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American Labor

Books about Labor

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  1. Yours For Industrial Freedom

    Yours For Industrial Freedom

    $19.00

    In the fall of 1917, the Bureau of Intelligence, later renamed the FBI, raided halls run by the Industrial Workers of the World, hauling away a vast array of documents. Some of those documents, mostly correspondence, were later presented as evidence in the Chicago conspiracy trial of IWW leaders. The documents were excised from the trial transcript after appeals to reverse the convictions failed. For ninety years, it appeared that all trace of this sizable collection of primary source material had disappeared. While researching a book on the IWW during the World War I era, the author came across the sole surviving complete copy of the trial transcript, including all of the documents presented by the prosecution. This anthology is based on those documents. They present a picture of the IWW from the inside. These have been supplemented with articles, poems and cartoons drawn from the IWW's press. Learn More
  2. Xtra Tuf!: The Strike Issue

    Xtra Tuf!: The Strike Issue

    $6.00

    by Mow Bowstern

    Moe Bowstern has brought us the inside story about being a woman who fishes commercially for years. If that doesn't seem fascinating to you, you have another thing coming. Moe is an amazing storyteller and reveals much about the history of commercial fishing in Alaska through a very descriptive and personable narrative that can be understood by any layperson. She tells great stories of the crews she's been involved with and their dynamics as well being a woman involved in a very male dominated profession. Moe has a passion for fishing and the sea and she shares this with you in her zine. This is her story of being on the job and 'how she got xtra tuf' on a few different episodes of labor disagreements that held up work (technically not 'strikes') over many years. Fascinating reading as she combines her artistic and DIY sensibilities with the labor tactics in order to achieve the fishermen's goals and get everyone back to work! The book sports a fancy letter pressed cover by Third Termite Press with 30 different colors schemes. Check out the new issue of Smithsonian Magazine for an article about Moe and the Fisher Poets!

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  3. Workshop to Office: Two Generations of Italian Women in New York City, 1900-1950

    Workshop to Office: Two Generations of Italian Women in New York City, 1900-1950

    $23.00

    In turn-of-the-century New York, Italian immigrant daughters spent their youth in factories while their mothers did irregular wage labor as well as domestic work at home. By the I940s, Italian-American girls were in school, socializing and preparing for white-collar jobs that would not begin until they were eighteen. Drawing on a range of sources from censuses to high school yearbooks, Miriam Cohen examines shifting patterns in the family roles, work lives, and schooling of two generations of Italian-American women. Paying particular attention to the importance of these women's pragmatic daily choices, she documents how major social and political changes helped create new opportunities and constraints for the second generation. While financial need was a powerful factor in determining the behavior of the first generation women, Cohen shows, they and their daughters succeeded in adapting family survival strategies to new work patterns. Once the second generation was married, their careers mirrored those of the first in many ways: they raised children, cared for the home, and took on paid employment when necessary. Unlike their mothers, however, these Italian-American wives could also participate in the growing consumerism surrounding home and childcare. Throughout, Cohen compares the changing Italian-American experience with that of Jewish women, discovering significant similarities in these experiences by 1950. As well as presenting a nuanced portrait of one group of ethnic working-class women, Workshop to Office demonstrates the impact of political developments on individual lives. It will spark lively debates among students and scholars of social history, immigration history, labor history, women's history, and the history of education in the United States. Learn More
  4. Working At Play: A History of Vacations in the United States

    Working At Play: A History of Vacations in the United States

    $12.00

    In Working at Play, Cindy Aron offers the first full length history of how Americans have vacationed--from eighteenth-century planters who summered in Newport to twentieth-century urban workers who headed for camps in the hills. In the early nineteenth century, vacations were taken for health more than for fun, as the wealthy traveled to watering places, seeking cures for everything from consumption to rheumatism. But starting in the 1850s, the growth of a white- collar middle class and the expansion of railroads made vacationing a mainstream activity. Aron charts this growth with grace and insight, tracing the rise of new vacation spots as the nation and the middle class blossomed. She shows how late nineteenth-century resorts became centers of competitive sports--bowling, tennis, golf, hiking, swimming, and boating absorbed the hours. But as vacationing grew, she writes, fears of the dangers of idleness grew with it. Religious camp grounds, where gambling, drinking, and bathing on Sundays were prohibited, became established resorts. At the same time 'self improvement' vacations began to flourish, allowing a middle class still uncomfortable with the notion of leisure to feel productive while at play. With vivid detail and much insight, Working at Play offers a lively history of the vacation, throwing new light on the place of work and rest in American culture. Learn More
  5. Women Plantation Workers: International Experiences

    Women Plantation Workers: International Experiences

    $15.00

    Edited by Shobhita Jain and Rhoda Reddock

    This pioneering collection of essays brings together a description and analysis of women workers and the socio-economic systems of plantations world-wide. The plantation remains a formidable force in many areas of the world and new trends towards tree farming call for further examination of its agriculture. Women have, in the past, constituted a considerable precentage of the work force in this milieu, and continue to do so.

