Harry Van Arsdale (1905-1986) was a towering figure in the New York labor scene. After being initiated into the Local 3 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1925 and becoming its business manager in 1933, Van Arsdale turned the then corrupt and disorganized union into a force to be reckoned with. He became president of the New York City Central Labor Council in 1957, which put him in a position to become a greater influence for labor relations locally and nationally. As business manager and president of these organizations, Van Arsdale advocated and won shorter work days, in order to give more men a chance to work - especially important in the 1930s. He instituted paid vacation, paid holidays, annuity plans, and educational opportunities for union workers - novelties at that time - as well as scholarships for workers' children. His sincere commitment to improving the lives of American workers and their families made him a truly beloved figure. This fascinating memoir traces Van Arsdale's sixty-plus years as a union member and powerful labor figure, and provides colorful details of his many remarkable accomplishments.
Foreword by Theodore Kheel 1. From Revolutionary War to Hell's Kitchen 2. Making His Mark: Early Struggles in Local Union 3 3. A Fight to the Top 4. Dealing with the New Deal 5. Growing Pains 6. Battles on Many Fronts 7. America at War 8. The Working Man and Woman: Learning and Compassion 9. "Mister Labor" 10. United Federation of Teachers and the Brotherhood Party 11. Troubleshooting Here and Abroad 12. Van Arsdale at the Wheel 13. A Wider Garden to Tend 14. The Kid Goes Down Fighting