Holding the Line: Woman in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983

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Hundreds of families held the line in the 1983 strike against Phelps Dodge Copper in Arizona. After more than a year the strikers lost their union certification, but the battle permanently altered the social order in these small, predominantly Hispanic mining towns. At the time the strike began, many women said they couldn't leave the house without their husband's permission. Yet, when injunctions barred union men from picketing, their wives and daughters turned out for the daily picket lines. When the strike dragged on and men left to seek jobs elsewhere, women continued to picket, organize support, and defend their rights even when the towns were occupied by the National Guard. "Nothing can ever be the same as it was before," said Diane McCormick of the Morenci Miners Women's Auxiliary. "Look at us. At the beginning of this strike, we were just a bunch of ladies."

"The women tell remarkable stories of their lives and actions. . . . This book pays powerful tribute to their resolve and passion for economic justice." -Publishers Weekly

"Like Kingsolver's fiction, Holding the Line is a beautifully written book grounded on the strength of its characters-only this time the characters are real."-Journal of the Southwest

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver began her writing career with Holding the Line. It is the story of how women's lives were transformed by an eighteen-month strike against the Phelps-Dodge Copper Corporation. Set in the small mining towns of Arizona, the story is partly oral history and partly social criticism, exploring the process of empowerment which occurs when people work together as a community.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Several mining towns have grown up around the rich Morenci copper pit in southern Arizona, each ruled to a certain extent by the Phelps Dodge Copper Corporation. In 1983, the company tried to freeze wages and deny the miners cost-of-living protection. The resulting strike lasted a long and miserable 18 months; management ultimately won its bid to have the union decertified but its business was damaged in the process, and the strikers took some comfort in a series of legal victories that, suggesting a discriminatory pattern of law enforcement, pk kept the labor activists out of jail. answers gs's question below/pk Journalist and novelist Kingsolver ( The Bean Trees ) has written a stirring partisan account of the role the area's women played in holding the strike pk linewhat line?gs and in keeping families and communities together, despite the strike's failure. The women tell remarkable stories of their lives and actions, displaying the strength that led one corporate official to remark, ``If we could just get rid of these broads, we'd have it made.'' This book pays powerful tribute to their resolve and passion for economic justicewhat about the cops who discriminated in the strikers' favor???gs//doesn't seem within the scope of this book--rl/i've answered this above/pk . (Nov.)
Library Journal
In 1983, after the Phelps Dodge Copper Corporation demanded an unprecedented amount of pay and benefits cuts, a union consortium, consisting of mostly Hispanic women, held a strike in four small Arizona mining towns. The women's lives were transformed. Their culture had confined them to limited roles; they now became leaders, strategists, spokespersons, and morale-boosters. The first-person narratives of these women dominate this account of the 18-month strike, written by novelist Kingsolver, author of The Bean Trees (LJ 2/1/88) and Homeland and Other Stories ( LJ 5/15/89). While this format is interesting, fewer quotations and additional industry and strike background would have made the account more effective. Despite these reservations, the book will interest readers of labor studies, women's studies, and community/ethnic studies.-- Frieda Shoenberg Rozen, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
The story of how women in several small towns in Arizona sustained the strike for 18 months. Cloth edition unseen, $26. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
From the Publisher
"The women tell remarkable stories of their lives and actions. . . . This book pays powerful tribute to their resolve and passion for economic justice."—Publishers Weekly

"Like Kingsolver's fiction, Holding the Line is a beautifully written book grounded on the strength of its characters—only this time the characters are real."—Journal of the Southwest

"Holding the Line is both clear and emotional, the story of women who try to get a fair shake in their workplace and realize they can stop at nothing short of control over their entire lives. This is a report from the trenches of where the political meets the personal."—John Sayles

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801483899
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1996
  • Series: IRL Press Book
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 685,721
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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