History of U.S. labor unions/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about History of U.S. labor unions.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.

This is an annotated bibliography of the most useful scholarly books and articles.

Surveys

  • Arnesen, Eric, ed. Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History (2006), 2064pp; 650 articles by experts excerpt and text search
  • Beard, Mary Ritter. A Short History of the American Labor Movement 1920 - 176 pages online edition
  • Beik, Millie, ed. Labor Relations: Major Issues in American History (2005) over 100 annotated primary documents excerpt and text search
  • Boris, Eileen, Nelson Lichtenstein, and Thomas Paterson. Major Problems In The History Of American Workers: Documents and Essays )2002)
  • Brody, David. In Labor's Cause: Main Themes on the History of the American Worker (1993) excerpt and text search
  • Browne, Waldo Ralph. What's what in the Labor Movement: A Dictionary of Labor Affairs and Labor (1921) 577pp; encyclopedia of labor terms, organizations and history. complete text online
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn, and Foster Rhea Dulles. Labor in America: A History (2004), textbook
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn, and Warren Van Tine, eds. Labor Leaders in America (1987) biographies of key leaders, written by scholars excerpt and text search
  • LeBlanc, Paul. A Short History of the U.S. Working Class: From Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century (1999), 160pp excerpt and text search
  • Lichtenstein, Nelson. State of the Union: A Century of American Labor (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Perlman, Selig. A History of Trade Unionism in the United States 1922 - 313 pages online edition
  • Taylor, Paul F. The ABC-CLIO Companion to the American Labor Movement (1993) 237pp; short encyclopedia
  • Zieger, Robert H., and Gilbert J. Gall, American Workers, American Unions: The Twentieth Century(3rd ed. 2002) excerpt and text search
  • Zieger, Robert H. For Jobs and Freedom: Race and Labor in America Since 1865 (2007) excerpt and text search

To 1900

  • Commons, John R. History of Labour in the United States - vol 1 and Vol. 2 1860-1896 (1918) vol 2 online edition
  • Commons, John R. "American Shoemakers, 1648-1895: A Sketch of Industrial Evolution," Quarterly Journal of Economics 24 (November, 1909), 39-83. in JSTOR
  • Commons, John R. ed. Trade Unionism and Labor Problems (1905) articles by experts on unions and working condition online edition
  • Grob, Gerald N. Workers and Utopia: A Study of Ideological Conflict in the American Labor Movement, 1865-1900 (1961) online edition
  • Hall, John P. "The Knights of St. Crispin in Massachusetts, 1869-1878," Journal of Economic History 18 (June, 1958), p 161-175 in JSTOR
  • Laslett, John H. M. Labor and the Left: A Study of Socialist and Radical Influences in the American Labor Movement, 1881-1924 (1970) online edition
  • Livesay, Harold C. Samuel Gompers and Organized Labor in America (1993)
  • Mandel, Bernard. Samuel Gompers: A Biography (1963) online edition
  • Orth, Samuel P. The Armies of Labor: A Chronicle of the Organized Wage-Earners (1919) short overview online edition]
  • Van Tine, Warren R. The Making of the Labor Bureaucrat: Union Leadership in the United States, 1870-1920 (1973) online edition
  • Voss, Kim. The Making of American Exceptionalism: The Knights of Labor and Class Formation in the Nineteenth Century (1993) online edition
  • Weir, Robert E. Beyond Labor's Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor (1996) online edition
  • Bibliography of online resources on railway labor in late 19th century

