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US Trade Unionism before 1940

(see also US Trade Unionism since 1940, Global Trade Unionism, American Radicalism, Anarchosyndicalism, AFL-CIO Abroad, Union Busting)

On the Web  •  In the Library  •  CD & Audio  •  Film & Video Search


On the Web: Articles

On the Web: Specialized Sites


American Federation of State, County & Municipal Workers (AFSCME).

American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Harry Bridges Project.

Hotel & Restaurant Employees International Union.

International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam).

Labor History (WWW Virtual Library).

New Labor Forum.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE).

In the Library: Articles

Forbath, William E. "The shaping of the American labor movement," Harvard Law Review (1/1989):1111-1256.

Robinson, Iillian S. "Coal miners' daughter," Nation (12/28/92):816. Book review on Giardina, The Unquiet Earth.

In the Library: Non-Fiction Books

Amberg, Stephen. The Union Inspiration in American Politics: The Autoworkers & the Making of a Liberal Industrial Order (Philadelphia: Temple, 1994).

Auerbach, Jerold S. Labor & Liberty: The LaFollette Committee & the New Deal (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966).

Bergquist, Charles. Labor & the Course of American Democracy: US History in Latin American Perspective (NY, 1996).

Brecher, Jeremy. Strike! [1972] (rev. ed.; Boston: South End, 1997). History of striking in the trade union movement since 1870s.

__________ ; Jerry Lombardi & Jan Stackhouse (eds.) Brass Valley: The Story of Working People's Lives & Struggles in an American Industrial Region (Philadelphia: Temple U, 1980).

Buhle, Paul & Alan Dawley (eds.) Working for Democracy: American Workers from the Revolution to the Present (Urbana: U. Illinois, 1985).

__________. From the Knights of Labor to the New World Order: Essays on Labor & Culture (NY: Garland, 1997).

__________. Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland & the Tragedy of American Labor (NY: Monthly Review, 1999).

Bussell, Robert. From Harvard to the Ranks of Labor: Powers Hapgood & the American Working Class (University Park: Pennsylvania State U., 1999).

Clawson, Dan. Bureaucracy & the Labor Process: The Transformation of US Industry, 1860-1920 (NY: Monthly Review, 1979). Early phase of workers' struggle to control the labor process, & capital's efforts to undermine & supplant that control.

Dollinger, Sol & Genora Johnson Dollinger. Not Automatic: Women & the Left in the Forging of the Auto Workers' Union (NY: Monthly Review, 199?).

Foner, Philip S. The Great Labor Uprising of 1877 (NY: Monad, 1977).

Gerstle, Gary. Working-Class Americanism: The Politics of Labor in a Textile City, 1914-1960 (NY: Cambridge, 1989).

Honey, Michael Keith. Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism & the Freedom Struggle (Berkeley: U. of California, 1999).

Kraditor, Aileen S. "Jimmy Higgins": The Mental World of the American Rank-and-File Communist, 1930-1958 (NY: Greenwood, 1988)

Lens, Sidney. Working Men: The Story of Labor (NY: Putnam, 1960).

__________. The Labor Wars: From the Molly Maguires to the Sitdowns (NY: Doubleday, 1973).

Lichtenstein, Nelson. State of the Union: A Century of American Labor (Princeton: Princeton U, 2002?).

Lynd, Alice & Staughton Lynd (eds.) Rank & File: Personal Histories by Working-Class Organizers (Boston: Beacon, 1973).

Lynd, Staughton (ed.) Personal Histories of the Early CIO (Somerville MA: New England Free Press, 1971).

__________ (ed.) American Labor Radicalism: Testimonies & Interpretations (NY: Wiley, 1973).

__________ (ed.) "We are All Leaders": The Alternative Unionism of the Early 1930s (Urbana: U. Illinois, 1996).

Milton, David. The Politics of US Labor: From the Great Depression to the New Deal (NY: Monthly Review, 1982).

Montgomery, David. Beyond Equality: Labor & the Radical Republicans, 1862-1872 (NY: Vintage, 1972).

__________. Workers' Control in America: Studies in the History of Work, Technology & Labor Struggles (NY: Cambridge, 1979).

__________. The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State & American Labor Activisim, 1865-1925 (NY: Cambridge, 1987).

__________. Citizen Worker: The Experience of Workers in the US with Democracy & the Free Market during the 19th C. (NY: Cambridge, 2003)

Murolo, Priscilla; A.B. Chitty & Joe Sacco. From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States (NY, 2001).

Salvatore, Nick. Seventy Years of Life & Labor: An Autobiography (ed. Nick Salvatore; Ithaca: Cornell, 1984).

Tattam, William & Jerry Lembcke. One Union in Wood: A Political History of the International Woodworkers of America (NY: International, 1984).

Tax, Meredith. The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity & Class Conflict, 1880-1917 (NY: Monthly Review, 1981).

Wellman, David T. The Union Makes Us Strong. Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront (Cambridge, 1997).

Wolensky, Kenneth C. & Nicole H. Wolensky & Robert H. Wolensky. Fighting for the Union Label: The Women's Garment Industry & the ILGU in Pennsylvania (University Park: Pennsylvania State U., 2003).

Zieger, Robert H. & Gailbert J. Gall. American Workers, American Unions: The Twentieth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2003).

Zinn, Howard; Dana Frank & Robin D.G. Kelley. Three Strikes: Miners, Musicians, Salesgirls, and the Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century (Boston, 2001).

In the Library: Fiction

Conroy, Jack. A World to Win [1935] (Urbana: U. of Illinois, 2000).

Giardina, Denise. The Unquiet Earth: A Novel (NY: Norton, 1992).

Llewellyn, Richard. How Green Was My Valley (

Marlette, Doug. The Bridge (NY: HarperCollins, 2001).

McKinney, Ruth. Industrial Valley [1939] (Ithaca NY: ILR, 1992).

Steinbeck, John. In Dubious Battle [193?] (NY: Penguin, 1992).

Stone, Irving. Adversary in the House [1947] (NY: New American Library, 1967).

In the Library: For Young Readers

In the Library: Poetry

In the Library: Drama

In the Library: Photography

CD & Audio

Film & Video

"Adalen 31" [1969], dir. Bo Widerberg, 110m. Long strike in a Swedish papermill town early in the Depression.

"The Ballad of Joe Hill" [1971], dir. Bo Widerberg, 117m. Story of anarcho-syndicalist (IWW) Swedish immigrant organizer & poet, framed for murder & executed by Utah firing-squad in 1915.

"Germinal" [1993], dir. Claude Berri & Arlette Langmann, 158m. In video stores. 19th-c. French coal miners' strike, based on novel by Emile Zola.

"How Green Was My Valley" [1941], dir. John Ford, 118m. In video stores.

"Matewan" [1987], dir. John Sayles, 132m. In video stores.

"The Molly McGuires" [1970], dir. Martin Ritt, 123m. In video stores.

"The Organizer (I compagni)" [1963], dir. Mario Monicello, 130m. Poignant story of violent class war & an idealist organizer in late 19th-c. Turin.

"Strike" [1924], dir. Sergei Eisenstein, ?m. Classic silent film on 1912 strike by Russian factory workers, brutally repressed by Tsarist authorities.

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