About Our Library

The Labor Center would like to acknowledge with gratitude Will Parry's generous donation of 430 books to our collection in 2012. Books donated him are marked with a special commemorative bookplate, and our entire library was named the Will Parry Library in honor of his lifelong work in the labor movement.

About Our Collection

Our library collection is organized by subject. You can access our listings on Library Thing. Library Thing is searchable by author, subject, or title.

We are a lending library, so if you would like to borrow books, please email our Program Coordinator,, with your selections and we will arrange a pick up time.  In general, the Center is staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, but sometimes we are closed due to trainings.  Because of that, we recommend checking with staff before you come to the library.

Below is a brief description of our subject headings

Pacific Northwest Labor History: Spans a variety of topics related to labor in the Pacific Northwest region, with emphasis on Washington State and the Greater Seattle area.

U.S. Labor History: Includes history of organized labor, as well as more general history of working people in the United States. Our collection focuses on 19th and 20th century working class movements.

Union History - General: Includes histories and stories about a variety of unions in the U.S., including the ILWU and the Teamsters. Sub-categories in this section were chosen based on the greater number of works we have about that specific union or industry.

  • Union History - AFL-CIO
  • Union History - AGRICULTURE
  • Union History - AUTOWORKERS
  • Union History - IWW
  • Union History - MINING
  • Union History - STEEL

Global Labor Studies: Histories or reports about labor issues and unions outside of the U.S., spanning many different movements and time periods.

Education and Instruction: Includes popular teaching materials, instruction manuals, adult education, trade manuals, and K-12 workbooks related to labor and union history.

Organizing: A collection of grassroots organizing handbooks for labor activists and rank-and-file members, including community outreach and strategy.

Union Leadership: Manuals and handbooks for shop stewards and union leadership, with emphasis on organizational roles and change, bargaining tactics, grievance procedures, and conflict resolution.

Law and Legislation: Labor law, including history and up-to-date legal procedures.

Occupational Health and Safety: Case studies and reports on workplace safety, workers' health rights, and labor movements that have shifted standards and procedures in relation to industrial hygiene.

Immigrant Workers: Oral histories and research on immigrant rights in the U.S., immigration policy, and immigrant workers across a variety of industries.

Race and Ethnicity Studies: Explores the relationship between race, ethnicity, and class amongst the U.S. labor force, with a special focus on African Americans, Latino/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and the multiracial working class.

Women's and Gender Studies: Includes personal narratives, research, and history about women and labor, the rise of women leadership in unions, and LGBTQ issues and involvement and labor.

Social and Political Science: Includes research and theory about the rise of the working class through the perspectives of Sociology, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Cultural Studies, and Political Science. Our collection houses many early works on Marxism, Leninism, and the science of revolution.

Economics and Management: Research and reports on the U.S. labor market, industry and workplace management, and the global labor economy.

Government and Politics: Includes the history of U.S. government structures and their impact on labor, current political viewpoints, and political parties and their role in labor policy.

Environment and Ecology: Includes sustainable environmental strategies, reports on the relationship between human labor and environmental cost, environmental activism, and environmental policy.

Labor Arts: Includes art of the labor movement and working people, cartoon art on labor themes, labor movements in the arts and entertainment industry, and political art.

Literature and Fiction: Includes novels and essays relating to labor movements and working class people. Some authors in our collection include Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, and Toni Morrison.

Biography: Biographies and autobiographies.