Public Workers

Public Workers : Government Employee Unions, the Law, and the State, 1900-1962

4.25 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the dawn of the twentieth century to the early 1960s, public-sector unions generally had no legal right to strike, bargain, or arbitrate, and government workers could be fired simply for joining a union. Public Workers is the first book to analyze why public-sector labor law evolved as it did, separate from and much more restrictive than private-sector labor law, and what effect this law had on public-sector unions, organized labor as a whole, and by extension all of American politics. Joseph E. Slater shows how public-sector unions survived, represented their members, and set the stage for the most remarkable growth of worker organization in American history.

Slater examines the battles of public-sector unions in the workplace, courts, and political arena, from the infamous Boston police strike of 1919, to teachers in Seattle fighting a yellow-dog rule, to the BSEIU in the 1930s representing public-sector janitors, to the fate of the powerful Transit Workers Union after New York City purchased the subways, to the long struggle by AFSCME that produced the nation's first public-sector labor law in Wisconsin in 1959. Slater introduces readers to a determined and often-ignored segment of the union movement and expands our knowledge of working men and women, the institutions they formed, and the organizational obstacles they faced.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25mm | 28g
  • ILR Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0801440122
  • 9780801440120
  • 2,856,005

Review quote

"Slater produces a rich examination of five critical episodes in the history of mid-twentieth century public labor relations, and, in doing so, demonstrates the complex intersection of law, work, social movements, and the political process.... Slater successfully bridges the fields of legal and labor history to present a lucid and compelling thesis about the importance of law for union effectiveness, while also paying careful attention to the vital importance of the social movement organizing process itself." -- Jeffrey T. Coster * Maryland Historian * "Slater analyzes the legal and historical origins of government employee unions and compares them with the private sector experience.... Slater concludes with a comparison of the public and private models. He suggests that employer opposition to workers' organizing activities in the private sector explains much of the divergence in membership levels. Overall, the book is a well-researched contribution to the study of U.S. labor history." * Choice 42:3 *
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About Joseph E. Slater

Joseph E. Slater is Associate Professor of Law, University of Toledo.
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Rating details

4 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 50% (2)
4 25% (1)
3 25% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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