From an award-winning historian, a stirring (and timely) narrative history of American labor from the dawn of the industrial age to the present day.
From the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, the first real factories in America, to the triumph of unions in the twentieth century and their waning influence today, the contest between labor and capital for their share of American bounty has shaped our national experience. Philip Dray’s ambition is to show us the vital accomplishments of organized labor in that time and illuminate its central role in our social, political, economic, and cultural evolution. There Is Power in a Union is an epic, character-driven narrative that locates this struggle for security and dignity in all its various settings: on picket lines and in union halls, jails, assembly lines, corporate boardrooms, the courts, the halls of Congress, and the White House. The author demonstrates, viscerally and dramatically, the urgency of the fight for fairness and economic democracy—a struggle that remains especially urgent today, when ordinary Americans are so anxious and beset by economic woes.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: There is Power in a Union|
|Release Date: 09-07-2010|
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There is Power in a Union
It seems fitting that one of the first renowned activistsin the titanic struggle between labor and capital on this continent, Sarah G.Bagley, was an unassuming young woman off the farm, initially no different fromany of the thousands who emerged from rural New England in the 1820s and 1830sto become "operatives" in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts,the nation's earliest industrial city. This original population of Americanfactory workers was, for a generation, the pride of the youthful United States,and Lowell a model of enlightened industrialism that visitors were drawn fromacross the country and around the world to behold with their own eyes.
Bagley, like most of her peers, shared in the public's fascination; only after many years did she grow concerned about the system'sinjustices. In an era when few if any women spoke publicly she found her voice,first as a writer, then as a labor organizer, eventually leading the LowellFemale Labor Reform Association, which she helped create, in its historic fightfor decent work conditions and a ten-hour day. At turns eloquent and caustic,her challenge to the status quo brought her into open conflict with Lowell'spowerful mill and banking interests, the legislature of the state ofMassachusetts, and even many of her cohorts and friends.
Born in Candia, New Hampshire, in 1806, where herparents, two brothers, and a sister farmed and operated a sawmill, Bagleyworked as a schoolteacher before moving to Lowell in 1837. Beyond those fewfacts not much is known of her early life, although there are what may beintriguing glimpses into her background in two stories she wrote for the LowellOffering, the independen...