The State of the Union: A History of the Labor Movement at Vanderbilt University

  • Jennifer M Carlisle College of Arts & Science


This article will document the historical context of the labor movement at Vanderbilt University in order to explain the nature and interaction of the labor union with central administration over the past forty years. Recognizing the lack of scholarly attention to the labor movement in Paul Conkin’s Gone with the Ivy (1985) and Peabody College (2002) and Dale Johnson’s Vanderbilt Divinity School (2001), the author contributes to the academic literature by providing a broad overview of the historical background and current state of the labor movement. As the largest employer in Davidson County and a major contributor to the state of Tennessee’s economic development, the relationship of University administrators and labor representatives has a large impact on the condition of surrounding labor movements, particularly in the city of Nashville’s low-wage service workers sector. In providing a brief chronological synopsis of the labor movement and the role of female involvement in the union, the author concludes by providing a context for contemporary labor negotiations.

Author Biography

Jennifer M Carlisle, College of Arts & Science
Jennifer M. Carlisle is a fourth-year student majoring in English and History in the College of Arts & Science. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, she led the formation of the Living Income for Vanderbilt Employees (LIVE) group in the past academic year. She will begin her legal studies at Georgetown University in the fall.
How to Cite
CARLISLE, Jennifer M. The State of the Union: A History of the Labor Movement at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 1, may 2005. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 aug. 2019. doi:
Humanities and Social Sciences


Labor Movement