Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America

Overview


When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threatened the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public sector employees in early 2011, the massive protests that erupted inresponse put the labor movement back on the nation’s front pages. It was a fleeting reminder of a not-so-distant past when the “labor question”—and the power of organized labor—was part and parcel of a century-long struggle for justice and equality in America.

Now, on the heels of the expansive Occupy Wall ...

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Overview


When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threatened the collective bargaining rights of the state’s public sector employees in early 2011, the massive protests that erupted inresponse put the labor movement back on the nation’s front pages. It was a fleeting reminder of a not-so-distant past when the “labor question”—and the power of organized labor—was part and parcel of a century-long struggle for justice and equality in America.

Now, on the heels of the expansive Occupy Wall Street movement and midterm election outcomes that are encouraging for the labor movement, the lessons of history are a vital handhold for the thousands of activists and citizens everywhere who sense that something has gone terribly wrong. This pithy and accessible volume provides readers with an understanding of the history that is directly relevant to the economic and political crises working people face today, and points the way to a revitalized twenty-first-century labor movement.

With original contributions from leading labor historians, social critics, and activists, Labor Rising makes crucial connections between the past and present, and then looks forward, asking how we might imagine a different future for all Americans.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an era when workers are in desperate straits, labor historians Katz (All Together Different) and Greenwald offer a passionate and thought-provoking collection of original essays that focuses on the prospects for empowering labor in the U.S. As the activists, professors, and social critics who contributed to this collection note, U.S. workers haven’t had a real raise since 1979; their unions are weak and fractured, and according to recent estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 30% of all Americans work contingently as contractors, consultants, day laborers, or are self-employed. Some essays highlight the labor successes of the past to draw lessons for the future, such as how in the 1920s in a similar period of union decline, the Jewish-led International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union built one of the most influential unions of the mid-20th century by promoting multiculturalism through labor education. With such topics as how Wal-Mart transformed the labor market, the need to embrace green jobs, and the potential for reframing labor rights as a moral issue on college campuses, this cogent, varied, and accessible collection has much to offer union leaders, social advocates, and all those curious about the future of the labor movement. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595585189
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,375,608
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Daniel Katz is a professor of history and dean of labor studies at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. A former union organizer, he sits on the boards of the New York State Labor History Association and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. He is the author of All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Richard A. Greenwald is a professor of history and social sciences and the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, New York. He blogs on workplace issues for In These Times and has written for The Progressive, Businessweek online, the Brooklyn Rail, and the Wall Street Journal. His previous books include The Triangle Fire, the Protocols of Peace and the Making of Industrial Democracy in Progressive Era New York and Sweatshop USA: The Sweatshop in Global and Historical Perspective. He lives in Queens, New York.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword Alice Kessler-Harris ix

Introduction Daniel Katz Richard A. Greenwald 1

Part 1 Community and Coalitions 11

Building a New Working-Class Politics from Below Shelton Stromquist 14

Learning from the Right: A New Operation Dixie? Bethany Moreton Pamela Voekel 26

Reimagining a Multicultural Labor Movement Through Education Daniel Katz 37

What Labor Looks Like: From Wisconsin to Cairo, Youth Hold a Mirror to History of Workers' Struggles Michelle Chen 53

Bringing the Organizing Tradition Home: Campus-Labor-Community Partnerships for Regional Power Nancy MacLean 65

Part 2 Place Matters 81

Placing Labor Andrew Herod 83

Home as Work Eileen Boris 100

Contingent, Transient, and At-Risk: Modern Workers in a Gig Economy Richard A. Greenwald 111

Part 3 State and Policy 123

Postmortem: Yellow Dogs and Company-Dominated Elections David Brody 126

Solidarity, Citizenship, and the Opportunities of Disasters Jacob A.C. Remes 143

The Hour When the Ship Comes In Leon Fink 154

Getting Over the New Deal Jefferson Cowie 164

Your American Dream, My American Nightmare Kimberley L. Phillips 174

Part 4 Political Economy 189

Organized Labor: Declining Source of Hope? Bill Fletcher Jr. 191

Eco-Keynesianism, Green Jobs, and Labor's Need to Embrace Climate Justice Andrew Ross 201

On Economics and Labor Solidarity Marcellus Andrews 214

Ghost Marks and Rising Spirits in an Industrial Landscape: Communication and Imagination in the Rebirth of Labor Elizabeth Faue 227

Part 5 Beyond Borders 237

Immigrant Workers and Labor's Future Ruth Milkman 240

The Foundations of Modern Farm Worker Unionism: From UFW to PCUN Matthew Garcia Mario Sifuentez 253

Supply-Chain Tourist: Or How Wal-Mart Has Transformed the Contemporary Labor Question Nelson Lichtenstein 267

Forgetting and Remembering: Workers, the U.S. Empire, and the Post-9/11 Era Dorothy Fujita-Rony 278

Bananas, Elephants, and a Coup: Learning International Solidarity the Hard Way Dana Frank 289

Afterword: Labor Rising? Frances Fox Piven 303

About the Contributors 313

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