In Trade Unions and Community Dorothee Schneider argues that German unions played a vital role in building community for German immigrants in North America. More than other organizations such as churches or regional groups, Schneider maintains, trade unions were in the best position to build community in a new, rapidly changing industrial society. Why were the unions so well suited to the development of the German-American working class and its integration into North American society and politics? What was the effect of the trade unions' central role on the community as a whole? Did these unions carry their community-building role into the American trade union movement in general? To answer these questions, Schneider focuses on German-American skilled workers, portraying a group of immigrants who brought from Europe not just their pre-industrial traditions but also a wealth of experience in industrialized settings and a diverse political culture. Examining bakers, brewery workers, and cigar makers, she highlights the origins of the political culture of the American immigrant working class in a new way. Schneider argues that, in spite of the contradictory interests of traditionalists, political progressives, and assimilationists, German-American workers favored a centralized craft unionism and thus became backers of Samuel Gompers's American Federation of Labor.
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(241mm x 165mm x 32mm)
University of Illinois Press
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
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