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Working Hard for the American Dream


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Back to the Future 1

1 "Everyone Was Ready For Unionism": The Precursors, Promises, and Pitfalls of Industrial Unions in the 1930s 10

Political Prelude: Industrial Democracy Betrayed, from Wilson to Hoover 12

Corporate Prelude: The Unintended Consequences of 1920s Corporate Policies 25

Working-Class Prelude: Activism 32

A New Deal for Workers: A Failed and Flawed Start 41

Fighting for Unionism in the 1930s Without Meaningful Federal Protection 44

The Wagner Act and Industrial Unionism 48

Corporate Resistance and Workers' Unity 58

Extending the New Deal for Workers 61

Assessing Workers' New Deal and Industrial Unionism 65

Conclusion 68

2 Big Wars, Big Labor, Big Costs 70

Wartime Mobilization, 1939-1941 73

Government Intervention: War Industries and Labor Policies, 1941-1945 87

Wartime Demographic Developments 93

Crisis in Industrial Relations, 1945-1946 103

Postwar Politics and Taft-Hartley, 1946-1948 108

Political (Mis)calculations: Operation Dixie, CIO Purges, and International Alliances, 1946-1950s 114

Big Labor, Big Costs, 1955-1960s 120

Conclusion 127

3 Civil Rights Versus Labor Rights, 1960s-1970s 128

Expanding Public and Service Sectors 131

Public Sector Workers and Union Rights 133

New Laws and Workplace Challenges 141

Women and Workplace Rights 151

The Push and Pull of Changing Times: New Unionists, Rank-and-File Movements, AFL-CIO Leaders, and Nixon 157

Unionists Divided and Under Siege 169

Conclusion 172

4 Working More for Less and Other Troubles for Workers in the Late Twentieth Century 174

Profit Making in a Global World 176

The Human Price of Modern Capitalism 182

The Political Shaping of the Economy 189

The AFL-CIO Leadership's Resistance to Change 199

Innovation and Possibilities 205

Change from the Bottom-Up 216

Conclusion 222

Epilogue: The Illusive American Dream: A Personal Journey 224

Bibliographical Essay 253

Index 278

About the Author

Randi Storch is Professor of History at the State University of New York, College at Cortland. She is author of Red Chicago: American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-1935 (2007).


Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels ofstudents; faculty and researchers; professionals; generalreaders. (Choice, 1 October 2013)

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