The Union Makes Us Strong: Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront (Hardback)
  • The Union Makes Us Strong: Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront (Hardback)

The Union Makes Us Strong: Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront (Hardback)

Hardback 386 Pages / Published: 03/08/1995
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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.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521450058
Number of pages: 386
Weight: 653 g
Dimensions: 236 x 161 x 30 mm

"A sociologist blends history, interviews, and analysis into the best description and appraisal yet written about the strengths, traditions and problems of the ILWU on the waterfront since the 1930s." Dispatcher
"Wellman's provocative thesis and highly imaginative analysis...offer new models for the assessment of the history and present practice of all CIO unions." Michigan Historical Review
"...the best book written about what it has meant to be a longshore worker in the International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union over the past fifty years." Labor Studies Journal
"Wellman's evidence and conclusions have broad significance." Industrial and Labor Relations Review
"His insights into worker behavior and workplace culture should cause us to rethink many of our assumptions about both union practices and labor-management relations." Contemporary Sociology
" engaging ethnographic portrait....readers will appreciate this rare and vivid glimpse into the culture, language, and routines of longshoremen." Choice
"To put it simply, this is the best book yet written about what it has meant to be a longshore worker in the ILWU over the past fifty years." Eugene Dennis Vrana, The Dispatcher
"...Wellman concludes that waterfront trade unionism is alive and well. Moreover, he offers insights into the character of the American worker and the dynamics of the workplace and suggests that this country's service sector is poised for a surge of union organizing." Jennifer McNulty, Currents
"...The Union Makes Us Strong provides an important model--and benchmark--for all future labor studies....Anyone concerned about the American labor movement will find much of interest in this often fascinating, and surprisingly lively, read." Geoffrey Dunn, San Jose Metro
"Wellman writes in a clear and concise style and his descriptions of the union hall meetings and workplace culture are a joy to read. The author is sensitive to the language and physical communication among the longshoremen, and whenever possible he allows the workers to speak for themselves. He also offers some rare and detailed insights into the present-day conflicts of the maritime industry and everyday class struggle in the workplace." John F. Lyons, Science & Society

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