Our Work Life


OUR WORK LIFE: Three Generations of Bay Area Work and Workers


Our Work Life is the result of a collaboration between Connell and Melara and the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University. The first phase of the project was a sixty-foot-long mural, eleven inches high, mounted to wrap around the inside of public commuter buses. Mural panels told the story of Bay Area labor history with drawn and painted images and multilingual text. The goal of Our Work Life was to build a sense of community on the bus between regular commuters. The mural was accompanied by a free color handout modeled on a bus transfer, it invited viewers to further explore local labor history. The project was mounted on seven SamTrans commuter buses, which traveled long distances, from Palo Alto into San Francisco many times a day, carrying hundreds of commuters. Copies of the panels were donated to libraries and unions. Our Work Life has been shown in galleries and libraries and is permanently mounted at the Evans Campus of City College of San Francisco.

Our Work Life was launched on SamTrans with a Labor Day event at the ILWU Hall where attendees met the workers whose stories are included in the mural, enjoyed labor themed music and met local labor leaders.