9781583670583

Labor Pains : Stories from Inside America's New Union Movement

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781583670583

  • ISBN10:

    1583670580

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-10-01
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Pr

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Summary

Labor Pains is an insider's account of the struggle to rebuild a vibrant and powerful trade union movement in the United States. It takes as its starting point the daily experience of a union organizer, and brings that experience to life. It enables us to grasp how the conflicting demands of race, class, and gender are lived in the new union movement.The role of the unions is defined mainly by larger economic and political agendas. While keeping these agendas clearly in sight, Erem focuses primarily on aspects of the life of the union which often remain hidden. The personal crises of union members become entangled in the work of the union. The energies of the union are focused not only on winning gains from bosses but also on maintaining internal cohesion and morale among workers. Barriers of race, age and gender are constantly negotiated and overcome, and conflicts flare up across them at moments of tension. And union life goes on not only when the workers have made their point, or won a victory, but after defeat as well. The personalities and ambitions of union organizers converge at times and become a source of tension at others. Each individual within the larger collective has their own task of finding a viable balance between public and private selves.These intersecting lines of force are imaginatively recreated in this book. Erem writes as a woman in a union movement which is dominated by men; as the child of immigrants in a movement whose members are increasingly immigrants themselves; as one who finds herself in the racial no man's land between black and white. While never underestimating the obstacles in the way of the union movement, she makes a powerful and passionate case for organizing the disorganized and empowering the powerless.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction 1(6)
Prologue 7(4)
Centrifugal Force 11(2)
Make Way For a New Day
13(5)
Spinning into the Job
18(1)
No Reds in the Rainbow
19(5)
Lois Anne's Labor Movement
24(8)
The Stage Is Set
32(2)
Union Staffer: A Job Description
34(5)
Even the Dead
39(4)
The Evolution of a President
43(3)
Child's Play in the Toy Store
46(6)
The Day I Got Freedom
52(5)
Organizing: When It Works
57(13)
A Toast to the Winners
70(7)
Going in Unarmed
77(7)
A White ``N'' and Other Slander
84(14)
Barbie in Work Boots
98(6)
Hanging Them Out to Dry
104(1)
Enter a Health Care Giant
105(6)
Futility 111(50)
Another Night Alone
113(2)
Still Can't Win for Losing
115(7)
The Revival of the Boycott
122(4)
The Mysterious Death of Josef
126(7)
When Bullets Fly
133(8)
The President Creates His Generals
141(2)
The Violence Inside
143(4)
Bad Boys
147(5)
The Smell of Scotch
152(3)
Playing the Race Card
155(3)
Finding My Lines
158(3)
Hope 161(52)
Striking a Hospital
163(9)
The Union Begins to Crumble
172(4)
As United as We Get
176(3)
A Home for the Holidays
179(4)
Frogs in a Beaker
183(3)
The Reverend Returns
186(7)
Our Doors
193(9)
From the Beginning
202(4)
Going East?
206(1)
The Struggle Continues
207(6)
Epilogue 213

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