If We Can Win Here: The New Front Lines of the Labor Movement

If We Can Win Here: The New Front Lines of the Labor Movement

by Fran Quigley

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Do service-sector workers represent the future of the U.S. labor movement? Mid-twentieth-century union activism transformed manufacturing jobs from backbreaking, low-wage work into careers that allowed workers to buy homes and send their kids to college. Some union activists insist that there is no reason why service-sector workers cannot follow that same path. In If We Can Win Here, Fran Quigley tells the stories of janitors, fry cooks, and health care aides trying to fight their way to middle-class incomes in Indianapolis. He also chronicles the struggles of the union organizers with whom the workers have made common cause.

The service-sector workers of Indianapolis mirror the city’s demographics: they are white, African American, and Latino. In contrast, the union organizers are mostly white and younger than the workers they help rally. Quigley chronicles these allies’ setbacks, victories, bonds, and conflicts while placing their journey in the broader context of the global economy and labor history. As one Indiana-based organizer says of the struggle being waged in a state that has earned a reputation as antiunion: "If we can win here, we can win anywhere." The outcome of the battle of Indianapolis may foretell the fate of workers across the United States.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801456558
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 05/21/2015
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Fran Quigley is Clinical Professor and Director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He is the author of If We Can Win Here, also from Cornell, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, and Walking Together, Walking Far. He is the cofounder of People of Faith for Access to Medicines, pfamrx.org.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Why Can't I Do That as a Housekeeper?"1. A Campus Union2. "We Can Win Here"3. Dreaming of One Good Job4. Alt-Labor Hits Indianapolis5. The Fight for 156. Legal Problems7. UNITE HERE8. Struggling for Contracts9. Wonderful Field, Awful Pay10. Trying to Secure a Union11. Prayers for Citizenship12. Advocacy for Citizenship13. Contracts on Campus14. Turned Away at the Hotels15. Back to the Hyatt16. "Bring Lisa Back!"17. "That Is What the Union Does for Me"Notes

What People are Saying About This

Julius Getman

"If We Can Win Here is a unique work of first-rate scholarship that tells the story of union organizing efforts in Indiana. Fran Quigley captures the heartbreak, pain, and occasional moments of transcendence that the young organizers and union activists face as they struggle to create a viable union movement in Indiana. This book gives the reader a very good sense of the ferment that is slowly transforming the labor movement. It introduced to me a new and fascinating cast of characters and gave me a vivid picture of their backgrounds, personalities, and problems."

Ruth Needleman

"If We Can Win Here is an inside view of what organizing looks like in the 'reddest' of Midwest states: Indiana. In the face of right-to-work and despite a flood of mean-spirited pro-business legislation, workers in Indiana's growing service sector want union rights. Fran Quigley’s book draws inspiring profiles of workers whose courage and persistence go beyond one organizing drive. His stories examine what it will take—what worked and what did not—to build unions in the roughest of terrains. It is a sobering must-read manual for organizers."

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