Labor Studies

Use this guide to quickly find reputable sources and save time on your research! Contact your subject librarian or the reference librarians if you need more help. For an overview of how to research efficiently, see Steps of the Research Process.

New in This Guide

Finding Materials in the Library

Search CityCat to find books, e-books, disks and more. There are many ways to search, such as Title, Author and Keyword.

Books in the library are organized by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system which groups items by subject, so you can often simply browse the shelves. Here are some relevant subjects and their call numbers:

Labor, Work, Working ClassHD 4801-8943
Labor Disputes, Strikes and LockoutsHD 5306-5474
Classes of LaborHD 6050-6305
Trade Unions, Workers Assoc.HD 6350-6940.7
Social Conditions of LaborHD 6951-6957

Reference Sources

Reference books are great for short overviews and background information. There are also reference resources in our database section.

St. James encyclopedia of labor history worldwide : major events in labor history and their impact

Neil Schlager, editor ; with introductions by Willie Thompson and Daniel Nelson. Detroit : St. James Press/Thomson/Gale, c2004. Rosenberg / Reference HD4839 .S74 2004

Working in America

Catherine Reef. New York : Facts On File, c2007. Rosenberg / 5th Floor Circulating HD8045 .R42 2007

The Encyclopedia of strikes in American history

Aaron Brenner, Benjamin Day, Immanuel Ness, editors. Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, c2009. Rosenberg / Reference HD5324 .E39 2009

Your rights in the workplace

Barbara Kate Repa. Berkeley, CA : Nolo, 2007. Rosenberg / Reference KF3455.Z9 R47 2007

The San Francisco labor landmarks guidebook : a register of sites and walking tours

Introduction by Archie Green. San Francisco, CA : Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University, 2008. Rosenberg / Reference HD8085.S263 S26 2008

Labor unions

Viqi Wagner, book editor. Detroit : Greenhaven : Thomson/Gale, c2008. Rosenberg / Reference H61.O66 L33 2008

Directory of U.S. labor organizations.

Directory of U.S. labor organizations. Washington, D.C. : Bureau of National Affairs, 2006. Rosenberg / Reference HD6504


Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

Gale Powersearch

Gale is the vendor for several databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. Clicking on Gale PowerSearch allows a combined search of 14 of these databases.


EBSCOhost provides another multi-database search, searching 22 databases simultaneously.

Ethnic Newswatch

Comprising newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America, this unique body of materials covers a wide range of current topics and countless other social, political and educational subjects. More than 200 publications.

Newspaper Source (EBSCO)

Cover to cover full text from 47 national & international newspapers as well as selective full text articles from 390 regional (U.S.) newspapers, and full text television & radio news transcripts.

CQ Researcher

CQ provides lengthy research reports written by the editorial staff of the Congressional Quarterly. The reports are in-depth analyses which cover a variety of areas and issues.



Use websites for government information, statistics and current events. It's very important to carefully evaluate websites for accuracy, currency, bias and credibility.


Labor Archives and Research Center Paul J. Leonard Library, San Francisco State University. San Francisco Bay Area labor history is "preserved in primary source and vintage history materials" in this archive.

Labor Research Portal - Institute for Research on Labor and ... Here is a rich gateway to a variety of online resources relating to labor.


California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)

This is the agency for enforcing California labor and workplace safety and health laws. Major topics include workers' compensation, occupational safety and health, labor law, apprenticeship, mediation and conciliation, and statistics and research.

National Labor Relations Board The web site of the agency to enforce the National Labor Relations Act. The act governs elections for those seeking union representation and the investigation and remedy of unfair labor practices.

U.S. Department of Labor Access here information from the Department of Labor and its many agencies, including, among others, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Employment Standards Administration. There a


Labor Studies @ SFSU Select "Labor Links" to bring up an extensive list of links to labor union web sites and other labor-related sites.

Home | Change to Win The website of the breakaway labor coalition mounting a challenge to the approach and organizing methods of the AFL-CIO.

AFL-CIO This is the main page of America's major national union.