The Jackson Project is a dramatic, hard-hitting account of a brutal labor dispute at a West Tennessee textile mill. A historically accurate page turner, this is one of the few books about unions written by a frontline participant.
In the spring of 1989, union organizer Phil Cohen journeyed to Jackson, Tennessee, to rebuild a troubled local and the problems were daunting: an anti-union company in financial disarray, sharply declining union membership, and myriad workplace grievances. In the tumultuous months ahead, as ownership of the plant twice changed hands, shutting down and then reopening to exclude union leaders and senior employees, he would risk his life and consider desperate measures to salvage the unions cause.
In this riveting memoir, Cohen taken the reader from the union hall and factory gates to the bargaining table and courtroom, and ultimately to the picket line. We get to know the millworkers with whom he formed close bonds, including a stormy romance with a young woman at the plant. His up-close account brims with vivid descriptions of the negotiating process, the grinding work at the textile mill, the lives of its employees, and the grim realities of union busting in America.
The last generation of the old south and it's textile subculture are portrayed as they come to terms with a changing economy, racial dynamics, and the introduction of hard drugs to their community. When the organizer's four year old daughter accompanies him to the field, a unique and unexpected dimension is added to the tale.
The Jackson Project offers readers a rare insider's view of the American labor movement in action.
"Phil Cohen is a hero of labor organizing in the South."
- Damon Silvers: General Counsel, AFL-CIO
"The Jackson Project takes readers inside the struggle, with vivid portraits of real people fighting for their lives and livelihoods in a rapidly changing environment. Reading much like a novel, Cohen combines the personal and the professional into a powerful message, from the frontlines of the battle between labor and management during an era of union busting."
- Durham News & Observer
"Great read. I knew a lot of residents who worked there for years and years."
- Tom Britt, Anchor/Producer: WBBJ-TV, Jackson, TN
"The official UCOMM Blog Book Club strongly suggests you read this book."
- Union Communications Blog
"Phil Cohen's compelling memoir.... offers an unusually vivid and accessible window into the practical operation of American labor law. The story is worth telling. Cohen humanizes the struggle without romanticizing it."
- Routledge Press - History: Reviews of New Books
"Phil Cohen became one of the leading union organizers in the South. Now, he is telling one of his most gripping stories in a memoir. The Jackson Project recounts his efforts to organize workers - as well as the workers' own stories, as they lived amidst dangerous working conditions and economic struggles."
- Aaron Keck - Radio Host & Reporter: WCHL/News Around Town
|Publisher:||University of Tennessee Press|
|Edition description:||1st Edition, A Memoir|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Phil Cohen left home at sixteen, managed a skid-row hotel and drove taxis in New York City before moving to North Carolina, where he became a union activist while working as a municipal bus driver.
In 1988 he joined the staff of ACTWU (now known as Workers United), from which he has since retired. His work resulted in landmark decisions by the National Labor Relations Board and OSHA. He continues to represent the union in arbitrations.
An accomplished singer-songwriter, he has recorded four albums with vocalist Patricia Ford.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
WOW, what a GREAT story! This is REAL in every way, from all angles, especially the people, so marvelously portrayed in the swirl of events that never lets up. This book takes down any hype I ever heard about unions and speaks the plain TRUTH of what unions are actually about, and for, and DO for working folks. SO worth the read!!!
The Jackson Project is a hard hitting blue collar drama. It's raw and gritty like the Sopranos, and at the same time sensitive and insightful. This is a fast paced read that's hard to put down. The book seethes with the honesty of an author who doesn't pull any punches.