Labor History
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The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers' Movement
The Death and Life of American Labor
Toward a New Workers' Movement
Paperback      ISBN: 1784783005
The decline of the American union movement--and how it can revive, by a leading analyst of labor

Union membership in the United States has fallen below 11 percent, the lowest rate since before the New Deal. Labor activist and scholar of the American labor movement Stanley Aronowitz argues that the movement as we have known it for the last 100 years is effectively dead. And he explains how this death has been a long time coming--the organizing and political principles adopted by US unions at mid-century have taken a terrible toll. In the 1950s, Aronowitz was a factory metalworker.

In the '50s and '60s, he directed organizing with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers. In 1963, he coordinated the labor participation for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Ten years later, the publication of his book False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness was a landmark in the study of the US working-class and workers' movements.

Aronowitz draws on this long personal history, reflecting on his continuing involvement in labor organizing, with groups such as the Professional Staff Congress of the City University. He brings a historian's understanding of American workers' struggles in taking the long view of the labor movement. Then, in a survey of current initiatives, strikes, organizations, and allies, Aronowitz analyzes the possibilities of labor's rebirth, and sets out a program for a new, broad, radical workers' movement.

Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won't Do
Working in the Shadows
A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won't Do
Paperback      ISBN: 1568586388

What is it like to do the back-breaking work of immigrants? To find out, Gabriel Thompson spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants, who initially thought he was either crazy or an undercover immigration agent. He stooped over lettuce fields in Arizona, and worked the graveyard shift at a chicken slaughterhouse in rural Alabama. He dodged taxis -- not always successfully -- as a bicycle delivery "boy" for an upscale Manhattan restaurant, and was fired from a flower shop by a boss who, he quickly realized, was nuts.

As one coworker explained, "These jobs make you old quick." Back spasms occasionally keep Thompson in bed, where he suffers recurring nightmares involving iceberg lettuce and chicken carcasses. Combining personal narrative with investigative reporting, Thompson shines a bright light on the underside of the American economy, exposing harsh working conditions, union busting, and lax government enforcement -- while telling the stories of workers, undocumented immigrants, and desperate US citizens alike, forced to live with chronic pain in the pursuit of 8 an hour.
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work
Shop Class as Soulcraft
An Inquiry Into the Value of Work
Paperback      ISBN: 0143117467
A philosopher/mechanic's wise (and sometimes funny) look at the challenges and pleasures of working with one's hands

Called "the sleeper hit of the publishing season" by The Boston Globe, Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.
Class War, USA: Dispatches from Workers' Struggles in American History
Class War, USA
Dispatches from Workers' Struggles in American History
Paperback      ISBN: 160846847x

Class War, USA is a rich collection of stories about ordinary people who resisted oppression and exploitation against all odds. Brandon Weber's succinct and vivid essays capture crucial moments of struggle when working-class people built movements of hope and defiance. Evocative imagery, archival photographs, and descriptive text make history come alive in these pages.

From the mines to the factories to the fields, Weber shares the experiences of the real-life men and women who organized, heroically resisted, and battled the bosses and corrupt politicians. In the spirit of A People's History of the United States, this book conveys engaging and accessible narratives of ordinary people who led labor struggles that have indelibly shaped American history.

Essays include vivid accounts of resistance in the workplace like the Ludlow miner's strike and organizing at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, as well as broader pieces on cultural figures like Woody Guthrie, Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK, and the fight for the eight-hour day.

An invaluable tool for learning the lessons of grassroots struggle, Class War, USA is the perfect counter-narrative to the myth that change comes only from the top, and will appeal to students of history and labor activists alike.

Brandon Weber has written for The Progressive, Upworthy, Big Think, and many other online publications, and has been a union activist for over 30 years. His has also written for The Progressive Magazine, Common Dreams, Good.Is and Liberals Unite.

The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America
The End of Loyalty
The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America
Hardcover      ISBN: 1586489143
Having a good, stable job used to be the bedrock of the American Dream. Not anymore.

In this richly detailed and eye-opening book, Rick Wartzman chronicles the erosion of the relationship between American companies and their workers. Through the stories of four major employers -- General Motors, General Electric, Kodak, and Coca-Cola -- he shows how big businesses once took responsibility for providing their workers and retirees with an array of social benefits. At the height of the post-World War II economy, these companies also believed that worker pay needed to be kept high in order to preserve morale and keep the economy humming. Productivity boomed.

But the corporate social contract didn't last. By tracing the ups and downs of these four corporate icons over seventy years, Wartzman illustrates just how much has been lost: job security and steadily rising pay, guaranteed pensions, robust health benefits, and much more. Charting the Golden Age of the '50s and '60s; the turbulent years of the '70s and '80s; and the growth of downsizing, outsourcing, and instability in the modern era, Wartzman's narrative is a biography of the American Dream gone sideways.

