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Full-Text Articles in History

Contesting The Dinosaur Image: The Labor Movement's Search For A Future, Richard W. Hurd Nov 2015

Contesting The Dinosaur Image: The Labor Movement's Search For A Future, Richard W. Hurd

Richard W Hurd

[Excerpt] As labor contests the dinosaur image it will find no easy answers. Hard work, careful assessment of options, and a willingness to take risks are all required. Without widespread experimentation and a significant reallocation of resources to organizing, extinction awaits.


Automobile Workers Strikes, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Automobile Workers Strikes, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

Automobile workers' strikes occurred in essentially four eras: the lost strikes by the industry's craft unions in the early twentieth century, the dramatic sit-down victories of the 1930s, the mixture of wildcat and authorized strikes during the postwar economic boom from the 1940s through the 1970s, and the decline of strikes that accompanied the policy of "jointness' between company and union after J9S0. Autoworkers' strike strategies reflected, in part, the particular structure of the industry, which took shape in the 1920s. Auto production is a complex process of interdependent operations to produce parts and assemble vehicles, each containing tens ...


Business Union Vs. Business Union? Understanding The Split In The Us Labour Movement, Ian Greer Sep 2015

Business Union Vs. Business Union? Understanding The Split In The Us Labour Movement, Ian Greer

Ian Greer

In summer 2005, the trade union movement formalised its split into two rival confederations. The split was precipitated by the 2001 disaffiliation of the carpenters’ union, the Republican electoral victory of 2004, and the decline in union membership. Seven unions, accounting for forty per cent of the membership of the AFL-CIO formed Change to Win as a response to that federation’s ineffectiveness. This article concludes that the split may lead to new techniques for campaigning, but that it will not affect the fortunes or the social vision of the trade union movement.


Movimientos Obreros Y Por Los Derechos Humanos En América Latina: Convergencia, Divergencia Y Consecuencias Para La Promoción De Los Derechos Económicos, Sociales Y Culturales [Labor Movements And Human Rights In Latin America: Convergence, Divergence, And The Implications For The Promotion Of Economic, Social And Cultural Rights], Maria Lorena Cook Sep 2014

Movimientos Obreros Y Por Los Derechos Humanos En América Latina: Convergencia, Divergencia Y Consecuencias Para La Promoción De Los Derechos Económicos, Sociales Y Culturales [Labor Movements And Human Rights In Latin America: Convergence, Divergence, And The Implications For The Promotion Of Economic, Social And Cultural Rights], Maria Lorena Cook

Maria Lorena Cook

[Excerpt] Los derechos propios del trabajo forman parte de los derechos humanos hace mucho tiempo y gozan del reconocimiento de pactos internacionales. La Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos, adoptada por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, en 1948, enumera los derechos a condiciones de trabajo justas y favorables; a igual remuneración por trabajo de igual valor; a una remuneración equitativa y favorable, y a formar sindicatos y afiliarse a ellos. El Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos (PIDCP) incluye los derechos a la libertad de asociación y a formar sindicatos y afiliarse a ellos. El Pacto Internacional de Derechos ...


Steelworkers' Victory At Ravenswood: Picket Line Around The World, Tom Juravich, Kate Bronfenbrenner Apr 2013

Steelworkers' Victory At Ravenswood: Picket Line Around The World, Tom Juravich, Kate Bronfenbrenner

Kate Bronfenbrenner

The second in a two-part series details the sophisticated international campaign and grass-roots activism that gave labor one of its biggest wins in the '90s.


Locked Out But Holding Together In Ravenswood, Tom Juravich, Kate Bronfenbrenner Apr 2013

Locked Out But Holding Together In Ravenswood, Tom Juravich, Kate Bronfenbrenner

Kate Bronfenbrenner

The first in a two-part series that details the Steelworkers' victory at Ravenswood Aluminum - one of labor's biggest wins in the '90s.