1900-1932

  • Bernstein, Irving. The Lean Years: A History of the American Worker, 1920-33 (1966), the best overview of the era
  • Brody, David. Labor in Crisis: The Steel Strike of 1919 (1965) online edition
  • Commons, John R. Trade Unionism and Labor Problems (1921) textbook; 838pp complete text online
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn and Warren Van Tine. John L. Lewis: A Biography (1986)
  • Brody, David. Labor in Crisis: The Steel Strike of 1919 (1965)
  • Faue, Elizabeth. Community of Suffering & Struggle: Women, Men, and the Labor Movement in Minneapolis, 1915-1945 (1991)
  • Fraser, Steve. Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor (1993)
  • Gordon, Colin. New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics, 1920-1935 (1994)
  • Greene, Julie. Pure and Simple Politics: The American Federation of Labor and Political Activism, 1881-1917 (1998) complete online edition; excerpt and text search
  • Hooker, Clarence. Life in the Shadows of the Crystal Palace, 1910-1927: Ford Workers in the Model T Era (1997)
  • Laslett, John H. M. Labor and the Left: A Study of Socialist and Radical Influences in the American Labor Movement, 1881-1924 (1970)
  • Karson, Marc. American Labor Unions and Politics, 1900-1918 (1958) online edition
  • Laidler, Harry Wellington. Boycotts and the Labor Struggle Economic and Legal Aspects (1913), 488pp complete text online
  • McCartin, Joseph A. ’Labor's Great War: The Struggle for Industrial Democracy and the Origins of Modern American Labor Relations, 1912-1921 (1997) excerpt and text search
  • Mandel, Bernard. Samuel Gompers: A Biography (1963) online edition
  • Meyer, Stephen. The Five Dollar Day: Labor Management and Social Control in the Ford Motor Company, 1908-1921 (1981) online edition
  • Mink, Gwendolyn. Old Labor and New Immigrants in American Political Development: Union, Party, and State, 1875-1920 (1986)
  • Orth, Samuel P. The Armies of Labor: A Chronicle of the Organized Wage-Earners (1919) short overview
  • Quint, Howard H. The Forging of American Socialism: Origins of the Modern Movement (1964) online edition
  • Warne, Colston E. ed. The Steel Strike of 1919 (1963), primary and secondary documents online edition
  • Warne, Frank Julian. The Workers at War (1920) 250pp copmplete text online
  • Zieger, Robert. Republicans and Labor, 1919-1929. (1969)

1932 - 1955

  • Bernstein, Irving. Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker, 1933-1941 (1970), the best overview of the era
  • Campbell, D'Ann. "Sisterhood versus the Brotherhoods: Women in Unions" Women at War With America: Private Lives in a Patriotic Era (1984).
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn and Warren Van Time John L. Lewis (1986).
  • Faue, Elizabeth. Community of Suffering & Struggle: Women, Men, and the Labor Movement in Minneapolis, 1915-1945 (1991), social history
  • Fraser, Steve. Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor (1993). excerpt and text search
  • Galenson, Walter. The CIO Challenge to the AFL: A History of the American Labor Movement, 1935-1941 (1960) online editiononline edition
  • Gordon, Colin. New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics, 1920-1935 (1994) excerpt and text search
  • Jensen, Richard J. "The Causes and Cures of Unemployment in the Great Depression," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 19 (1989) p. 553-83 in JSTOR
  • Kennedy, David M. Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. (1999) recent scholarly synthesis. online edition
  • Kersten, Andrew. Labor's Home Front: The American Federation of Labor during World War II (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Lichtenstein, Nelson. Labor's War at Home: The CIO in World War II (2003)
  • Miller, Sally M., and Daniel A. Cornford eds. American Labor in the Era of World War II (1995), essays by historians, mostly on California online edition
  • Millis, Harry A. and Royal E. Montgomery. Organized Labor (1945) online edition
  • Millis, Harry A. How Collective Bargaining Works: A Survey of Experience in Leading American Industries (1942) online edition
  • Preis, Art. Labor's Giant Step (1964), leftwing views
  • Seidman; Joel. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen: The Internal Political Life of a National Union (1962) online editiononline edition
  • Vittoz, Stanley. New Deal Labor Policy and the American Industrial Economy (1987) online edition
  • Zieger, Robert H. The CIO, 1935-1955 (1995) online edition

Fair Employment FEPC

  • Collins, William J. "Race, Roosevelt, and Wartime Production: Fair Employment in World War II Labor Markets," American Economic Review 91:1 (March 2001), pp. 272-286 in JSTOR
  • Kersten, Andrew Edmund. Race, Jobs, and the War: The FEPC in the Midwest, 1941-46 (2000) online review
  • Reed, Merl E. Seedtime for the Modern Civil Rights Movement: The President's Committee on Fair Employment Practice, 1941-1946 (1991)