Deeply researched and compelling, The End of Loyalty will make you rethink how Americans can begin to resurrect the middle class.

Finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in current interestA best business book of the year in economics, Strategy+Business
Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work
Hidden America
From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work
Paperback      ISBN: 042526727x
An Oprah.com "Must-Read Book"

Award-winning journalist Jeanne Marie Laskas reveals "enlightening, entertaining, and often poignant"* profiles of America's working class--the forgotten men and women who make our country run.

Take the men of Hopedale Mining company in Cadiz, Ohio. Laskas spent several weeks with them, both below and above ground, and by the end, you will know not only about their work, but about Pap and his dying mom, Smitty and the mail-order bride who stood him up at the airport, and Scotty and his thwarted dreams of becoming a boxing champion.

That is only one hidden world. Others that she explores: an Alaskan oil rig, a migrant labor camp in Maine, the air traffic control center at LaGuardia Airport in New York, a beef ranch in Texas, a landfill in California, a long-haul trucker in Iowa, a gun shop in Arizona, and the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleaders, mere footnotes in the moneymaking spectacle that is professional football.

"Jeanne Marie Laskas is a reporting and writing powerhouse. She doesn't just interview the people who dig our coal and extract our oil, she goes deep into the mines and tundra with them. With beauty, wit, curiosity, and grace, she finds the hidden soul of America. Hidden America is essential reading."--Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life
Supercapitalism
The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life
Paperback      ISBN: 0307277992

From one of America's foremost economic and political thinkers comes a vital analysis of our new hypercompetitive and turbo-charged global economy and the effect it is having on American democracy. With his customary wit and insight, Reich shows how widening inequality of income and wealth, heightened job insecurity, and corporate corruption are merely the logical results of a system in which politicians are more beholden to the influence of business lobbyists than to the voters who elected them. Powerful and thought-provoking, Supercapitalism argues that a clear separation of politics and capitalism will foster an enviroment in which both business and government thrive, by putting capitalism in the service of democracy, and not the other way around.

Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster's Story
Crossing Hoffa
A Teamster's Story
Hardcover      ISBN: 0873515803

On a spring day in 1961, over-the-road trucker Jim Harper was en route from Mauston, Wisconsin, to his home in Minneapolis. At 70 miles per hour, with a combined 60,000 pounds of man, machine, and material, he approached a curve along the Great River Road and hit the brakes. The tractor-trailer didn't slow. Harper's brake lines had been cut.

In preceding months, Harper had led an insurgency in his Teamsters' Local 544 to clean up corruption among its leaders. His efforts drew the attention of none other than Jimmy Hoffa, at the time focused on securing his right to lead the national Teamsters organization without government intervention.

Jim Harper had his reasons for confronting his local's leadership--a hardscrabble childhood and a stint in Angola prison had left him seeking redemption, and Jimmy Hoffa had publicly called for union reform. But Hoffa, under federal investigation for questionable financial dealings, had deep, dark secrets; the last thing he needed was a spotlight on Minneapolis. Despite the increasing threats to his life and those of his young family, Harper continued to press his case.

In this fascinating account, Harper's son traces the interwoven paths of these two men--a criminal icon and a determined vigilante--from their formative years through their unbelievable face-off.

Accolades for Crossing Hoffa:

Best Books of 2007, Chicago Tribune

Best Books, 2008 New York Book Festival

"Honorable Mention" in the 2008 Hollywood Book Festival's Biography/Autobiography category.

Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America
Bananeras
Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America
Paperback      ISBN: 1608465357

" Bananeras] is a vital accounting of the struggles still being waged."--Margaret Randall, author of When I Look Into the Mirror and See You: Women, Terror, and Resistance

Women banana workers have organized themselves and gained increasing control over their unions, their workplaces, and their lives. Highly accessible and narrative in style, Bananeras recounts the history and growth of this vital movement and shows how Latin American woman workers are shaping and broadly reimagining the possibilities of international labor solidarity.

Dana Frank is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the author of the award-winning Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism.

China on Strike: Narratives of Workers' Resistance
China on Strike
Narratives of Workers' Resistance
Paperback      ISBN: 1608465225

China has been the fastest growing major economy in the world for three decades. It is also home to some of the largest, most incendiary, and most underreported labor struggles of our time. China on Strike, the first English-language book of its kind, provides an intimate and revealing window into the lives of workers organizing in some of China's most profitable factories, which supply Apple, Nike, Hewlett Packard, and other multinational companies. Drawing on dozens of interviews with Chinese workers, this book documents the processes of migration, changing employment relations, worker culture, and other issues related to China's explosive growth.