Roger Horowitz is Associate Director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library He is author of Negro and White, Unite and Fight!: A Social History of Industrial Unionism
in Meatpacking, 1930-90, was co-principal interviewer for the United Packinghouse Workers of America Oral History Project at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and, with Rick Halpern, of Meatpackers: An Oral History of Black Packinghouse Workers and Their Struggle for Racial and Economic Equality.
(Thus the presumed embrace of industrial unionism
by big corporations was never as prominent a feature as some historians have argued.) As time went by, despite both sectors learning from one another, the distance between the rigid, bureaucratic system of labor relations of unionized companies and the more flexible system of nonunion firms diverged even more.
The NAACP and the Communist Party in Conflict (Ithaca, 1964); Mark Naison, Communists in Harlem during the Depression (Urbana, 1983); Michael Honey, Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers (Urbana, 1993); and Roger Horowitz, "Zegro and White, Unite and Fight!": A Social History of Industrial Unionism
in Meatpacking, 1930-90 (Urbana, 1997).
That said, Palmer's satisfyingly comparative study can be recommended to this journal's subscribers as an important contribution to our understanding of industrial unionism
"There is the potential for the balance of forces to shift once again, this time in favor of the working class." Like the rise of industrial unionism
, however, which Moody upholds as a paradigm of social-movement unionism, that potential requires the support of a favorable political environment to be realized.
It took the mass upsurge of the mid-30s, a split in the official labor movement prompted by advocates of industrial unionism
, and a favorable process developed by the newly formed National Labor Relations Board, before labor shifted its strategy from craft to industrial unionism
The dramatic and analytical structure of The CIO depends on Zieger's apt observation that the movement for industrial unionism
was an heroic and expansive one, marked by a daring militance and social boldness; yet at the same time was just as much a story of institutional fragility, compromise and political equivocation.
I sketched his important role in the labor movement of the 1920s and 1930s when, before the rise of the CIO, militant industrial unionism
had been labeled "Musteism," his brief career as a Trotskyist, his reconversion to Christian pacifism, and his subsequent work for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, where he helped found the Congress of Racial Equality.
The context in which black workers, men and women, would fight for their rights within many organized workplaces and most industrial unions was historically altered during the formative period of the new industrial unionism
from 1933 through 1941.
In the 1930s what united the left (in its broadest sense, from revolutionary socialists of all stripes to Nation readers in the Roosevelt Administration) was a vision of industrial unionism
as a movement.
Salsberg played a leading role in the rise of industrial unionism
, organizing a wide variety of groups, including clothing workers, steelworkers, autoworkers, and merchant seamen.
Its main significance, some argue, was its advocacy of industrial unionism
prefiguring the more successful CIO.