Taft-Hartley and the NLRA

  • Abraham, Steven E. "The Impact of the Taft-Hartley Act on the Balance of Power in Industrial Relations" American Business Law Journal Vol. 33, 1996
  • Ballam, Deborah A. "The Impact of the National Labor Relations Act on the U.S. Labor Movement" American Business Law Journal, Vol. 32, 1995
  • Brooks, George W., Milton Derber, David A. McCabe, Philip Taft. Interpreting the Labor Movement (1952)
  • Gilbert J. Gall, The Politics of Right to Work: The Labor Federations as Special Interests, 1943-1979 (1988)
  • Hartley, Fred A., Jr. and Robert A. Taft. Our New National Labor Policy: The Taft-Hartley Act and the Next Steps (1948)
  • Lee, R. Alton. Truman and Taft-Hartley: A Question of Mandate (1966) online edition
  • Millis, Harry A., and Emily Clark Brown. From the Wagner Act to Taft-Hartley: A Study of National Labor Policy and Labor Relations (1950)

Walter Reuther and CIO

  • Boyle, Kevin. The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968 (1995) onlineedition
  • Kornhauser, Arthur et al. When Labor Votes: A Study of Auto Workers (1956) online edition
  • Lichtenstein, Nelson. The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor (1995) online edition
  • Lichtenstein, Nelson and Stephen Meyer, eds. On the Line: Essays in the History of Auto Work (1989)

1955 - 2008

  • Chaison, Gary N. Unions in America (2005), basic survey excerpt and text search
  • Cohen, Sheila. Ramparts of Resistance: Why Workers Lost Their Power, and How to Get It Back (2006) excerpt and text search
  • Dark; Taylor E. The Unions and the Democrats: An Enduring Alliance Cornell University Press. 1999 online edition
  • Dine, Philip M. State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Fantasia, Rick, and Kim Voss. Hard Work: Remaking the American Labor Movement (2004) excerpt and text search
  • Freeman, Richard B., Peter Boxall, and Peter Haynes, eds. What Workers Say: Employee Voice in the Anglo-American Workplace (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Galenson, Walter; The American Labor Movement, 1955-1995 (1996) online edition
  • Goldberg, Arthur J. AFL-CIO, Labor United (1956) online edition
  • Lawler, Edward E.. and James O'Toole, eds. America at Work: Choices and Challenges (2006). perspectives from management and human resources excerpt and text search
  • Leiter, Robert D. The Teamsters Union: A Study of Its Economic Impact (1957) online edition
  • Milkman, Ruth, and Kim Voss, eds. Rebuilding Labor: Organizing and Organizers in the New Union Movement (2004) excerpt and text search
  • Mishel, Lawrence. The State of Working America, 2006 / 2007 (10th ed. 2006); covers family income, wages, taxes, employment, poverty and the distribution of wealth excerpt and text search
  • Moody, Kim. U.S. Labor in Trouble and Transition: The Failure of Reform from Above, The Promise of Revival from Below (2007)
  • Mort, Jo-Ann. ed. Not Your Father's Union Movement: Inside the AFL-CIO" (2002) excerpt and text search

Primary sources

  • American Federation of Labor. American Federation of Labor: History, Encyclopedia, Reference Book (1919) 474pp online edition
  • Commons, John R. ed. A Documentary History of American Industrial Society vol 8: Labor Movement, 1840-1860. (1910); complete text online
  • Commons, John R. ed. A Documentary History of American Industrial Society vol 9: Labor Movement, 1860-1880. (1910); complete text online
  • Dubofsky, Melvyn, and Joseph A. McCartin, eds. American Labor: A Documentary History (2004) excerpt and text search
  • Gompers, Samuel. Seventy Years of Life and Labor: An Autobiography (1925) online edition
  • The Samuel Gompers Papers (1986- ) definitive multivolume edition of all important letters to and from Gompers. 9 volumes have been completed to 1917. The index is online. For details and more on Gompers see [1]
  • Millie Beik, ed. Labor Relations: Major Issues in American History (2005) over 100 annotated primary documents (1961)
  • Reuther, Walter. Walter P. Reuther: Selected Papers edited by Henry M. Christman, (1962) online edition
  • online books 1910-1922

notes