Monthly Archives: April 2009

2009.04.01: The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History

Encyclopedia of strikes


The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History
Edited by: Aaron Brenner; Benjamin Day; Immanuel Ness

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-1330-1 Paper ISBN: Not Available
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USD: $175.00 N/A
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Available to all countries

This title ships at the academic reference rate.

Information: 792pp. Tables, figures, photos, topic finder, timeline, list of abbreviations, bibliography, name index, general subject index.
Publication Date: April 2009.  


Description: Strikes have been part of American labor relations from colonial days to the present, reflecting the widespread class conflict that has run throughout the nation’s history. Against employers and their goons, against the police, the National Guard, local, state, and national officials, against racist vigilantes, against their union leaders, and against each other, American workers have walked off the job for higher wages, better benefits, bargaining rights, legislation, job control, and just plain dignity. At times, their actions have motivated groundbreaking legislation, defining new rights for all citizens; at other times they have led to loss of workers’ lives.

This comprehensive encyclopedia is the first detailed collection of historical research on strikes in America. To provide the analytical tools for understanding strikes, the volume includes two types of essays–those focused on an industry or economic sector, and those focused on a theme.

Each industry essay introduces a group of workers and their employers and places them in their economic, political, and community contexts. The essay then describes the industry’s various strikes, including the main issues involved and outcomes achieved, and assesses the impact of the strikes on the industry over time. Thematic essays address questions that can only be answered by looking at a variety of strikes across industries, groups of workers, and time, such as, why the number of strikes has declined since the 1970s, or why there was a strike wave in 1946.

The contributors include historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers, as well as current and past activists from unions and other social movement organizations. Photos, a Topic Finder, a bibliography, and name and subject indexes add to the works appeal.

Selected Contents:

Editors and Contributors
List of Abbreviations
Topic Finder
Introduction to The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History, Aaron Brenner
Types of Strikes, Aaron Brenner

Part I. Strikes: Theory and Practice
Introduction, Aaron Brenner
Strikes in American History, Aaron Brenner
Theories of Strikes, Gerald Friedman
Socialist Theories of the Strike, Christopher Phelps
The News Media and Strikes, Christopher R. Martin
The Business Community’s Mercenaries: Strikebreakers and Union Busters,Robert Smith
Corporate Strike Strategy, Kim Phillips-Fein
The Decline of Strikes, Jeremy Brecher
Strike Lessons from the Last Twenty-Five Years: What It Takes to Walk Out and Win, Steve Early

Part II. Strikes and Working Class Culture
Introduction, Benjamin Day
Dressed for Defiance: The Clothing of Female Strikers, 1910-1935, Deirdre Clemente
Better Than a Hundred Speeches: The Strike Song, Tim Lynch
Civil Rights Strikes, Todd Michney
World War II Hate Strikes, James Wolfinger
Polish Workers and Strikes, 1900-1937, Jim Pula
North Carolina Women on Strike, Roxanne Newton
The Catholic Church and Strikes, Dan LaBotz
Strikes Led by the Trade Union Unity League, 1929-1934, Victor G. Devinatz

Part III. Strike Waves
Introduction, Aaron Brenner
The Strike Wave of 1877, John P. Lloyd
World War I Era Strikes, Cecelia Bucki
The Rise and Fall of the Sit-Down Strike, Rachel Meyer
The 1945-46 Strike Wave, Jack Metzgar
Strikes in the U.S. Since World War II, Nicola Pizzolato

Part IV. Strikes in the Public Sector
Introduction, Immanuel Ness
Labor and the Boston Police Strike of 1919, Joseph Slater
Teachers’ Strikes, John Lloyd
Postal Workers’ Strikes, Aaron Brenner
Strikes in the New York City Transit System, Michael Hirsch
Social Workers and Strikes, Howard Karger

