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State Of The Union

Author: Nelson Lichtenstein
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400848148
Size: 51.30 MB
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In a fresh and timely reinterpretation, Nelson Lichtenstein examines how trade unionism has waxed and waned in the nation's political and moral imagination, among both devoted partisans and intransigent foes. From the steel foundry to the burger-grill, from Woodrow Wilson to John Sweeney, from Homestead to Pittston, Lichtenstein weaves together a compelling matrix of ideas, stories, strikes, laws, and people in a streamlined narrative of work and labor in the twentieth century. The "labor question" became a burning issue during the Progressive Era because its solution seemed essential to the survival of American democracy itself. Beginning there, Lichtenstein takes us all the way to the organizing fever of contemporary Los Angeles, where the labor movement stands at the center of the effort to transform millions of new immigrants into alert citizen unionists. He offers an expansive survey of labor's upsurge during the 1930s, when the New Deal put a white, male version of industrial democracy at the heart of U.S. political culture. He debunks the myth of a postwar "management-labor accord" by showing that there was (at most) a limited, unstable truce. Lichtenstein argues that the ideas that had once sustained solidarity and citizenship in the world of work underwent a radical transformation when the rights-centered social movements of the 1960s and 1970s captured the nation's moral imagination. The labor movement was therefore tragically unprepared for the years of Reagan and Clinton: although technological change and a new era of global economics battered the unions, their real failure was one of ideas and political will. Throughout, Lichtenstein argues that labor's most important function, in theory if not always in practice, has been the vitalization of a democratic ethos, at work and in the larger society. To the extent that the unions fuse their purpose with that impulse, they can once again become central to the fate of the republic. State of the Union is an incisive history that tells the story of one of America's defining aspirations. This edition includes a new preface in which Lichtenstein engages with many of those who have offered commentary on State of the Union and evaluates the historical literature that has emerged in the decade since the book's initial publication. He also brings his narrative into the current moment with a final chapter, "Obama's America: Liberalism without Unions."

A Contest Of Ideas

Author: Nelson Lichtenstein
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780252037856
Size: 35.25 MB
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For more than thirty years Nelson Lichtenstein has deployed his scholarship - on labour, politics, and social thought - to chart the history and prospects of a progressive America. A Contest of Ideas collects and updates many of Lichtenstein's most provocative and controversial essays and reviews. These incisive writings link the fate of the labour movement to the transformations in the shape of world capitalism, to the rise of the civil rights movement, and to the activists and intellectuals who have played such important roles. Tracing broad patterns of political thought, Lichtenstein offers important perspectives on the relationship of labour and the state, the tensions that sometimes exist between a culture of rights and the idea of solidarity, and the rise of conservatism in politics, law, and intellectual life. The volume closes with portraits of five activist intellectuals whose work has been vital to the conflicts that engage the labour movement, public policy, and political culture.

Labor Rights Are Civil Rights

Author: Zaragosa Vargas
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400849284
Size: 48.15 MB
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In 1937, Mexican workers were among the strikers and supporters beaten, arrested, and murdered by Chicago policemen in the now infamous Republic Steel Mill Strike. Using this event as a springboard, Zaragosa Vargas embarks on the first full-scale history of the Mexican-American labor movement in twentieth-century America. Absorbing and meticulously researched, Labor Rights Are Civil Rightspaints a multifaceted portrait of the complexities and contours of the Mexican American struggle for equality from the 1930s to the postwar era. Drawing on extensive archival research, Vargas focuses on the large Mexican American communities in Texas, Colorado, and California. As he explains, the Great Depression heightened the struggles of Spanish speaking blue-collar workers, and employers began to define citizenship to exclude Mexicans from political rights and erect barriers to resistance. Mexican Americans faced hostility and repatriation. The mounting strife resulted in strikes by Mexican fruit and vegetable farmers. This collective action, combined with involvement in the Communist party, led Mexican workers to unionize. Vargas carefully illustrates how union mobilization in agriculture, tobacco, garment, and other industries became an important vehicle for achieving Mexican American labor and civil rights. He details how interracial unionism proved successful in cross-border alliances, in fighting discriminatory hiring practices, in building local unions, in mobilizing against fascism and in fighting brutal racism. No longer willing to accept their inferior status, a rising Mexican American grassroots movement would utilize direct action to achieve equality.

