When Wisconsin became the first state in the nation in 1959 to let public employees bargain with their employers, the legislation catalyzed changes to labor laws across the country. In March 2011, when newly elected governor Scott Walker repealed most of that labor law and subsequent ones—and then became the first governor in the nation to survive a recall election fifteen months later—it sent a different message. Both times, Wisconsin took the lead, first empowering public unions and then weakening them. This book recounts the battle between the Republican governor and the unions.
The struggle drew the attention of the country and the notice of the world, launching Walker as a national star for the Republican Party and simultaneously energizing and damaging the American labor movement. Madison was the site of one unprecedented spectacle after another: 1:00 a.m. parliamentary maneuvers, a camel slipping on icy Madison streets as union firefighters rushed to assist, massive nonviolent street protests, and a weeks-long occupation that blocked the marble halls of the Capitol and made its rotunda ring.
Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, award-winning journalists for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, covered the fight firsthand. They center their account on the frantic efforts of state officials meeting openly and in the Capitol's elegant backrooms as protesters demonstrated outside. Conducting new in-depth interviews with elected officials, labor leaders, police officers, protestors, and other key figures, and drawing on new documents and their own years of experience as statehouse reporters, Stein and Marley have written a gripping account of the wildest sixteen months in Wisconsin politics since the era of Joe McCarthy. They offer new insights on the origins of Walker's wide-ranging budget-repair bill, which included the provision to end public-sector collective bargaining; the Senate Democrats' decision to leave the state to try to block the bill; Democrats' talks with both union leaders and Republicans while in Illinois; and the reasons why compromise has become, as one Republican dissenter put it, a "dirty word" in politics today.
“Stein and Marley, veteran reporters with enviable access, have penned the definitive journalistic account of the Wisconsin uprising, especially as it played out in the state Legislature. They make it a story about individuals, not titanic forces.”—Wisconsin Watch
“Stein and Marley deliver an impressively objective account of the struggle, ably describing the objectives and tactics of each side in a confident and engaging style.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Stein and Marley deliver a swashbuckling tale of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker's election and tumultuous first year in office. . . . Instead of an expected dry read, the authors' lively, economical prose, supplemented by snippets of social media reporting in real time, place readers in the crowded Capitol building stairwells, or in the midst of Wisconsin's largest sustained demonstration since Vietnam protests rocked the University of Wisconsin campus.”—Publishers Weekly
“This book is a political thriller, an activists’ handbook (for the Left on how to organize mass protests, and for the Right on how to effectively fight public employee unions), and a work of investigative journalism all rolled into one. Social scientists, political junkies, and anyone interested in public affairs will devour it.”—Library Journal
“Not only have Stein and Marley organized this mass of material into a coherent whole, but they also write well, ensuring that even the drier parts of their narrative are clear as well as fair. Their book provides plenty of ammunition for both sides. But it also offers something far better: the basis for an adult conversation about what actually happened.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“This timely account covers the ethics investigations, public demonstrations, runaway legislators, recalls, and physical confrontation between two state Supreme Court justices. . . . This book is written in a concise, unbiased manner and includes complete details. In a greater sense, it explores the drastic polarization endemic in American society today.”—Choice
“A testament to the information-gathering powers of good beat reporters. In Bob Woodward style, they reconstruct the backroom meetings that ushered Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 legislation through the protester-crammed halls of the Wisconsin State Capitol.”—Milwaukee Magazine
“Stein and Marley have managed to produce a very readable, well-researched, and thoroughly interesting narrative without any notable bias—a major accomplishment.”—Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine
For much of the twentieth century, unions played a vital role in shaping political regimes and economic development strategies, particularly in Latin America and Europe. However, their influence has waned as political parties with close ties to unions have adopted neoliberal reforms harmful to the interests of workers.
What do unions do when confronted with this “loyalty dilemma”? Katrina Burgess compares events in three countries to determine the reasons for widely divergent responses on the part of labor leaders to remarkably similar challenges. She argues that the key to understanding why some labor leaders protest and some acquiesce lies essentially in two domains: the relative power of the party and the workers to punish them, and the party's capacity to act autonomously from its own government.
Educated, white collar professional women carried the most visible banners of feminism. But working class women were a powerful force in the campaign for gender equality. Dennis A. Deslippe explores how unionized wage-earning women led the struggle to place women's employment rights on the national agenda, decisively influencing both the contemporary labor movement and second-wave feminism.
Deslippe's account unravels a complex history of how labor leaders accommodated and resisted working women's demands for change. Through case studies of unions representing packinghouse and electrical workers, Deslippe explains why gender equality emerged as an issue in the 1960s and how the activities of wage-earning women in and outside of their unions shaped the content of the debate. He also traces the fault lines separating working-class women--who sought gender equality within the parameters of unionist principles such as seniority--from middle-class women--who sought an equal rights amendment that would guarantee an abstract equality for all women.
Thoughtful and detailed, "Rights, Not Roses" offers a new look at the complexities of working-class feminism.
Almost fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, a wealth of research shows that minority students continue to receive an unequal education. At the heart of this inequality is a complex and often conflicted relationship between teachers and civil rights activists, examined fully for the first time in Jonna Perrillo’s Uncivil Rights, which traces the tensions between the two groups in New York City from the Great Depression to the present.
While movements for teachers’ rights and civil rights were not always in conflict, Perrillo uncovers the ways they have become so, brought about both by teachers who have come to see civil rights efforts as detracting from or competing with their own goals and by civil rights activists whose aims have de-professionalized the role of the educator. Focusing in particular on unionized teachers, Perrillo finds a new vantage point from which to examine the relationship between school and community, showing how in this struggle, educators, activists, and especially our students have lost out.
Wisconsin accounts for about two percent of the nation's total population, but its contribution to the history of working people and social reform extends far beyond these numbers. In the early years of the twentieth century, Wisconsin became a veritable laboratory for social and political reform, producing such landmark legislation as workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and other laws that became models for several states and helped shape federal labor policies. The study of the history of labor also began in Wisconsin when University of Wisconsin economics professor John R. Commons started to document the history of work and labor in America.
Workers and Unions in Wisconsin includes nearly one hundred selections covering the period from 1850 to 1990, illustrated by scores of historic photos, most of which have never before been reprinted. Editor Darryl Holter has included accounts of episodes that took place in more than twenty-five cities and towns in Wisconsin, including labor activities at such nationally known companies as Oscar Mayer, Kohler, Case, Allis-Chalmers, and Ray-O-Vac and workers as diverse as dairy farmers and university teaching assistants, lumberjacks and hosiery makers, municipal employees and paper mill workers. The result is a book that will fascinate and inform anyone interested in American labor history and economics, as well as in the personal stories that are part of any great societal change.
Professional writers may earn a tidy living for their work, but they seldom own their writing. Catherine Fisk traces the history of labor relations that defined authorship in film, TV, and advertising in the mid-twentieth century, showing why strikingly different norms of attribution emerged in these overlapping industries.