IATSE #887 always wants to encourage our members to learn about the history of labor and unions - both generally, and in our industry.
We've put together a list of recommended books and hope that our members will take advantage of it. Please support your local radical, independent and, where available, unionized bookstores - such as Elliot Bay Book Company, whose union was recognized in 2020 - or your local library. All links are through Bookshop.org, an online shop that raises money for local bookstores.
The History of Labor
- Fight Like Hell: The Untold Story of American Labor by Kim Kelly.
- A revelatory and inclusive history of the American labor movement, from independent journalist and Teen Vogue labor columnist Kim Kelly.
- "Kelly unearths the stories of the people-farm laborers, domestic workers, factory employees--behind some of the labor movement's biggest successes." --The New York Times
- Knocking on Labor's Door: Union Organizers in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide by Lane Windham
- Recounting how employees attempted to unionize against overwhelming odds, Knocking on Labor's Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor's future. Windham's story inspires both hope and indignation, and will become a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women's history.
- Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America by Miriam Frank
- Out in the Union tells the continuous story of queer American workers from the mid-1960s through 2013. Miriam Frank shrewdly chronicles the evolution of labor politics with queer activism and identity formation, showing how unions began affirming the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers in the 1970s and 1980s. She documents coming out on the job and in the union as well as issues of discrimination and harassment, and the creation of alliances between unions and LGBT communities.
- A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis
- From the Lowell Mill Girls strike in the 1830s to Justice for Janitors in 1990, what Loomis's book perhaps does best is remind us that the promise of the labor movement, despite its many failures and compromises, has always been to make everyday life more democratic (The New Republic).
- Silk Stockings and Socialism: Philadelphia's Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz Age to the New Deal by Sharon McConnell-Sidorick
- The 1920s Jazz Age is remembered for flappers and speakeasies, not for the success of a declining labor movement. A more complex story was unfolding among the young women and men in the hosiery mills of Kensington, the working-class heart of Philadelphia. Their product was silk stockings, the iconic fashion item of the flapper culture then sweeping America and the world. Although the young people who flooded into this booming industry were avid participants in Jazz Age culture, they also embraced a surprising, rights-based labor movement, headed by the socialist-led American Federation of Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers (AFFFHW).