Fighting for Total Person Unionism

Fighting for Total Person Unionism : Harold Gibbons, Ernest Calloway, and Working-Class Citizenship

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During the 1950s and 1960s, labor leaders Harold Gibbons and Ernest Calloway championed a new kind of labor movement that regarded workers as "total persons" interested in both workplace affairs and the exercise of effective citizenship in their communities. Working through Teamsters Local 688 and viewing the city of St. Louis as their laboratory, this remarkable interracial duo forged a dynamic political alliance that placed their "citizen members" on the front lines of epic battles for urban revitalization, improved public services, and the advancement of racial and economic justice. Parallel to their political partnership, Gibbons functioned as a top Teamsters Union leader and Calloway as an influential figure in St. Louis's civil rights movement. Their pioneering efforts not only altered St. Louis's social and political landscape but also raised fundamental questions about the fate of the post-industrial city, the meaning of citizenship, and the role of unions in shaping American more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 17.78mm | 453.59g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252081048
  • 9780252081040

About Robert Bussel

Robert Bussel is an associate professor and director of the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon. He is the author of From Harvard to the Ranks of Labor: Powers Hapgood and the American Working Class .show more

Review quote

"Bussel is offering us a unique perspective on the nation's largest union in an era when it was at its peak of influence. He also asserts that the careers of these two men offer important lessons to organized labor today, of tactics and approaches that would help the movement regain its lost relevance."--David Witwer, author of Shadow of the Racketeer: Scandal in Organized Labor "Bussel paints a vivid portrait of two very complex--and often contradictory--union leaders. Fighting For Total Unionism: Harold Gibbons, Ernest Calloway, and Working Class Citizenship holds many important lessons for unionists today, and deserves to be read widely."--People's World "Advocates of a powerful vision of what unions could and should do, Ernest Calloway and Harold Gibbons of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters pioneered a "total person unionism" that engaged rank-and-file energies in the workplace and broader community. In this important and highly readable joint biography, Robert Bussel breaks new ground that helps us rethink the politics of postwar labor at the local level.--Eric Arnesen, editor of The Black Worker: Race, Labor, and Civil Rights since Emancipation "The collaborative work of Calloway and Gibbons provides insight into labor at its post war best, and the path we must reclaim today. Total Person Unionism is a wonderful effort to reclaim that ground not only for historians but for all of us committed to economic justice and democracy today."--Larry Cohen, former president, Communications Workers of America "As Robert Bussel's important recent book Fighting for Total Person Unionism: Harold Gibbons, Ernest Calloway, and Working-Class Citizenship (2015) reminds us, this tradition carried into postwar St. Louis where the Teamsters developed an innovative community steward program."--Dissent "Fighting for Total Person Unionism is a thoroughly researched, elegantly constructed, and marvelously engaging study of two long-time labor activists. But it's more than that, really. Through the braided story of Harold Gibbons and Ernest Calloway, Bob Bussel recreates the social vision that animated much of the post-World War II labor movement--and reminds us how much we've lost in our age of rampant individualism."--Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age "Robert Bussel makes a signal contribution to this emerging historiography in his dual biography of Harold Gibbons and Ernest Calloway, St. Louis labor leaders, one white and one black, who struggled against employer power, organized crime, and the city's culture of white supremacy."-Missouri Historical Reviewshow more

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