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American Labor

Books about Labor

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  1. From Chattel Slaves to Wage Slaves

    From Chattel Slaves to Wage Slaves

    $18.00

    The Dynamics of Labour Bargaining in the Americas

    Edited by Mary Turner

    This labour history reveals that chattel slaves like wage slaves conducted labour bargaining to improve their terms of work. The dynamics of labour bargaining fro slave, contract and wage workers in the Caribbean, the Southern States and Latin America is traced here over a period of two centuries. A distinguished group of scholars depicts the terms on which workers provided labour and the methods they used to improve them.

    * They establish that slave workers used verbal negotiations, go-slows, sabotage and strike action to establish informal contracts and cash rewards.

    * Contract workers, both Asian and European, used the same procedures, in some cases with less success, to bargain for the terms nominally secured by their contracts.

    * And wage workers, enmeshed in coercive legal structures, struggled to win legal rights to the methods of labour bargaining used by their slave ancestors.

    These studies demonstrate that, despite changes in legal status, the methods available for workers to improve their terms of work remained substantively the same. The book brings to question the time-honoured demarcation between chattel and wage slavery.

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  2. Hollywood's Other Blacklist

    Hollywood's Other Blacklist

    $24.99

    Union Struggles in the Studio System

    by Mike Nielsen and Gene Mailes

    In the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood labour unions were controlled by an alliance between the studio bosses and gangsterism. This text presents the testimony of Gene Mailes, one of a small group of employees who attempted to force through democratic reforms. Nielsen provides the commentary.

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  3. Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town

    Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town

    $27.95

    Homestead, first published in 1910 as one volume in the classic Pittsburgh Survey, describes daily life in a community that was dominated economically and physically by the giant Homestead Works of the United States Steel Corporation. Homestead, just across the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh, developed as a completely separate city -- a true mill town settled by newer immigrants and shaped in its attitudes by the infamous Homestead Strike of 1892. Learn More
  4. I Spent My Life in the Mines

    I Spent My Life in the Mines

    $9.95

    the story of Juan Rojas, Bolivian tin miner

    by June Nash

    I Spent My Life in the Mines is the compelling autobiographical account of Juan Rojas, a Bolivian tin miner, his wife, Petrona Mamani, and their children, all of whom recounted their experiences to June Nash between 1969 and 1986.  The story begins in the 1930s, when Rojas began working in the mines as a 'parrot'--warning miners of landslides in the open pits--and continues through 1986, when the mine closed and the community disbanded.  Presented in the Rojas family's own words, the narrative chronicles the everyday events in their lives.  I Spent My Life in the Mines offers a universal example of endurance in the face of abysmal working and living conditions, and illuminates how individuals persevere in the face of continuing social and cultural upheaval.

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  5. I.W.W. Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent: A Facsimile Reprint of the Nineteenth Edition (1923) of the "Little Red Song Book"

    I.W.W. Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent: A Facsimile Reprint of the Nineteenth Edition (1923) of the "Little Red Song Book"

    $6.00

    Undoubtedly the most popular book in American labor history, the I.W.W.’s Little Red Song Book has been a staple item on picket lines and at other workers’ gatherings for generations, and has gone through numerous editions. The steadily mounting interest in Wobbly history and culture warrants this facsimile edition of a classic Little Red Song Book from the union’s Golden Age. Reprinted here is the Nineteenth Edition, originally issued in 1923, the year the I.W.W. reached its peak membership. Of the fifty-two songs in this book, the overwhelming majority have not been included in the I.W.W.’s own songbooks for many years. Here are such classics as Joe Hill’s “John Golden and the Lawrence Strike,” “We Will Sing One Song,” “Scissor Bill,” “The Tramp,” and others; T-Bone Slim’s “I’m Too Old to Be a Scab,” “Mysteries of a Hobo’s Life,” “I Wanna Free Miss Liberty,” and others; Ralph Chaplin’s “All Hell Can’t Stop Us,” “Up from Your Knees,” “May Day Song,” and more; and other songs by C.G. Allen, Richard Brazier, Pat Brennan, James Connolly, Laura Payne Emerson, and many others. Learn More
  6. Iron & Steel: Class, Race, and Community in Birmingham, Alabama 1875-1920

    Iron & Steel: Class, Race, and Community in Birmingham, Alabama 1875-1920

    $10.00

    In this study of Birmingham's iron and steel workers, Henry McKiven unravels the complex connections between race relations and class struggle that shaped the city's social and economic order. He also traces the links between the process of class formation and the practice of community building and neighborhood politics. According to McKiven, the white men who moved to Birmingham soon after its founding to take jobs as skilled iron workers shared a free labor ideology that emphasized opportunity and equality between white employees and management at the expense of less skilled black laborers. But doubtful of their employers' commitment to white supremacy, they formed unions to defend their position within the racial order of the workplace. This order changed, however, when advances in manufacturing technology created more semiskilled jobs and broadened opportunities for black workers. McKiven shows how these race and class divisions also shaped working-class life away from the plant, as workers built neighborhoods and organized community and political associations that reinforced bonds of skill, race, and ethnicity. Learn More
  7. Labor Market Politics and the Great War

    Labor Market Politics and the Great War

    $30.00

    The Department of Labor, the States, and the Frist U.S. Employment Service, 1907-1933 During World War I, the Department of Labour established control of the labour market, which angered the states that had created their own employment services. This study examines how federalism influenced the development of government labour market policy in the early 20th century. Learn More
  8. Labor on the March

    Labor on the March

    Regular Price: $21.95

    Special Price: $15.00

    by Edward Levinson

    with an introduction by Robert H. Zieger

    First published in 1938 by Harper and Brothers, the new edition provides an introduction by Robert H. Zieger. Journalist Edward Levinson (1901-1945) ebulliently chronicles the early successes of industrial unionism and provides an account of the conflict between the American Federation of Labor and the Committee for Industrial Organization.
    Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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  9. Labor Parties in Postindustrial Societies
  10. Labor's Civil War in California

    Labor's Civil War in California

    $12.00

    the NUHW Healthcare Workers' Rebellion

    by Cal Winslow

    A clear analysis of tactics and politics, this thorough account examines the dispute between the United Healthcare Workers (UHW) union in California and its “parent” organization the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—one of the most important labor conflicts in the United States today. It explores how the UHW rank and file took umbrage with the SEIU’s rejection of traditional labor values of union democracy and class struggle and their tactics of wheeling and dealing with top management and politicians. The resulting rift and retaliation from SEIU leadership culminated in the UHW membership being forced to break out and form a brand new union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers. Timed to coincide with elections in California, this detailed history calls for a reexamination of the ideological and structural underpinnings of today’s labor movement and illustrates how a seemingly local conflict speaks to the rights of laborers everywhere to control their own fates.

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