A Conversation with Julia Reichert: A Lifetime in Labor Education and Filmmaking

Julia Reichert. (Photo Credit: Eryn Montgomery
UALE member Julia Reichert

A Lifetime in Labor Education and Filmmaking

Earlier this year, UALE member Julia Reichert and co-director Steven Bognar won the Academy Award for Best Documentary with their powerful film American Factory. It is an intense and entertaining story of an eventful year in the lives of workers and managers at a shuttered GM plant in Dayton, Ohio after it is reopened in 2016 as a new glass factory under Chinese ownership. Two of her earlier films, Union Maids (1978) and Seeing Red (1984), were also honored with Oscar nominations for her and longtime collaborator James Klein. Long a Dayton resident, she taught for nearly three decades in the media department at Wright State University, often enlisting students in her film crews. Though now fighting cancer, she has completed a new film about the organizing movement among women clerical workers in her youth. On May 22,nd Julia spoke with UALE board member and professor of economics at Hofstra University Greg DeFreitas in a wide-ranging online interview.

American Factory' director on her film, chemo and a gruelling road ...
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert at the Oscars, 2019. Photo credit: The Toronto Star, Feb 10, 2020


  •  – Growing Up Female (1971)
  •  – Methadone: An American Way of Dealing (1975, with James Klein)
  •  – Union Maids (1976, with Klein)
  •  – Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983, with Klein)
  •  – Emma and Elvis (1992)
  •  – A Lion in the House (2006, with Steven Bognar)
  •  – The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (2009, with Bognar)
  •  – Sparkle (2012, with Bognar)
  •  – Making Morning Star (2015, with Bognar)
  •  – American Factory (2019, with Bognar) – Academy Award
  •  – 9 to 5: The Story of a Movement (2020)

Reichert’s newest film, 9 to 5: The Story of a Movement (2020), was released earlier this year. At the 2018 UALE conference, Reichert shared clips from the film and hosted a discussion with 9 to 5 alumni. It was an amazing opportunity to be part of Reichert’s collaborative process as she was in the editing stage of filmmaking. This is one important example of why having filmmaking and the arts as an integral component of UALE and our conferences.

Below is the transcript from that conversation with UALE Board member Greg DeFreitas:

JULIA REICHERT Interview Full Text For UALE Website
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