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When lawmakers start making proposals to loosen your state’s child labor laws, it might be time to ask, “How did we get here?” In this issue, Little Village explores the state of labor in Iowa, from recent strikes and freshly filed union petitions to century-old struggles for fair wages, reasonable hours and a voice for workers on the job. Get to know the baristas behind the first Starbucks unionization effort in Iowa; the production crew aspiring for better conditions backstage through IATSE; your fundamental rights as a worker, explained by University of Iowa Law professor César Rosado Marzán (in Spanish and English); and the complicated legacy of a massive strike by pearl button makers in Muscatine, 112 years ago.
Also in this issue: Roots rocker River Glen recalls his upbringing in a family band, and the career that led to him wrangling 150 fellow Iowa musicians for an upcoming album. Plus: LV readers share some of their favorite foods from bygone Eastern Iowa restaurants, and Matt Steele remembers friend, former Little Village delivery driver and patron of local artists Trevor Lee Hopkins (1975-2003).