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The Union Makes Us Strong: Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront 0th Edition

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0521450058
ISBN-10: 0521450055
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Editorial Reviews


"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

Book Description

This book challenges the notion that American labor history is a history of defeated militant unionism. Focusing on the routine work practices and political culture of San Francisco's longshore union, it argues that collective bargaining does not eliminate contests over shopfloor control. The collectively bargained contract is shown to be a bargain that reflects and reproduces fundamental disagreement between management and labor. It creates the parameters within which production and conflict proceed.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521450055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521450058
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,787,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The book presents a school of analysis of the labor movement as relevant to the day-to-day shop floor issues. It draws a comparison with other efforts to analyze organized labor and why the writer felt they were inadequate to the task and inaccurate in their presumptions. It is a helpful approach to the review of blue-collar unions that have been absent in much of what passes for labor history. It provides the daily issues engaged by workers on the docks that impacted on their safety and well-being during their work tasks. It demonstrates how the organization of the union was able to position itself so it could address issues of concern effectively and in an expedient manner. The only real question is why is it "radical unionism" to be engaged at the shop floor level? The book provides real insight as to the community of Local 10, its history and its victories that empowered it to be an effective advocate of its membership. As to its relevance for the future the writer concludes: "Thus, ironic though it may seem, rather than being outmoded, the ILWU's adversarialist style may well have much to recommend it in the post-industrial world."
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The Union Makes Us Strong: Radical Unionism on the San Francisco Waterfront
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