Part V. Strikes in the Private Sector
Introduction, Immanuel Ness

Section 1. Manufacturing, Mining, and Agricultural Strikes
Introduction, Immanuel Ness
Strikes and Apprenticeship, Daniel Jacoby
Strikes in the 19th-Century Cotton Textile Industry in the Northeast United States,Mary Blewett
Twentieth Century Textile Strikes, David Goldberg
Garment Worker Strikes, Paul LeBlanc
Steel Strikes Before 1935, John Hinshaw
Steel on Strike: From 1936 to the Present, Robert Bruno
Unionizing the Jungle: A Century of Meatpacking Strikes, Jackie Gabriel
Automobile Workers’ Strikes, Ian Greer
Rubber Workers’ Strikes, John Woods
Plumbing Strikes, Kim Phillips-Fein
Agricultural Strikes, Dan La Botz
Labor and the Transformation of the Hawaiian Sugar Industry, Edward D. Beechert
The Redwoods Lumber and Sawmill Workers’ Strike, Cal Winslow
The Watsonville Cannery Strike, 1985-1987, Myrna Cherkoss Donahoe
Coal Miners On Strike and the Formation of a National Union, Jon Amsden and Stephen Brier
Mesabi Iron Miners’ Strikes, Gerald Ronning
The Rise and Fall of Rank-and-File Miner Militancy, 1964-2007, Paul Nyden

Section 2. Infrastructure Industry Strikes
Introduction, Benjamin Day
Labor Upheaval on the Nation’s Railroads, 1877-1922, Theresa Case
Strikes by Telegraph Workers, Anthony J. Silva
Telegraph Messenger Strikes and Their Impact on Telegraph Unionization, Greg Downey
Trolley Wars, Scott Molloy
Seafarers’ Strikes in American History, Nathan Lillie
Longshoremen’s Strikes, 1900-1920, Cal Winslow
Strikes on the Port of New York 1945-1960, William Mello
Strikes in the U.S. Airline Industry, 1919-2004, David J. Walsh
Aerospace Engineer Strikes, Stan Sorscher

Section 3. Service Industry Strikes
Introduction, Benjamin Day
Newsboy Strikes, Jon Bekken
Retail Workers’ Strikes, Daniel Opler
Waitress Strikes, Dorothy Sue Cobble
Office Workers’ Strikes, Vernon Mogenson
Strikes in the Motion Picture Industry, Andrew Dawson
Attorney Strikes at The Legal Aid Society of New York City, Michael Letwin   
Musician Strikes, Damone Richardson
Striking the Ivory Tower: Student Employee Strikes at Private Universities, Mandi Isaacs Jackson
The Boston University Strike of 1979, Gary Zabel
Strikes by Professional Athletes, Michael Schiavone
Nurses on Strike, Lisa Hayes
Organizing Home Health Care Workers in New York City, Immanuel Ness

Additional Bibliography
Name Index
Subject Index

Review(s): “The essays are several pages long, contain substantial bibliographies, and are often illustrated with period photographs. An additional bibliography, arranged to correspond with the parts of the encyclopedia, and a name and a subject index conclude the work. Unlike many A-Z encyclopedias, this source is not meant for dipping in for the brief overview or quick fact. Rather, it is a tool designed for a more thoughtful and comprehensive understanding of a complex issue. The essays are meant to be read in their entirety. Libraries with a strong interest in labor history will certainly want to own this volume.” — Booklist

“This book provides useful information about the history of selected strikes in U.S. history and insight into how labor unions have changed over time. Most suitable for academic libraries.” — Library Journal

“Useful for undergraduate students seeking a foundation on which to construct a research paper about the general history of industrial conflict in the United States, the dynamics of such conflicts in a specific sector of the economy, or the evolution of trade unionism in different economic settings or among different sorts of workers.” — EH.Net

“For my money, it is a first class reference book. …It is soundly bound and printed for years of wear. It is easy to read and handy to use. Messrs Brenner, Day and Ness and company have produced a very good book.” — Reference Reviews

“This groundbreaking tool provides one of the most comprehensive surveys available of American labor strikes. Each entry includes a substantial list of sources for further research. Selected illustrations and separate name and subject indexes support the text. This excellent guide is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries.” — John R.M. Lawrence, Gale Reference Reviews