Organizing In The Nafta Environment: How Companies Use “Free Trade” To Stop Unions, Kate Bronfenbrenner Apr 2013

Organizing In The Nafta Environment: How Companies Use “Free Trade” To Stop Unions, Kate Bronfenbrenner

Kate Bronfenbrenner

[Excerpt] These findings point to both an enormous challenge and a great opportunity for American unions. Clearly, under NAFTA and other free trade agreements more and more employers will feel emboldened to threaten to close the plant during organizing campaigns, and workers and unions will find organizing increasingly difficult. At the same time, unions have an opportunity to overcome these barriers to organizing if they commit enough resources to run large-scale, aggressive campaigns which mobilize the rank-and-file workers to build a union in their workplace, regardless of the intensity of the employer’s campaign.


Introduction To Eugene V. Debs: Citizen And Socialist, Nick Salvatore Mar 2013

Introduction To Eugene V. Debs: Citizen And Socialist, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This is a social biography of Eugene Victor Debs. It is a traditional biography in that it emphasizes this one individual's personal and public life as far as the evidence allows. But the book is also a piece of social history that assumes individuals do not stand outside the culture and society they grew in and from. I have stressed each aspect of Debs's story in order to present both the importance of the man and a more complete picture of the political and cultural struggles his society engaged in during his lifetime. Neither in his time ...


Introduction To The Pullman Strike And The Crisis Of The 1890’S, Richard Schneirov, Shelton Stromquist, Nick Salvatore Mar 2013

Introduction To The Pullman Strike And The Crisis Of The 1890’S, Richard Schneirov, Shelton Stromquist, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

The strike of Pullman carshop employees and the subsequent boycott that disrupted rail traffic throughout the territory west of Chicago in June-July 1894 marked the culmination of nearly two decades of the most severe and sustained labor conflict in American history. Yet until very recently little new scholarship has focused on the meaning of the Pullman strike and its historical context. By offering a close reading of contemporary perceptions of the strike and by examining the organizational and political continuities and discontinuities the Pullman conflict reveals, these essays resituate the strike in its historical context. They demonstrate that Pullman played ...


The Composition Of Strike Activity In The Construction Industry, David B. Lipsky, Henry S. Farber Mar 2013

The Composition Of Strike Activity In The Construction Industry, David B. Lipsky, Henry S. Farber

David B Lipsky

This study shows that strikes in construction have, by most measures, increased during the years since 1949, a period during which strike activity tended to decline in American industry as a whole. The authors demonstrate that this increase has resulted not from an increase in the number of wage disputes but from a growing number of jurisdictional strikes and the increasing severity of economic and union-organizing strikes. They also show that the number of strikes in construction does not vary significantly with the unemployment rate in that industry nor with the presence of wage controls, but both of those factors ...


Introduction To United Apart: Gender And The Rise Of Craft Unionism, Ileen A. Devault Oct 2012

Introduction To United Apart: Gender And The Rise Of Craft Unionism, Ileen A. Devault

Ileen A DeVault

[Excerpt] The American Federation of Labor entered the twentieth century ensconced as the primary vehicle for the nation's organized workers. As such, the attitudes of the AFL toward women workers provided the basis for virtually all later attempts at organizing women. The cross-gender strikes that are the basis of this book illustrate both the ways in which men and women would move forward united and the ways in which they would remain apart. That both females and males could at times feel drawn together and at other times feel driven apart, and carry both those feelings into their actions ...


Narratives Serially Constructed And Lived: Ethnicity In Cross-Gender Strikes 1887-1903, Ileen A. Devault Oct 2012

Narratives Serially Constructed And Lived: Ethnicity In Cross-Gender Strikes 1887-1903, Ileen A. Devault

Ileen A DeVault

[Excerpt] The strikes narrated in this paper have illustrated different ways in which individuals' recognition of ethnic identity could interact with their recognition of gender and class identities. In each strike workers' identities developed along with the serial narrative of the particular strike situation. The use of Sartre's concept of the series helps us think about the many possible variations of class, ethnicity, and gender. Though Sartre planned to use his concept of series as a way to examine peoples' class identities, my employment of the concept broadens it to include other categories of identification as well. Using the ...


