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.
Table of Contents
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