Workers Unite Film Festival 2022

Local 1196: A Steelworkers Strike

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“The old American dream just seems to be gone,” says Walt Hill, a longtime United Steelworkers Union member and the Contract Coordinator for Local 1196 in the decaying steel town of Brackenridge, Pennsylvania.

In March of 2021, the steelworkers of USW 1196 struck, citing unfair labor practices. Over the next four months, “Local 1196” follows from late night conversations on the picket lines, to fiery debates at the union hall, to the living rooms of the members, themselves. Taken together, this film gives unique insight and access into the daily struggles of America’s blue-collar workers. The film embeds with leaders of a demographic widely stereotyped, sometimes taken for granted, sometimes ridiculed, but rarely given the chance to share their world, in their own words.

Local 1196 takes the viewer on the ground as days on strike turn to weeks, weeks turn to months, and union leaders realize they’re playing with a short stack, and against long odds.

As Walt puts it in the film, “I think that this fight shows that, at least here, we’re fighting back.”

The Bertelsmann Foundation (North America), Inc., established in 2008, was created to promote and strengthen the transatlantic relationship. Through research, analysis, forums, and audiovisual and multimedia content, we seek to educate and engage our audience on the most pressing economic, political, and social challenges facing the United States and Europe.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    59 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Note
    A Bertelsmann Foundation Film
  • Director
    Samuel George
  • Producer
    Irene Braam