30 Lab. Stud. J. i (2005-2006)

handle is hein.journals/labstuj30 and id is 1 raw text is: 







                         Introduction:

     Bringing the Study of Work Back to Labor

                              Studies

                              Tom Juravich
                          Kate Bronfenbrenner



Looking back at   our history we cannot ignore how struggles around the
    changing nature of work itself were formative in the building of the U.S.
labor movement.  In the early textile mills in Lowell and Lawrence, Massa-
chusetts, New England farm women, and later immigrants from western and
central Europe, faced unending work days, dangerous conditions, and abusive
supervisors. The rallying cry of the women who struck in Lawrence in 1912
was Give us bread and roses too. Of course they wanted higher wages, but
theirs was no less a fight for dignity and respect-about humanizing their work
lives so they might have the time and energy left for family and community.
     As Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford pushed the early factory system in
the United States to new levels of inhumanity in the 1930s, workers organized
in places like Flint, Gary, and Detroit. The CIO and the wave of organizing in
auto, steel, and rubber brought important wage increases and the beginning
of new employer-based benefits plans. Yet the CIO also brought important
checks to management  rights on the shop floor in an effort to restore some
semblance of humanity for industrial workers and to make sure that work-
ers had something left at the end of the day to share with their families and
friends.
     We  could explore more contemporary struggles of immigrant workers in
meatpacking, hotels, building services, nursing homes, the legions of Wal-Mart
workers, or those in more high-tech occupations. And we would discover the
same processes at work-that the labor movement is borne from workplace
struggles. Up and down the occupational ladder, what workers want is some
kind of control on the job, some dignity in their work, some measure of fairness
in their workplace, and some chance at a life outside of work.

LABOR STUDIES JOURNAL, VOL 30, No. 1 (SP RING 2005): t-vn. PUBuSHED FORTHE UNITED ASSOcAIION FOR
LABOR EDUCATION BY THE WEsrVIfNIA UNIVERSIIY PRESs, P.O. Box 6295, WEsT VIlGNIA UNIVERSIY,
MoscAN-owN, WV 26506.  2005, WEST VIRINIA UNIVERSITY PRfESS.


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