Samuel Gompers, Ileen A. Devault Oct 2012

Samuel Gompers, Ileen A. Devault

Ileen A DeVault

[Excerpt] Samuel Gompers, founder and president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) for 37 years, was both extraordinary and exemplary of many skilled workers during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


White Collar/Blue Collar, Ileen A. Devault Oct 2012

White Collar/Blue Collar, Ileen A. Devault

Ileen A DeVault

[Excerpt] Examining the determinants of class for women and the ways men experienced gender will help clarify some of the ambiguous status of the clerical sector, but it will still not answer all of our questions. To understand the place of clerical work in the class structure, we need to examine more than just clerical work itself. A major argument of this book is that understanding the impact of clerical work on overall social stratification requires understanding stratification within the manual working class as well. The status of clerical work would perhaps be much clearer in contrast to that of ...


‘‘Too Hard On The Women, Especially’’: Striking Together For Women Workers’ Issues, Ileen A. Devault Oct 2012

‘‘Too Hard On The Women, Especially’’: Striking Together For Women Workers’ Issues, Ileen A. Devault

Ileen A DeVault

This essay draws upon a larger study of over forty strikes which involved both male and female strikers in the United States between the years 1887 and 1903. Here the focus of analysis is on those strikes which began with demands raised by women workers. The essay examines the nature of women workers’ demands, the ways in which cooperation with male co-workers altered those demands, and the affect that formal union involvement had on women strikers and their strike demands. Because the original set of case studies examines strikes across the United States, the strikes explored here also highlight a ...


"Give The Boys A Trade": Gender And Job Choice In The 1890s, Ileen A. Devault Oct 2012

"Give The Boys A Trade": Gender And Job Choice In The 1890s, Ileen A. Devault

Ileen A DeVault

[Excerpt] It seems redundant (but is unfortunately not unnecessary) to say that this response emphasizes the gendered nature of the famed "manliness" of turn-of-the-century skilled workers. Davis Montgomery has described how "the workers' code celebrated individual self-assertion, but for the collective good, rather than for self-advancement." The process by which these skilled workers chose their jobs suggests an intermediate step: between the "collective good" of the union and the "self-advancement' of the individual stood the smaller collective unit of the male-headed household. The sense of what it meant to "be a man" thus not only holds the potential of explicating ...


The Decline Of Labor: A Grim Picture, A Few Proposals, Nick Salvatore Aug 2012

The Decline Of Labor: A Grim Picture, A Few Proposals, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] The social context of this four-decade decline challenges a central assumption of the cyclical theory. More than a third of the decline occurred during the 1950s and 1960s, decades of broad economic growth and, for the 1960s, of liberal Democratic ascendancy. Labor lost another 15 percent during the stagflation of the 1970s, despite the Democratic return to power in the wake of a discredited Republican administration. By the 1980s, when a structurally weakened labor movement faced Ronald Reagan, plant closings and demands for concessions accelerated the decline. Organized labor's absolute and proportional decline over decades in which the ...


Workers, Racism And History: A Response, Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

Workers, Racism And History: A Response, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This intimate dependence of white egalitarianism upon black exclusion forms the central theme of Herbert Hill's essay. Arguing that this condition is neither episodic nor solely of historical interest, Hill asserts that these racist attitudes (and the action that flowed from them) were systemic across two centuries of working class development and actually provide the central continuous rational for understanding institutional trade union activity from the early nineteenth century into the present. America's labor unions. Hill writes, are "the institutional expression of white working class racism, and of policies and practices that resulted in unequal access, dependent ...


