Women, Work, and Protest: A Century of U.S. Women's Labor History, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Women, Work, and Protest

A Century of U.S. Women's Labor History, 1st Edition

Edited by Ruth Milkman


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As paid work becomes increasingly central in women’s lives, the history of their labor struggles assumes more and more importance. This volume represents the best of the new feminist scholarship in twentieth-century U.S. women’s labor history. Fourteen original essays illuminate the complex relationship between gender, consciousness and working-class activism, and deepen historical understanding of the contradictory legacy of trade unionism for women workers. The contributors take up a wide range of specific subjects, and write from diverse theoretical perspectives. Some of the essays are case studies of women’s participation in individual unions, organizing efforts, or strikes; others examine broader themes in women’s labor history, focusing on a specific time period; and still others explore the situation of particular categories of women workers over a longer time span.

This collection extends the scope of current research and interpretation in women’s labor history, both conceptually and in terms of periodization – emphasis is placed on the post-World War I period where the literature is sparse. This book will be valuable for scholars, students and general readers alike.

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Bread Before Roses: American Workingmen, Labor Unions and the Family Wage Martha May 2. Labor Organizing and Female Institution-building: The Chicago Women’s Trade Union League, 1904-24 Collette A. Hyman 3. Bread and Roses Revisited: Women’s Culture and Working-class Activism in the Lawrence Strike of 1912 Ardis Cameron 4. The Women of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Strike, 1913-14 Priscilla Long 5. Another Look at the International Ladie’s Garment Worker’s Union: Women, Industry Structure and Collective Action Roger Waldinger 6. Problems of Coalition-building: Women and Trade Unions in the 1920s Alice Kessler-Harris 7. Survival Strategies Among African-American Women Workers: A Continuing Process Rosalyn Terborg-Penn 8. ‘I Know which Side I’m on’: Southern Women in the Labor Movement in the Twentieth Century Mary Frederickson 9. ‘Where I was a Person’: The Ladies’ Auxiliary in the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters’ Strike Marjorie Penn Lasky 10. ‘We’re no Kitty Foyles’: Organizing Office Workers for the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1937-50 Sharon Hartman Strom 11. Organizing the United Automobile Workers: Women Workers at the Ternstedt General Motors Parts Plant Ruth Meyerowitz 12. Women and the United Automobile Worker’s Union in the 1950s Nancy Gabin 13. Unionized Women in State and Local Government Deborah E. Bell 14. Women Workers, Feminism and the Labor Movement since the 1960s Ruth Milkman

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Women's History

Reissuing seminal works originally published between 1928 and 1992, Routledge Library Editions: Women's History offers a selection of scholarship covering women's roles, gender battles, feminism and other issues through the ages. Topics include women in the World Wars, prostitution in Victorian times, the history of abortion, women's roles in the Stuart era and women's place in the household and in work.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HISTORY / Social History