This collection contains U-matic and VHS tapes produced and collected by Rosemary Feurer, who documented the labor movement of the United States and the Staley Lockout in Decatur, Illinois, in the 1990s.
Rosemary Feurer received a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1997. Feurer began teaching at Northern Illinois University in 1995, and primarily researches United States history, labor movements, and social movements. Her documentary Deadly Corn: Workers at A.E. Staley, Decatur, Illinois Fight for a Just Workplace (1993) received the Missouri Video Festival Documentary Excellence Award in 1995.
In the early 1990s, Decatur, Illinois, became the epicenter of the labor movement in the United States. Following months of strikes in various production plants in central Illinois, the A. E. Staley Manufacturing Company in Decatur extended the 8-hour workday to 12 and added stipulations to workers' contracts, which quickly stoked pushback from their staff. On June 27, 1993, Staley locked out approximately 760 workers from the plant and filled it with temporary replacements, an event known as the "Staley Lockout." The lockout stirred up a three-year legal and social battle throughout the state, and later the country, that thousands of United States workers participated in and that drew international attention. In December of 1995, union leaders in Decatur accepted the contract proposed by Staley in what was seen as a defeat.
This collection consists of fifty-four tapes on the labor movement in the United States. A majority of the tapes contain footage from events surrounding the Staley Lockout in Decatur, Illinois, in 1993. They include interviews with union members, public officials, and activists. Feurer created two documentaries on the events surrounding the Staley Lockout, titled Deadly Corn (1993) and Struggle in the Heartland (1994). Full copies and excerpts of these documentaries are also included in the collection. Several tapes in this collection are from LaborVision, a bi-weekly cable TV show produced in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1991-1994, focusing on social and labor history.
Rosemary Feurer donated this collection to the Library in 2007.