Last fall, students in Associate Professor Amy Dru Stanley’s U.S. labor history class interviewed essential workers—bus drivers, nurses, janitors, and more—about their experiences at work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, students conducted 48 interviews with workers across the country. From their interviews, students learned that many of these workers had never felt protected at work, an experience heightened considerably by the pandemic with shortages of personal protective equipment, insufficient information about risk exposure in their jobs, and lack of hazard pay.

The project will continue into winter quarter as part of Assistant Professor Gabriel Winant’s course “Capitalism, Gender, and Intimate Life,” and the interviews will be archived at the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center at Regenstein Library.

Read more about the oral history project at UChicago News and in the Chicago Maroon.