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The Union Makes Us Strong

Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront

The Union Makes Us Strong by David Wellman
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American labour history is typically interpreted by scholars as a history of defeat. Hidden by this conventional wisdom are a handful of militant unions that did not follow the putative Congress of Industrial Organizations trajectory. Based on three years of ethnographic research, this book examines a union that organised itself to systematically challenge management's rule on the shopfloor: San Francisco's longshore union. American unionism looks quite different than conventional wisdom suggests when everyday union practices are observed. American labour's trajectory, this book argues, is neither inevitable nor determined; militant, democratic forms of unionism are possible in the United States; and collective bargaining does not automatically eliminate contests for workplace control. The contract is a bargain that reflects and reproduces fundamental disagreement; it states how production and conflict will proceed.
Cambridge University Press; August 1995
386 pages; ISBN 9780511883804
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Title: The Union Makes Us Strong
Author: David Wellman