricts the ability of workers to join unions.


Century of Women

Runtime: 15 minutes
Synopsis: On garment workers, 1909 strike, Triangle Fire.



No charge to sign up at Kanopy.com with your public library card or university library card. Then login and search for these classic labor films that have been screened at Reel Work.



Look on your movie screening service for these classic labor films that have been screened at Reel Work.



Please email the webmaster to suggest additional labor films available to stream from the Internet.


Page last updated 3/18/21

Powered by