[Review Of The Book Values And Assumptions In American Labor Law], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book Values And Assumptions In American Labor Law], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Reading this book it is difficult not to think that the intent of the author was less to understand the origins and developments of the values and assumptions that gild the practice of labor law than it was to 'prove' that labor law in America is really capitalist law and thus it invalidates itself. This is not only circular reasoning, but it is unfortunate as well. For there is another book to be written that would analyze these questions through a serious and sustained reading in the history of industrial relations and then apply that knowledge to specific case ...


Teamster Democracy: A Moment Of Possibility, Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

Teamster Democracy: A Moment Of Possibility, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] The association between the union and the underworld, a relationship that young Walter Lippmann simply could not envision, did not stem from an insidious criminal power that somehow proved impervious to FBI surveillance. Rather, criminal involvement in the trucking industry may actually be the most lasting contribution to modern America made by those who, in the name of fundamentalism, prohibition and creationism, fought that modernity so insistently. During prohibition, organized crime's interest in the trucking industry grew exponentially as urban criminal groups developed enormous fleets of trucks to transport illegal liquor. Following repeal in 1933, the industry remained ...


[Review Of The Book For Democracy, Workers, And God: Labor Song-Poems And Labor Protest, 1865-95], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book For Democracy, Workers, And God: Labor Song-Poems And Labor Protest, 1865-95], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] In this slim book, Clark D. Halker raises a series of complex and interrelated issues. Focusing on some 4,000 song-poems that appeared in the labour press in the late 19th century, Halker states that his purpose is to "expand knowledge of the musical and poetic history of the American working class;" to use these song-poems and their poets as "a lens into the larger world of Gilded-Age workers and labor protest;" and more specifically to examine the contours of a "movement culture" that, he acknowledges (14), was never coterminous with the whole of the working-class cultural experience. The ...


[Review Of The Book Perspectives On American Labor History: The Problems Of Synthesis], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book Perspectives On American Labor History: The Problems Of Synthesis], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Over the past two decades many claims have been made for what was once called the "new" labor history. Deeply influenced by European scholarship (especially by the British historian, E. P. Thompson) and by writings in cultural anthropology and sociology, this new history seemed to sweep all before it. In a tumble of discrete community studies and precise examinations of individual strikes lay the foundation of the new history's critique of the work of John K Commons and his associates, who had stressed an institutional analysis of labor's growth and development within a liberal, democratic capitalist society ...


[Review Of The Book The Cio, 1935-1955], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book The Cio, 1935-1955], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Labor's upsurge in the 1930s remains for many even in our own time a source of inspiration and uplift. Those who are romantically inclined have long cherished the image of union militancy that attaches to that decade, a militancy that many have longed to see revived in recent years. Some contemporary union activists and their supporters, with more than a touch of a similar romanticism, frequently promote the claim that as the anti-union 1920s preceded the 1930s militancy, so too would the anti-union Reagan years give way to rekindled worker activism. Scholars as well have been influenced by ...


[Review Of The Book Meatpackers: An Oral History Of Black Packinghouse Workers And Their Struggle For Racial And Economic Equality], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book Meatpackers: An Oral History Of Black Packinghouse Workers And Their Struggle For Racial And Economic Equality], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] The Halpern and Horowitz volume, Meatpackers, follows creditably in this oral history tradition, even if it does not approach the power and complexity of Rosengarten's work. Instead of focusing on one individual, the book presents selections culled from a massive collection of oral interviews conducted by the authors with more than 125 former members of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA). The interviewees are black, white, and Hispanic, male and female, with records of activism in the union as far back as the 1930s and as recent as the 1980s. The events they recount occurred in five ...


[Review Of The Book Making A New Deal: Industrial Workers In Chicago, 1919-1939], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book Making A New Deal: Industrial Workers In Chicago, 1919-1939], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This is a superb book. Lizabeth Cohen has attempted nothing less than a major reinterpretation of how industrial workers became deeply involved with the union organizing drives of the 1930s. Rather than focusing on external stimuli such as governmental actions, Cohen explores in great detail the ways in which changes in working people's own attitudes allowed them to be participants in, indeed makers of, their New Deal. Her themes are critically important, broadly conceived, and explored with imagination and verve. Her extensive research matches her intellectual vision, and she sensitively uses such diverse sources as advertising agency memoranda ...