    Using specific case studies of historical and contemporary plantations, an account is given of the history of female labour, focusing on the colonial and post-colonial eras. The essays examine reasons for women's degraded status and emphasize, in particular, issues relating to migrant workers.

    The gradual move away from traditional family roles is, to some extent, reflected in variations in the position of the female plantation worker. However, where inequalities in class and status continue to characterize plantation life, capitalist and patriarchal control prevails.

    Both chilling and bracing, the sufferings of plantation labourers may seem remote to most of us, but they are still very much part of the contemporary world. Providing a close insight into the lives of the female protagonists, these essays have given an opportunity for their stories to be heard.

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  6. Witnesses for Change: Quaker Women Over Three Centuries

    Witnesses for Change: Quaker Women Over Three Centuries

    $7.50

    An exploration of the importance of Quaker women within American social and political history. Learn More
  7. Wisconsin Uprising: Labor Fights Back

    Wisconsin Uprising: Labor Fights Back

    $15.00

    In early 2011, the nation was stunned to watch Wisconsin’s state capitol in Madison come under sudden and unexpected occupation by union members and their allies. The protests to defend collective bargaining rights were militant and practically unheard of in this era of declining union power. Nearly forty years of neoliberalism and the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression have battered the labor movement, and workers have been largely complacent in the face of stagnant wages, slashed benefits and services, widening unemployment, and growing inequality. That is, until now. Under pressure from a union-busting governor and his supporters in the legislature, and inspired by the massive uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, workers in Wisconsin shook the nation with their colossal display of solidarity and outrage. Their struggle is still ongoing, but there are lessons to be learned from the Wisconsin revolt. This timely book brings together some of the best labor journalists and scholars in the United States, many of whom were on the ground at the time, to examine the causes and impact of events, and suggest how the labor movement might proceed in this new era of union militancy. Learn More
  8. WCFL Chicago's Voice of Labor

    WCFL Chicago's Voice of Labor

    $24.20

    by Nathan Godfried

    Chicago radio station WCFL was the first and longest surviving labor radio station in the nation, beginning in 1926 as a listener-supported station owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor and lasting more than fifty years.

    Nathan Godfried analyzes labor's challenge to the dominant media by examining the station's history and its dialectical relationship with the organized labor movement, the corporate radio world, and the federal government from 1926 to 1978. The station's story will be of interest to both labor and broadcast historians, showing how WCFL's development paralleled important changes in the organized labor movement and in the movement's interaction with business and government.

    'An important contribution to the expanding literature dealing with the impact of mass culture on American life and, more especially, with the attempts of working people to use movies, radio, and the like to serve their own class, gender, ethnic, or racial needs.' -- Steven J. Ross, author of Workers on the Edge: Work, Leisure, and Politics in Industrializing Cincinnati, 1788-1890

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  9. Voices of A People's History of the United States

    Voices of A People's History of the United States

    $22.95

    Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove

    For their recent book, Voices of a People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove selected testimonies—speeches, letters, poems, songs, petitions, and manifestos--of people throughout U.S. history who struggled against slavery, racism, and war, against oppression and exploitation, and who articulated a vision for a better world. On October 22, 2004, a remarkable event was held at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, where a talented group of actors and activists helped bring the book's dramatic voices to life. Captured beautifully on this DVD, these powerful readings include Paul Roberson, Jr. reciting from his father's suppressed testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Lili Taylor reading Emma Goldman's blistering attack on patriotism, and John Sayles reading an anti-imperialist essay by Mark Twain. Other unforgettable speeches were delivered by Brian Jones as Frederick Douglass, Sarah Jones as Yuri Kochiyama, Leslie Silva as Anne Moody, Wallace Shawn as Vito Russo, and many more. Radio host Amy Goodman kicks off the evening with a remarkable tribute to Howard Zinn, and Zinn himself talks movingly about the motivation for bringing these often ignored or hidden voices to light.

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  10. Upheaval in the Quiet Zone

    Upheaval in the Quiet Zone

    $15.00

    A History of Hospital Workers' Union, Local 1199

    by Leon Fink and Brian Greenberg

    Upheaval in the Quiet Zone tells the story of one of the liveliest, stormiest organizations on the modern American labor schene.

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