Rick Halpern teaches at University College London and is the author of Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses, 1904-54 (1997). Roger Horowitz is associate director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware, and author of "Negro and White, Unite and Fight!" A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-90 (1997).
In the 1980s, Halpern (Univ. College, London) and Horowitz (Hagley Museum and Lib.) interviewed members of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), covering the years from the establishment of the union in the late 1930s to the closing of the major meatpacking centers in the 1960s. For this book, the authors have selected those interviews that focused on civil rights issues in the plant and the local communities (Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Worth, and Waterloo, Iowa). By the 1930s, black workers were an integral part of the meatpacking process, and workers recognized that unity was needed to achieve their goals. The UPWA adopted a comprehensive antidiscrimination program, and from these interviews we hear of union leadership shared by blacks and whites, men and women. The editors have done a good job of editing these interviews. Their work is a fascinating study that should be of interest to more than specialists.‘Linda L. McEwan, Elgin Community Coll., Ill.