The “Employee-Owned” Chicago and North Western Railway: Hype vs Reality – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 461

In 1972, some employees made a leveraged buyout of the Chicago and North Western Railway and re-branded it as “Employee-Owned.” The reality was much more complicated and reveals a lot about railroading and American capitalism generally in the 1970s and 1980s. (Bill and Rachel)

Links and notes for ep. 461 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Dec 11, 2022 – The Burlington Railroad Strike of 1888 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 452

Bill and Rachel examine the relatively minor failed Burlington railroad engineers and firemen strike in 1888, which had a profound effect on Eugene V. Debs.

Links and notes for ep. 452 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Nov 20, 2022 – The Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 449

Bill and Rachel explore the disappointments of the Great Southwest Railroad strike of 1886 and reflect on potential lessons for present-day railroad labor relations. (Note: After we recorded this episode, the results were released for the 2022 rail worker votes on tentative agreements. The engineers narrowly approved the proposed contract, while the conductors narrowly rejected it.)

Links and notes for ep. 449 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Nov 13, 2022 – The Autorack – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 448

How the development of the autorack rail car from the 1950s to the 1980s might have contributed to the relocation of US auto industry factories inside the US. (Bill and Rachel.)

Links and notes for ep. 448 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

Sept 18, 2022 – Railroad Labor (feat. Justin from WTYPP) – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 440

Justin from Well There’s Your Problem Podcast joins Bill to talk about why US labor laws are different for railroad workers and the material and structural causes of the September 2022 possible national rail strike.

Links and notes for ep. 440 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.

[Unlocked] Apr 13, 2021 – The Adamson Act – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 365

Due to the current (September 2022) threat of a US rail strike and in conjunction with a new episode forthcoming, we are unlocking from our Patreon our episode on the 1916 Adamson Act that created the eight-hour railroad work day and the Supreme Court ruling on it that seems to be a strange outlier in the Lochner Era. (Bill and Rachel)

Links and notes for ep. 365 (PDF):

Music by Stunt Bird.

Mar 15, 2022 – Westinghouse Air Brakes – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 417

Bill and Rachel discuss a specific air brake technology from 1872 that eventually had profound effects on the US economy and rail labor safety, especially after a Progressive Era bill mandated it.

Links and notes for ep. 417 (PDF):

Theme music by Stunt Bird.