Department Chair; Professor - History; Discipline Director American Studies
Orenic is currently working on a history of Chicago’s Teamsters Local 743. From the 1940s to the 1980s, as the largest Teamster local in the nation and the biggest union in the state of Illinois, Local 743 organized tens of thousands of men and women into more than 600 contracts including warehouse workers, tool, lamp, candy and tape recorder makers, librarians, pet food processors, secretaries, health insurance clerks and hospital orderlies. Its multiracial membership, its progressive politics, civil rights activism and social unionism stood out from more traditional Teamster tales. At the same time its leadership was scrutinized for associations with organized crime. The story of 743 contributes to a more complete understanding of Teamster history as well as race and union politics and power in Chicago in the mid-to late 20th century.
Orenic serves as an advisor on The Labor Trail, a print and online interactive map project of Chicago’s labor and working-class history. She serves as co-chair of the Chicago Consortium for Working-Class Studies affiliated with the University of Illinois School for Industrial and Labor Relations and on the Board of Trustees for the Illinois Labor History Society and was recently elected to the national Steering Committee for the Working-Class Studies Association.
Before coming to Dominican in 2002, Orenic worked on the ramp in the airline industry at O'Hare Airport and was a member of Transport Workers Union, AFL-CIO, Local 512 and Local 571. She was the first president of the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO), IEA-NEA at Roosevelt University and worked as a higher education organizer for the Illinois Education Association-NEA.
"On the Ground: Labor Struggle in the American Airline Industry" (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009)
“Rethinking Workplace Culture: Fleet Service Clerks in the American Airlines Industry, 1945-1970,” Journal of Urban History (2004)