Trucking Country

Author: Shane Hamilton
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400828791
Size: 24.12 MB
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Trucking Country is a social history of long-haul trucking that explores the contentious politics of free-market capitalism in post-World War II America. Shane Hamilton paints an eye-opening portrait of the rural highways of the American heartland, and in doing so explains why working-class populist voters are drawn to conservative politicians who seemingly don't represent their financial interests. Hamilton challenges the popular notion of "red state" conservatism as a devil's bargain between culturally conservative rural workers and economically conservative demagogues in the Republican Party. The roots of rural conservatism, Hamilton demonstrates, took hold long before the culture wars and free-market fanaticism of the 1990s. As Hamilton shows, truckers helped build an economic order that brought low-priced consumer goods to a greater number of Americans. They piloted the big rigs that linked America's factory farms and agribusiness food processors to suburban supermarkets across the country. Trucking Country is the gripping account of truckers whose support of post-New Deal free enterprise was so virulent that it sparked violent highway blockades in the 1970s. It's the story of "bandit" drivers who inspired country songwriters and Hollywood filmmakers to celebrate the "last American cowboy," and of ordinary blue-collar workers who helped make possible the deregulatory policies of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and set the stage for Wal-Mart to become America's most powerful corporation in today's low-price, low-wage economy. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

Schools Of Democracy

Author: Clayton Sinyai
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801472992
Size: 47.16 MB
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In this new political history of the labor movement, Clayton Sinyai examines the relationship between labor activism and the American democratic tradition. Sinyai shows how America's working people and union leaders debated the first questions of democratic theory—and in the process educated themselves about the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship.In tracing the course of the American labor movement from the founding of the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the 1968 presidential election and its aftermath, Sinyai explores the political dimensions of collective bargaining, the structures of unions and businesses, and labor's relationships with political parties and other social movements. Schools of Democracy analyzes how labor activists wrestled with fundamental aspects of political philosophy and the development of American democracy, including majority rule versus individual liberty, the rule of law, and the qualifications required of citizens of a democracy. Offering a balanced assessment of mainstream leaders of American labor, from Samuel Gompers to George Meany, and their radical critics, including the Socialists and the Industrial Workers of the World, Sinyai provides an unusual and refreshing perspective on American labor history.

American Workers American Unions

Author: Robert H. Zieger
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780801849442
Size: 44.66 MB
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When published in 1986, American Workers, American Unions was among the first efforts to trace the contentious relationships among workers, unions, business, and the state from World War I through the mid-1980s. In this revised edition Robert Zieger makes use of recent scholarship and bibliographical material to provide a detailed examination of the key issues of the 1980s and 1990s. "I have used Robert Zieger's American Workers, American Unions in undergraduate courses on labor history and industrial relations. This new edition brings the story up to today--and the new, updated bibliographical essay is a plus for college courses."--Darryl Holter, Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, Los Angeles. "A helping of sober truth about the American labor movement and its politics."--John C. Cort, New Oxford Review

Rebuilding Labor

Author: Ruth Milkman
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801489020
Size: 48.86 MB
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In Rebuilding Labor Ruth Milkman and Kim Voss bring together established researchers and a new generation of labor scholars to assess the current state of labor organizing and its relationship to union revitalization. Throughout this collection, the focus is on the formidable challenges unions face today and on how they may be overcome.-publisher description.

Pocketbook Politics

Author: Meg Jacobs
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691086644
Size: 40.19 MB
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"Beginning with the explosion of prices at the turn of the century, every strike, demonstration, and boycott was, in effect, a protest against rising prices and inadequate income. On one side, a reform coalition of ordinary Americans, mass retailers, and national politicians fought for laws and policies that promoted militant unionism, government price controls, and a Keynesian program of full employment. On the other, small businessmen fiercely resisted this low-price, high-wage agenda, which threatened to bankrupt them.".

The Cio 1935 1955

Author: Robert H. Zieger
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 080786644X
Size: 57.49 MB
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The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) encompassed the largest sustained surge of worker organization in American history. Robert Zieger charts the rise of this industrial union movement, from the founding of the CIO by John L. Lewis in 1935 to its merger under Walter Reuther with the American Federation of Labor in 1955. Exploring themes of race and gender, Zieger combines the institutional history of the CIO with vivid depictions of working-class life in this critical period. Zieger details the ideological conflicts that racked the CIO even as its leaders strove to establish a labor presence at the heart of the U.S. economic system. Stressing the efforts of industrial unionists such as Sidney Hillman and Philip Murray to forge potent instruments of political action, he assesses the CIO's vital role in shaping the postwar political and international order. Zieger's analysis also contributes to current debates over labor law reform, the collective bargaining system, and the role of organized labor in a changing economy.

What Unions No Longer Do

Author: Jake Rosenfeld
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674726219
Size: 35.39 MB
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From workers' wages to presidential elections, labor unions once exerted tremendous clout in American life. In the immediate post-World War II era, one in three workers belonged to a union. The fraction now is close to one in five, and just one in ten in the private sector. The only thing big about Big Labor today is the scope of its problems. While many studies have explained the causes of this decline, What Unions No Longer Do shows the broad repercussions of labor's collapse for the American economy and polity. Organized labor was not just a minor player during the middle decades of the twentieth century, Jake Rosenfeld asserts. For generations it was the core institution fighting for economic and political equality in the United States. Unions leveraged their bargaining power to deliver benefits to workers while shaping cultural understandings of fairness in the workplace. What Unions No Longer Do details the consequences of labor's decline, including poorer working conditions, less economic assimilation for immigrants, and wage stagnation among African-Americans. In short, unions are no longer instrumental in combating inequality in our economy and our politics, resulting in a sharp decline in the prospects of American workers and their families.