[Review Of The Book ”Big Bill” Haywood], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book ”Big Bill” Haywood], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This brief biography of William D. "Big Bill" Haywood, the charismatic leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) between 1905 and 1918, is an engaging introduction to Haywood's life. Although the volume was not intended to supplant Peter Carlson's Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood (1983) or Melvyn Dubofsky's own impressive We Shall Be All: A History of the IWW (1969), this biography effectively sketches a number of the central juxtapositions that framed Haywood's life.


American Labor History, Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

American Labor History, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

To account for the persistent struggles of a working people that only episodically (and even then with hut a small minority) sought to transform democratic capitalism, and to do so without exaggerating the reality of employer or governmental opposition, will not produce an heroic synthesis of this country's history, to be sure. But it could abet an even more serious appreciation of the highly complex social and political lives Americas working men and women.


Response To Sean Wilentz, "Against Exceptionalism: Class Consciousness And The American Labor Movement, 1790-1920", Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

Response To Sean Wilentz, "Against Exceptionalism: Class Consciousness And The American Labor Movement, 1790-1920", Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Wilentz's critique of the exceptionalist theme in American historiography is to the point. Whether one applauded the absence of feudalism, and therefore class conflict, in America with the historians of the 1950s or bemoaned that liberal democratic tradition as the "nail in the coffin of class consciousness" in the 1970s, either interpretative structure sacrifices empirical evidence for grand theory. In the former, the careers of Thomas Skidmore or Ira Stewart are all but incomprehensible; in the latter, men like Joseph R. Buchanan or Eugene V. Debs have little relevance. More importantly, the actual experience of the majority of ...


Introduction To Seventy Years Of Life And Labor: An Autobiography, Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

Introduction To Seventy Years Of Life And Labor: An Autobiography, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Samuel Gompers remains a central figure in American history during the society's most intense capital development. The choices he made from the possibilities he perceived were of great importance at the time and still influence the organization he founded. Despite his many achievements, however, the larger aspects of the qualities of his leadership remained weak. In his search for acceptance, he jettisoned the vision of working class unity that had motivated him in the 1870s and 1880s. The K of L slogan, that "an injury to one is the concern of all," Gompers dismissed, a casualty of the ...


Gerechtigkeit Ohne Gewerkschaft Und Betriebsrat? Konfliktschlichtung In Gewerkschaftsfreien Betrieben In Den Usa, Alexander Colvin Jun 2012

Gerechtigkeit Ohne Gewerkschaft Und Betriebsrat? Konfliktschlichtung In Gewerkschaftsfreien Betrieben In Den Usa, Alexander Colvin

Alexander Colvin

Zu den Faktoren, die in jüngster Zeit in mehreren Ländern – insbesondere in den USA – zu einem Rückgang der Mitgliederzahlen der Gewerkschaften geführt haben, zählen Strategien des Human Resource Managements wie „nonunion arbitration“ (gewerkschaftsfreies Schiedsverfahren“. Arbeitgeber in nicht tarif- und gewerkschaftsgebundenen Betrieben führen solche „neuen Verfahren der Konfliktschlichtung“ (NVK) mit dem Ziel ein, einen Teilersatz für die gewerkschaftliche Interessenvertretung zu gewähren. Sie stellen eine besondere Herausforderung für die Gewerkschaften dar und machen die Anpassung ihrer Interessenvertretungsstrategien erforderlich. Zwei alternative Handlungsmöglichkeiten bieten sich an. Eine Möglichkeit besteht darin , solche NVK einfach mit dem Argument abzulehnen, dass es sich um Einrichtungen handelt, die ...